Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder on Tuesday urged the farmers to increase the cultivation of zinc-enriched paddy for eliminating malnutrition in the country.

It is possible to meet the zinc deficiency of people in the country through cultivating biofortified zinc rice, the minister said at the “Biofortified Zinc Rice Award Ceremony 2022” arranged by the Food Ministry in the capital’s Agargaon.

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Most of the people in the country are not aware at all about the biofortified zinc rice or its quality, he said.

“We are consuming zinc in chemical form but do not know that we can get this naturally through rice,” he added.

So he urged the media to come forward to attract consumers to biofortified zinc rice.

He also said that the mill owners of the country produce polished rice as per the demand of the consumers and supply those to market. “Because consumers are not keen to eat zinc rice as it is a bit coarse. Customers or consumers prefer polished rice.”

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And so farmers are also not interested in cultivating biofortified zinc rice, said the minister.

“Normal rice also contains nutrients, but the nutrients are being reduced after being polished,” he added.

He said about 16 lakh tonnes of rice are wasted annually during the polishing process. “There would have been no need to import rice if those had not been polished.”

At the event, 11 farmers, three rice millers and 10 food department officials were awarded in recognition to their special contribution in the production, processing and marketing of biofortified zinc rice.

Meanwhile, regarding food crisis and possible famine, the minister urged all not to panic and said, “We are aware that there are sufficient paddy and rice in stock.”

Strict action will be taken against those who will  stockpile rice, Sadhan Chandra warned.

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