Agri Business

Experience ‘Native Basket’, ‘Mountain Grain’ for feel of Assam, Himachal

Our Bureau Mangaluru | Updated on July 31, 2021

National Gene Bank has evaluated 635 designated rice landraces from Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for major nutrients

Next time when you hear names such as ‘Native Basket’ and ‘Mountain Grain’ while purchasing rice, you might have the chance of hearing about the produces from Assam and Himachal Pradesh.

These are part of 92,000 accessions of indigenous or local or traditional varieties and land races of various crops conserved by the New Delhi-based National Gene Bnk (NGB) at ICAR - National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR- NBPGR).

Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Friday that ICAR-NBPGR has evaluated 635 designated rice landraces from Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for major nutrients.

Based on preference of farmer, local demand, and nutritional value, 24 landraces from Assam are identified for promotion under a trade name ‘Native Basket’. Of them, marketing of four land races — ‘Amona Bao’, ‘Kola Joha’, ‘Boga Bet Guti’ and ‘Ronga Bao’ — has already begun.

He said two land races from Himachal Pradesh have been identified for promotion under the trade name ‘Mountain Grain’.

Chhattisgarh’s Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishvavidalaya (IGKV) is promoting 15 rice landraces of rice under the brand name ‘Indira’.

The NGB is currently conserving more than 4.52 lakh accessions of various crops. Of them, 92,678 accessions are of indigenous or local or traditional varieties and landraces. This included 31,771 accessions of oilseeds, 19,742 of cereals, 16,675 of millets, and 11,330 accessions of grain legumes.

The Minister said in the reply that a total of 26 community seed banks conserving more than 4,000 native landraces and farmers’ varieties of many food crops have been strengthened and established.

Food items price hike

To a separate query on the rise in the price of food items in the country during April-July, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said prices of sunflower oil increased the maximum of 47.14 per cent in April, 53.64 per cent in May, 55.11 per cent in June, and 51.62 per cent up to July 27 against the corresponding months a year ago.

Meanwhile, tomato prices decreased by 16.99 per cent (April), 5.86 per cent (May), 13.04 per cent (June), and 45.45 per cent up to July 27 as against the corresponding months a year ago.

In the case of potato, the decrease was 31.56 per cent (April), 27.27 per cent (May), 25.74 per cent (June), and 32.66 per cent up to July 27 as against the corresponding months of 2020.

The Minister said the government has taken several measures with respect to essential food items such as pulses and edible oil to curb the increase in prices in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

In order to ensure effective intervention during price rise situations, the Government has procured pulses and onion in 2020-21 and 2021-22. The buffers are built by procuring stocks from the farmers or farmers’ associations and subsequently utilised for cooling down prices through supply to states and disposal through open market sales, he said.

Edible oil

To a query on the increase in the prices of edible oil, Niranjan Jyoti, Minister of State for Rural Development, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said the prices of edible oils are inter-alia affected by mismatch in demand and supply, increase in the international prices of edible oils, shortfall in domestic production owing to adverse weather conditions, seasonality, increased transportation costs, supply chain constraints, etc.

The retail domestic prices (as on July 23) of groundnut oil, mustard oil, vanaspati, soyabean oil, sunflower oil and RBD palmolein increased by 19.16 per cent, 39.05 per cent, 44.65 per cent, 47.40 per cent, 50.16 per cent, and 44.51 per cent, respectively, during the year, she said.

To another query on the illegal import of palm oil and soyabean oil, she said representations have been received from the industry associations highlighting the concerns over the alleged violation or misuse of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) provisions in import of palm and soyabean oil from Nepal.

The allegations made by associations have been analysed by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and necessary instructions have been issued to the field formations to exercise due diligence while assessing clearance of the said goods imported from the neighbouring countries, she said.

Milk prices

To a query on the high selling prices of milk in the country, Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, said the selling price of milk is decided by the private and cooperative dairies, and is not controlled by the Central government.

The selling price of milk comprises of milk procurement price paid to the farmers (including the cost of production) and cost of processing and marketing.

Referring to the report received from the major cooperatives, he said about 74 per cent of sale price of milk is transferred to the farmers as procurement price.

Published on July 30, 2021

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