APEDA has offered to hold regular buyer-seller meetings in order to facilitate proper market linkage for the promotion of GI-tagged rice from Kerala.
According to Simi Unnikrishnan, Assistant General Manager, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export (APEDA), New Delhi, the uniqueness and taste of GI rice from Kerala, as well as its demand from the Indians in importing countries, offer good opportunities for marketing and exporting GI rice.
She stated at a farmers-scientists interface on GI-tagged rice organized by Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) that Kerala’s share of rice production in the country is only 0.51 percent, which can be improved by expanding the cultivating area and adopting the advanced technologies recommended by KAU.
India is the leading rice exporter, with China, the Philippines, and Nigeria being the top rice importers. However, excessive pesticide use, a lack of quality seeds, late rains, and irregular supply of required quantities of rice, which did not meet global standards, were the constraints in rice exports.
The main challenges encountered when exporting rice to European countries are traceability and pesticide residues. According to her, a lack of proper storage facilities at the village level causes quality deterioration, which frequently leads to product rejection.
She added that APEDA would assist farmers in exporting their produce for a premium price if the quality required by importing countries was met and a continuous supply of the produce was ensured.
Registration of GI
Speakers proposed collaboration between farmer societies and marketing agencies, support for authorized user registration, the development of business models with funding agency support for GI registration, and the promotion of GI rice through social networks and online marketing to increase its economic viability.
There was also demand the establishment of a platform for enrolling more farmers in Palakkadan Matta Farmers’ Producer Company Ltd to cultivate GI rice, as well as marketing assistance from KAU and APEDA.