Govt working to optimise rice bran oil production

New Delhi: With an aim to increase rice bran oil production to 18 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) to ease import of edible oils, the Centre has requested the states to assess the potential and enhance capacity of the rice mills for its maximum extraction.

The current production stands at approximately 11 LMT, and the government contends the potential is approximately 18 LMT.

Therefore, the states have been requested to assess the potential of rice bran oil production in the rice clusters located in their respective states and also enhance the capacity of rice mills so as to ensure that maximum rice bran oil is extracted.

Major rice producing states/UTs have been requested to advise the authorities concerned to promote setting up of rice bran oil plants in rice milling clusters. “States such as Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab have already shown interest and agreed to set up rice bran oil solvent extraction plants,” said Food Secretary, Sudhanshu Pandey.

Rice bran is used in confectionery products such as bread, snacks, cookies and biscuits. The defatted bran is also used as cattle feed, organic fertiliser (compost), medicinal purpose, and in wax making.

Although compared to traditional oils, rice bran oil’s direct consumption is very less, however, it is regularly used in soap and fatty acids manufacturing. It is also used in cosmetics, synthetic fibres, plasticisers, detergents, and emulsifiers. This is where the government is seeking to replace palm oil with rice bran oil to avoid importing the former at a huge cost to the exchequer.

As per government data from 2018, rice bran oil production was 9.20 lakh tonnes in 2014-15, 9.90 lakh tonnes in 2015-16, and 10.31 lakh tonnes in 2016-17.

Earlier in the year, the sale of fortified rice bran oil on commercial basis was launched by NAFED on June 15 through its multiple outlets in Delhi/NCR. An MoU was signed between NAFED and Food Corporation of India for the production and marketing of fortified rice kernel.

“This will provide easy access to NAFED branded high quality rice bran oil, which will also give a boost to the indigenous oil manufacturing industry,” an official said, adding, this initiative by NAFED “will significantly reduce the country’s consumption dependence on imported edible oil in future”.

Recently, the government directed the FCI to organise state level interactive workshops with the rice millers and field offices to assess their technological requirements.

The government also said that it has carried out consultations with the states having major paddy/rice clusters for details such as number of rice mills and their milling capacity, total rice bran production, rice bran sent for cattle feed, rice bran sent for solvent extraction plant and number of mills required up gradation.

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