By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 15: The first ever Tibetan-run rice mill on Tuesday launched its products at a promotional event here at the Central Tibetan Administration’s compound in earnest readiness to supply within the Tibetan exile communities.
The ‘Tibet Rice Mill’ established in Norgyaling Tibetan Settlement by the Tibetan Co-operative Society of Bandhara, Mahrashtra in September 2018 becomes the first rice mill of the exile diaspora.
Dr Kunchok Tsundue, Chief Planning Commissioner said that the initiative will not only efficiently tap and increase the productivity of the rice cultivating Tibetan settlement but also go on to foster self sufficiency within the community. The mill upholds strict quality and purity standards that is at par with products in the tier-2 Indian rice market and export grade products, the Commissioner said.
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
The initiative that took four years in the making now produces four rice variants such as the Tibet aromatic rice, the Tibet brown rice and the Tibet silky rice which are de-husked, processed, polished and packaged through the 11 steps production at the mill. The production capability of the mill now stands at 4000 kg per hour in stark contrast to the 700 kg per hour previously.
Logistically, the neatly packaged rice can be transported and supplied with its first batch of consignment already in Dharamshala, ready to be retailed at a price range of 40 -50 INR per kg, the Co-operative vice- president of the Norgyaling settlement Tenzin Phende said.
The co-operative mill is funded by the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Gadhen Podhrang office with a grant of 1.57 crore INR and a 5 lakh INR from the Dept. of Home of the CTA.
The Tibetan farmers in the Norgyaling Tibetan settlement located in the Gondia district of Maharahstra state’s rich rice cultivating belt will further gain from the diversification plans of the co-operative that has aims to set up facilities to produce rice bran oil and rice noodles and efficiently use all the by products and abide by the existing no middle-man supply chain.
The Tibet rice mill that buys unprocessed rice from Tibetan farmers and nearby Indian villages also aims to go commercial in the mainstream market in the coming years when the mill can steadily maintain optimal output and workout the legal and tax hassles, the Chief Planning Commissioner Dr Kunchok Tsundue said.