India seeks to woo US consumers with indigenous red rice

Think of rice and usually what comes to mind are white slender grains, which could be sticky or loose and sometimes fragrant. India, the world’s top rice exporter, is now looking to stamp its presence in the global market with an indigenous red variety.

Laden with iron and grown without chemical fertilisers, India flagged off its first consignment of red rice to the United States on Thursday. The rice variety is known as ‘Bao-dhaan’, which is an integral part of the food of the eastern hill state of Assam.

Leading rice exporter LT Foods, which also sells lentils, oilseeds, and other agro produce in Europe and North America, is sourcing the red rice. The company plans to use its distribution network in America’s East and West Coasts to promote it as a delicacy.

“As the exports of ‘red rice’ grow, it would bring enhanced incomes to farmers of the Brahmaputra flood plains (in Assam),” said state-run Agricultural & Processed Food Products and Export Development Authority, which is a conduit for shipments of Indian agro produce.

The government recently set up the Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF) as the grain has the biggest share of Indian agricultural produce exports.

Biman Mukherji is a columnist and consulting editor at He has worked for international news organisations such as Reuters, The Wall Street Journal as well as for newspapers like The Times of India. He can be reached at

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