Only fortified rice from April onwards, Kerala to embrace union govt's plan

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GR Anil | Photo: Facebook

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Food Minister GR Anil on Friday said that only fortified rice will be distributed via ration shops from April 1 onwards. Jaya rice, which was specially produced in Andhra to counter price hike, shall be brought to the state by April 15, said the minister at a media conference.

“We hope to distribute the Jaya rice, brought from Andhra, by mid-April,” said the minister.

As per the central government’s announcement, rations shops are supposed to distribute only fortified parboiled rice from April onwards. Similarly, the rice produced within the state needs to be fortified. The minister noted that for two years fortified rice has been distributed as a part of the midday meal scheme in schools.

Fortification is the process of adding fortified rice kernels containing micronutrients (Iron, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12) to normal rice. Fortified rice is nearly identical to traditional rice in aroma, taste and texture. This process is done in the rice mills at the time of milling of rice. The union government rolled out the scheme to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets with low turnaround time and as a step towards nutritional security that helps in fighting anaemia and malnutrition in the country.

However, some experts see red in the one-size-fits-all approach. According to them, fortification in turn will be injurious to health. Some even allege that the move is to help the corporates in the fortification segment.

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