Rice milling and processing may soon get a new dimension with the Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), a premier CSIR laboratory, in the process of establishing a state-of-the-art global rice processing facility on its premises here.
It will be Asia’s first institution where the best practices of rice milling with a focus on dealing with by-products, mainly bran, to prevent its waste, will be taught.
The institute aims to create skilled manpower in the area of rice processing with the new facility, which is similar to International School of Milling Technology (ISMT) that started functioning over three decades ago.
According to CFTRI, around 600 working professionals and entrepreneurs will be trained annually at the Global Rice Processing facility. Paddy growers will also be trained as part of Skilling India.
One of the key visions of the institute has been to create a sustainable agriculture sector through many innovative products and services by supporting the livelihood of marginal farmers and rural entrepreneurs in the country with the help of its expert faculty and over six decades of R and D efforts.
Ram Rajashekaran, director, CFTRI, told The Hindu that rice milling becomes unfinished if bran and other components are not utilised. Bran is rich in oil and fibre and our idea is to make bran industrially viable, imparting the know-how to the people in the milling industry, he explained.
Prof. Rajashekaran, who has been nominated as chairman of the South Asian Regional Standards Organisation (SARSO) which has its headquarters in Dhaka, Bangladesh, described the effort on rice processing as an ‘academic’ and ‘industrial’ venture. SARSO is a Specialised Body of SAARC.
After China, India is the second largest rice producer in the world with about 106 million tonnes of paddy produced annually. “Imagine the volume of bran rice milling generated in the country with such a large production of paddy. If 10% of bran was processed, it will have generated a lot of revenue,” he explained.
Flour milling industry
CFTRI hopes to develop the global rice processing centre along the lines of ISMT, which offers regular courses, and was established as a joint Indo-Swiss venture, and the Roller Flour Millers Federation of India project during 1981 to serve the needs of flour milling industry in India and other developing countries with regard to training in flour milling technology.
People from countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, have been trained at ISMT and many of them have served in various roller flour mills in India and also in their respective countries. “There has been a qualitative change in the working of these mills as per the feedback received from the milling industry,” CFTRI sources said.