Govt to enact law to stop polishing rice: Food Minister
The government will enact a law to stop polishing of rice as it loses its inherited nutritional value in the process, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said today.
"First and foremost, we must be aware that we won't be consuming polished rice anymore. And we are going to enact a law in this regard," Sadhan Chandra said while inaugurating the commercial launch of fortified rice in the country at an event in a city hotel.
He said that there are five types of polishing usually done in the rice mills across the country, for which the rice price increases but it loses nutritional value.
"It (polishing) doesn't cause nutrient loss only but also causes loss of four to five metric tonnes in per 100 metric tonnes of rice," the minister said.
The minister said about four to four and a half crore metric tonnes of paddy are pruned across the country. And as a result of rice polishing, there is a shortage of about 16 to 18/20 lakh metric tonnes of rice.
He also said that the process of polishing rice requires additional expenditure for additional power and labour.
"The price of rice automatically increases Tk 3-4 per kilogramme, but those do not contain nutrient [properly]," the food minister said.
He also explained that rice fortification will not be any uniform solution to fight against malnutrition.
Starting from 2017-18, the government has been distributing rice fortified with Vitamin A, B1, B12, Folic Acid, Iron, and Zinc in 250 upazilas across the country under its social safety net programmes so far.
From today, the private companies will also supply such fortified rice initially to 10 markets in the capital, which will be expanded across the country later.
Experts from different organisations and officials from the food ministry also attended the event among others.