Saturday, June 10, 2006

FAQ's on Patna rice.

What is Patna rice?

Patna rice is a variety of long grain rice originally grown in Patna (Bihar State), India where it has been used as a staple food for thousands of years. Patna rice is known for its elongated kernel with grain length greater than 6mm and mild earthy aroma.

This mildly flavored rice comes from the Gangetic plains of Bihar state in India. It has a robust, long and narrow, opaque grain that keeps its shape well after being cooked. Patna rice is one of the premium qualities of rice available in UK and USA and is the highly valued for its unique taste and mild aroma.

How does one classify rice?

Rice can be classified based on various factors like length, color, region, quality, texture etc. A brief description is given below;

Length: One of the most common methods of classifying rice is by length. The United States is the only country that uses three sizes - short, medium, and long-grain - for classifying the length of rice grains.

Color: Rice can also be classified by color: brown or white. Brown rice consists of the entire kernel minus the hull, while white rice is the result of processing to completely remove the bran layers. White rice is often enriched with nutrients (especially in Western nations), such as iron, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin, to help restore some of the lost nutritional value.

Region: Rice may be grouped or classified according to the area or country in which the rice is cultivated or used. Although many countries export rice to other areas of the world, the majority of rice is used in the area where it is grown. This is especially true in Asia where rice is such an important part of the diet. In the United States, over half of the rice crop is exported.

Quality: The quality of Rice is classified by the quality of the grains, usually according to the quantity of broken grains that are included per standard measure.

Top Quality Rice: The quantity of broken grains is no more than 5 percent of the total. Standard Rice: A maximum of 15 percent broken grains.
Household Rice: There are two groups under the household category - a maximum of 25 percent broken grains and a maximum of 40 percent broken grains.
Broken Rice: a minimum of 40 percent of the rice contains broken grains.

Texture: The texture of rice after cooking may range from very sticky and soft to very firm and fluffy. Sticky rice is often referred to as glutinous rice. In spite of the name, glutinous rice contains no gluten, but some varieties have gluten-like properties.

What is the difference between Patna rice, Basmati rice and Carolina rice?

Basmati Rice is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. When cooked,
the grain rice doubles, partially splits lengthwise, and is curved. Basmati rice is the least glutinous of all rice; once cooked, the grains remain separate.

Patna rice is a close relative to basmati, but is mildly aromatic. It is grown in the gangetic plains of Bihar. It is believed that Patna rice was the first type of rice cultivated
in the USA . The seeds of Patna rice were taken to America, cultivated in Carolina and exported to Britain before the American civil war, and acquired the name Carolina rice. Thus the term Carolina rice is also sometimes used to denote this variety of rice.

What are some of the premium long grained rice preferred in the USA?

Basmati Rice: Long-grain rice that is approximately four times longer than it is wide. Basmati is one of the most popular long-grain rice varieties due to its fragrance, flavor, and texture. Much of the basmati rice is cultivated in India and Pakistan. The rice is fluffy and dry and the grains do not stick together after it is cooked.

Patna rice aka Carolina rice: A brand name for long-grain rice that is approximately four times longer than it is wide. It is one of the most popular varieties in the USA and was first cultivated in Carolinas during the 17th Century. It is now cultivated mostly in Arkansas, Texas, and California. Patna rice is fluffy and dry when cooked and the grains do not stick together. Steaming and baking are excellent preparation methods for Patna rice, which can be used in pilafs, salads, and a variety of cooked dishes. Patna rice is also known as Carolina rice and it is available in many large food stores.

Himalayan red rice: A long-grain variety of rice with red bran that is cultivated in Nepal. Himalayan red rice has a rich, nutty flavor and a deep red color when cooked. Himalayan red rice has a firm texture that makes it a good choice for salads and various pilaf recipes.

Indian red rice: A long-grain un milled variety of rice with red bran that is cultivated in India. Red rice has a nutty flavor and is reddish-tan in color.

Kasmati rice: Long-grain variety of aromatic rice developed in the USA. that is considered to be similar to Basmati in taste and texture. It is generally used for Indian and Middle-Eastern food dishes.

Texmati rice: A variety of Della rice, which is a cross between basmati and other long-grain rice varieties grown primarily in the southern United States. When cooked it
expands widthwise, but maintains the same length. It is not as aromatic as basmati rice, but is more flavorful and aromatic than other long-grain rice from the U.S. It is fluffy dry rice that does not stick together after it is cooked.

What is the USP of Patna Rice?

Apart from the inherent characteristics, Patna rice is grown in the Patna region, which has produced premium quality rice for eons. The special characteristic of soil in the Ganges plain, along with the weather conditions and the traditional method of cultivation result in the uniqueness of Patna rice.

We plan to market rice from farms using organic (traditional) method of cultivation. In addition, the product is hand picked and almost all the steps taken from the planting to packaging is done manually. Patna rice is old, internationally renowned, aromatic, long grain rice which evolved to its present form in the climatic richness of gangetic plains of Patna in the state of Bihar, India.

How is it going to help the farmers in Bihar? Which section of farmers would benefit from it? What are the criteria for choosing the target group of farmers?

The revenue that is generated will be primarily spent on development of farming infrastructure, establishing local nodal export cells, bringing more product from Bihar on the export list and research and development. It will help us in promoting Brand Bihar as a land of agro-based opportunities. We will be able to offer a basket of agro based products which will include world famous Rice, Maldah mango, Shahi litchee, Malbhog banana, etc. This will also help us in reviving the agro-based industries in Bihar which will have multiplier effect on the overall economy of the state.

It will also generate positive publicity and sustained media attention, investor’s attention and International attention. All these will lead to an improved investment in the agricultural sector of Bihar which could be economically, socially, and politically rewarding for one and all.

The regions best suited for its farming would be the rice belt of Bihar i.e. districts of Patna, Ara, Buxar, Rohtas, Bhabhua, Mohania and Jehanabad.

Is quantity the criteria for export or is it quality?

Quality is the main criteria. We want to create a niche market for genuine premium Patna rice, grown organically in the region of its origin. We want to tap the niche market that currently exists for this product.

What do you envision happening two years from now?

We have a good case for global recognition for Patna rice. We will be very close to getting it two years from now. In the meantime we will be streamlining the procurement, packaging, quality control and export components of the program. Apart from the things related to Patna Rice, our efforts will also help in generating positive publicity for Bihar on both national and international front. This will helping projecting Bihar as an agricultural hub and will generate interest among investors.

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