There is money in husk

P. Ram Mohan
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Once sold at throwaway price or given away free byrice-millers, it is a precious commodity now

Once a valueless commodity, husk has become invaluable now in the district fetching more than Rs.2,500 per tonne accounting for Rs.2.50 per kg. Rice millers, till the recent past, were selling it away at a throwaway price or giving it free to brick kiln owners or others. In fact, the husk is fetching more than double the amount of rice being given through fair price shops by the government to the white card holders and below poverty line families. When the price of the rice supplied under the PDS is Re.1, its by-product in the open market fetches is Rs.2.50 a kg.

Per tonne price of the product touched even Rs.3,000 this year and is now oscillating between Rs.2,300 and Rs.2,500.

The reason for the sudden increase in the price of the husk is attributed to it being transported in bulk to a captive power generating unit established with a capacity of 5 mw in Dharmabad taluq of Nanded district in Maharashtra. The unit is said to have been set up by the industrialist and liquor baron Vijaya Malya for his breweries.

Increasing demand

That apart, there is also a high demand from brick manufacturers, small industries and hoteliers for the husk. Earlier, the millers used to give it to a small bio-mass based power plant in the Renjal mandal. Now, the old power plant faces competition from rival, the Dharmabad plant.

“We used to sell it away for a minimal price earlier. The amount coming from the husk sales was peanuts for big millers. But over a period of time, its price has increased and tempting the millers to get maximum benefit out of it,” says Shravan Kumar, a leading rice-miller in the district.

There are 350 raw rice mills and 50 par-boiled mills in the district. Husk coming from the par-boiled mills is used for themselves. A huge quantity of over 3 to 4 lakh tonnes of husk is produced by raw rice mills as they mill not less than 15 lakh tonnes of paddy every year.

Bran trader J. Kishore says increase in the demand for the by-product has led to its price increasing.

  • The by-product fetches more than double the price of rice supplied through FP shops

  • The bulk of husk is being used in captive power unit set up by Vijay Malya in Dharmabad taluq of Nanded district

  • There is also high demand for the commodity from brick manufacturers, small industries and hoteliers

  • There are 350 raw rice mills where over 3 to 4 lakh tonnes of husk is produced every year

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