Sheikh Atiqur Rahman : Rice bran oil, a little know edible oil, is being sold over the counter at the Dhaka International trade Fair 2014.
Rice bran oil now being produced in the country is becoming popular day by day. It is likely to be the most sought after edible oil in our local markets.
Rice bran oil is a by-product of rice plants and is one of the most versatile oils available for consumption. The oil is extracted from the inner husk of rice plants. After it undergoes a stabilization and extraction process, the rice bran oil is carefully processed to make sure that its flavour is preserved and it does not lose any of its natural health benefits.
Reducing cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease are just two of the benefits associated with the use of rice bran oil. It contains antioxidants and is suitable for those who may have certain food allergies or need to maintain a certain type of diet, such as a gluten-free diet. Additionally, it is a good source of carbohydrates, proteins and essential amino acids that aid in muscle growth and repair.
Traditionally, potato chips, rice cakes and even French fries have been fried in rice bran oil in parts of Asia. In the US, rice bran oil is currently being used in upscale snack food production and restaurants.
The oil, owing to its high smoke point and mild flavour, is suitable for high-temperature cooking methods such as stir frying and deep frying, and hence is popular in several Asian countries, including Japan and China.
Our next door neighbours, India and China, have got tremendous success in using rice bran as resource of edible oil and lion portion of their demand for edible oil is being met with rice bran oil. India imports the rice bran from Bangladesh for producing oil.
In Bangladesh, rice bran is used mainly for preparing poultry, fish and cattle feeds. Abdur Rashid, owner of Rashid Rice Oil Mills and one of the pioneers of producing oil from rice bran, conceived the idea after receiving demand from Indian for rice bran.
His mills attempted to extract oil from rice bran at a time when the country consumed about 13 lakh tonnes of edible oil a year -- mostly imported by private refiners.
Abdur Rashid supplies a good portion of the national need of rice since the last twelve years. The rice bran remains unused or sold at a low cost. He thought of using the by product in human welfare effectively. Finally, he invented the process of producing oil from rice bran. But the project was costly. It was not possible for him to launch such a big industry alone. He submitted detailed plan of the project to Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd in Kushtia.
The bank came forward to finance it and Rashid Oil Mills has been set up on 12 bighas of land beside Ishwardi Pabna Highway.
The new entrant with a daily capacity of producing between 60-84 tonnes of oil from the extraction of about 300 tonnes of rice bran, is expected to supply between 18,000 to 25,200 tonnes of rice bran oil a year to the market.
Meanwhile, commodity giant City Group launched its own brand of rice bran oil on the domestic market, while Emerald Oil Industries Ltd is also producing the edible oil from rice bran.
Modernisation of the mills may allow the country to produce up to 22 lakh tonnes of rice bran oil per year, said Layek Ali, convenor of Bangladesh Husking Mills Owners Association.
To encourage investment in rice bran oil, the government is offering tax exemption facilities, starting from fiscal 2012-13.
Investors wishing to set up factories in Dhaka and Chittagong would get a five-year tax exemption facility, with full exemption in the first two years of commercial production.
It is learnt that a Japan-Bangladesh joint venture at Ishwardi EPZ will be operational by early next year and is expected to produce around 270,000 tonnes of rice bran oil annually. Although not the first plant in Bangladesh, it will be the largest.