Red rice from Kerala gets mobile application boost

Written by fe Bureau | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: Aug 5 2014, 07:23am hrs
Following the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, Palakkadan Matta rice from North Kerala has started going the mobile app-based retailing way.

A farm specialising in Palakkadan Matta has launched a mobile application that facilitates retailing of the rice and rice products to supply anywhere in India. It is probably for the first time that a boutique cultivated fibre-rich indigenous rice variety in India is getting support from a mobile app. "Not just rice grains, even the hay can be ordered online," says Prabhal Mohandas, an IIM -Kozhikode graduate and co-grower at Daksha Farm in Palakkad, which cultivates Palakkadan Matta rice.

"We grow it 100% organically," he adds. "Besides the unpolished wholesome grains, we also distribute Matta rice powder, whole grain Matta rice flakes, and rice frylets.

This bold red variety of rice had notched the GI tag of Palakkadan Matta about six years ago. Daksha farm had promptly developed a website. When it started receiving orders, the farm has now gone for a mobile application to make marketing and distribution smoother. "Buyers can download the farm app and order the quantity of the rice they require. The company has also tied up with India Post for distribution of its wares," Mohandas says.

The whole grain variety, with research gleaning evidence in lowering type-2

diabetes risk, is getting popular among health-conscious people.

Under the GI registry, there are 10 varieties of Palakkadan Matta Aryan, Aruvakkari, Chenkazhama, Chettadi, Chitteni, Eruppu, Kunjukunj, Poochamban, Thavalakannan and Vattanjyothy. These varieties can be grown only in the black soil of Palakkad.

At the same time, the fear of adulteration is a huge concern. Since the variety gives the farmer a premium of at least R350 per 500 kg of paddy, there have been plenty of cases of ordinary rice varieties getting treated with chemicals and red oxides to make them look like Palakkadan Matta rice.

A three-year ban on the export of Matta rice was partially lifted in February 2011. Consequently, about 25,000 tonne was exported in 2011.