Sona Masoori rice falls under the category of non-basmati rice. The commodity is grown largely produced in the Tungabhadra belt of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The debate of basmati v Sona Masoori rice has raged for many years. Each one has its own share of supporters and detractors.
Basmati and sona masoori rice is the most famous among approximately 600 varieties of rice. Sona masoori rice is a hybrid having a combination of sona and masoori rice stains. It is also commonly known as half-boiled rice. The area of production is primarily southern India while Basmati is predominantly grown in the northern part of India.
Sona massori is medium-grained rice while Basmati is long-grain rice. Basmati is considered less nutritious compared to sona masoori. Nutrition is affected by the polishing and non-polishing of rice. Most varieties of basmati rice is polished except for some like brown basmati rice. Essential nutrients are lost while polishing the basmati rice. Besides, sona massori has comparatively less starch and carbohydrates content making it ideal for shedding weight. Despite its many advantages, sona masoori has some flip sides. Being a hybrid crop (genetically modified) it is known to have some adverse health effects. Basmati being more natural is considered better for general health. On parameters of taste, flavor and aroma, the choice depends on individual preferences. The top variety of sona masoori rice is exported to countries like the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Middle-East (Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc.).
Water is essential to ideal production of sona masoori rice. In the current year, a shortage of rain has hit the production. Deficit rain has affected the water level of the Tungabhadra River. As a result, there has been a dip in the water level of the KC Canal and Srisailam reservoir. All the above-mentioned issues have hit the cultivation and production of famous Kurnool sona masoori rice. As per the sources, only 1.65 lakh metric tons has been cultivated this year compared to 2.54 lakh metric tons. Identifying the opportunities, sona masoori rice exporters have ramped up the capabilities in the last few years.
Some of the top FMCG majors like ITC have entered the field of sona masoori rice production and export. The company started with the sona masoori variety in the non-basmati rice category. Initially, ITC started with a 25kg bag priced at a reasonable Rs. 1400 per bag. Competition has intensified with the entry of multinational giants like ITC. They have the capabilities to leverage the wide channels and distribution network. Traders and rice mils which had been selling the rice got worried with the entry of ITC given its tremendous capacity and market reach. Besides ITC, there are also players like Patanjali and Adani that have launched sona masoori variants in the selected market. Some of the other major brands include KRBL, LT Foods, Kohinoor, etc. Initially, the govt. was hesitant to provide support to the exports of sona masoori rice in the non-basmati rice segment. However, things changed with a sustained request from farmers and the south-industry body.
Fluctuation in rainfall is the main reason for the sudden change in the price of the sona masoori rice. Deficient rainfall in a specific year leads to a rapid surge in the price. In the year 2017, the price of sona masoori paddy rice has risen to Rs. 2200 per quintal from a normal price of Rs. 1500 per quintal. Wholesale price was consequently in the range of ₹ 3000 a quintal to ₹ 4000 a quintal. The issue of crop loss also adds to the woes of the rising price of sona masoori rice. Canals of Tungabhadra reservoir are the lifeline of sona masoori rice crops. The crops are grown in the belt twice a year. Small farmers are the worst affected. They are dependent on water from the bore well. Depletion of groundwater severely affects the output bringing misery to their life. Seeking green pastures, most of the farmers leave for urban areas to seek a stable livelihood leaving behind old and sick.
In the non-basmati rice category, there is a great scope for export to the international market. Compared to Basmati, non-basmati rice is not marketed and promoted as well. Recognizing the demand for non-basmati rice, exporters have started showing keen interest in its import/export. Multiple trading platforms have popped up in the market for connecting the buyer and sellers. However, the challenge of direct procurement remains a challenge. If you are looking to buy sona masoori rice online from mills, there is a great chance that you will encounter a plethora of middlemen and intermediaries. In fact, very few platforms are offering a seamless and delightful experience of trading.
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