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Business Economy

UP to export 20 tonnes of Kala Namak Rice to Singapore by March end

Lucknow, Feb 23 (UNI) In what appears to be a major boost to farm exports from Uttar Pradesh, the state is set to send a consignment of 20 tonnes of Buddha Rice, popularly known as Kala Namak Rice, one of the finest varieties of aromatic rice in India, to Singapore soon.

The consignment will be sent to Singapore from Siddharth Nagar by the end of March this year.

Additional Chief Secretary, MSME and Export Promotion, Navneet Sehgal said here on Tuesday that the rice is being packaged in attractive glass jars with all its qualities clearly mentioned on it. One can read the qualities by simply scanning the bar code.

According to agricultural scientist Dr Ramchet Chaudhury, the packaging of the rice has already started and it would be ready for export soon.

Also known as ‘Buddha ka Mahaprasad’ (an offering to Lord Buddha), the Kala Namak Rice has been rebranded as ‘Buddha Rice’, presenting it as an offering made to the Buddhist monks, in order to promote it in Buddhist countries.

The packaging of the rice carries a popular quote of Mahatma Buddha saying “The unique aroma of the rice will remind people about me.”

The export of the rice is being seen as a morale booster for farmers cultivating Buddha Rice in Gorakhpur, Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Siddharth Nagar, Sant Kabeer Nagar, Bahraich, Balrampur, Gonda, Shravasti, which according to the Geographical Indications (GI) share a similar climate.

In order to promote the production, processing, packaging and branding of Kala Namak Rice, the UP Government has declared it as the One District One Product (ODOP) of Siddharth Nagar whereas the Central Government has announced it as the ODOP of Basti, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj and Sant Kabeer Nagar as well.

The move to export the rice to Buddhist countries is being hailed by farmers, who feel that if a market for the rice is created in countries like Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar, it would benefit them immensely.

Dr Chaudhury said that historically Kala Namak Rice was grown at Bajaha Village in Siddharth Nagar district during the period of Mahatma Buddha. It is said that Mahatma Buddha broke his fast at Hiranyavati bank with a pudding made of the same rice and had distributed it as an offering among devotees. The rice also finds mention in Chinese traveller Fahyan’s account.
The rice is not only highly aromatic but also healthy and delicious. The Birdpur block of Siddharth Nagar is especially known for the cultivation of this rice.

Meanwhile, a Kala Namak Rice festival on the pattern of Strawberry Festival will be held in the state in near future. There is also a plan to set up a Kala Namak Rice Research Centre at Siddharth Nagar in cooperation with the International Rice Research Centre, Varanasi.
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