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Rice Fortification: Technology


Rice can be fortified using dusting, coating or extrusion technology. Extrusion is the technology of choice for rice fortification given the stability of micronutrients in the rice kernels across processing, storage, washing and cooking, also in view of cost considerations.

In extrusion technology, milled broken rice is pulverized and mixed with a premix containing vitamins and minerals. Fortified rice kernels (FRK) are produced from this mixture using an extruder machine. The kernels resemble rice grains. FRK is added to non-fortified rice in ratio ranging from 1:50 to 1: 200 ( ideal is 1:100) resulting in fortified rice nearly identical to traditional rice in aroma, taste, and texture. It is then distributed for regular consumption.

The cost of fortification is determined by a multitude of context specific variables such as the structure and capacity of the rice industry, the complexity of the supply chain, the policy and regulatory environment and the scale of the relevant programme. A typical low cost -150 kgs per hour- twin screw extruder with all ancillary equipment costs 35 ? 40 lakhs INR upwards. A good quality extrusion line may cost up to 13.5 crore INR. Utility costs like purified water plant, steam generator, air compressor and packaging lines are not included here. The retail price increase for fortified rice ranges from an additional 1% to 10%. As rice fortification expands, production and distribution achieve economies of scale, costs are expected to reduce. Fortifying rice is cost-effective; the additional cost to the consumer inclusive of all associated costs is .45 per kg depending on the nutrients added.

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