Manipur entrepreneur to launch first ever Black Rice flakes, trial product on sale

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Imphal: Manipur’s Taret Foods Private Limited, Imphal East is gearing up to launch Chak-hao Flakes (Black Rice flakes) which it claims to be the first of its kind in the country.

In Manipur, Black Rice is known as Chakhao and regarded as a state’s indigenous food.

“Chak-hao flakes is produced for the first time in Manipur and would also be the first of its kind in India as Black Rice is grown only in some Asian countries,” Birbal Chingangbam, the company director said.

Chakhao is known as a super-food for its health benefits. “My target is to produce a healthy product and Chakhao itself is a healthy native food,” he said.

No sugar is added to Chak-hao Flakes. The company targets to reach all inclusive of diabetic patients.

“We are targeting to market it outside Manipur and the country in two years. Everywhere in the world people take breakfast. People consume products of oat, corn, etc., not for flavour but for health benefits. I believe that Chak-hao flakes will be a top international healthy food product.”

The company began to produce the Black Rice flakes with its brand name Chak-hao Flakes as the New Year set in. “This is our trial initiative. Research and development is yet to complete. We are planning to launch the product by April-May,” Birbal said.

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The company got feedback from the local consumers that the product fits for elderly people while it requires sweetness and chocolate flavour for children and youth.

Customers continue to buy the product and the present stock will be cleared by January end. We have produced only 1,500 boxes (300 gm) and displayed in five Imphal departmental stores.

Chak-hao Bhujia and Chak-hao Gulla are two other Chakhao based products of the company. It also markets Premium Chak-hao (black rice) Pack.

Chak-hao Bhujia was his first Chakhao based product. He then produced Chak-hao Gulla which was launched in Diwali and Ningol Chakouba festival season last year.

The firm procures Chakhao from different parts of the state especially from Imphal East district.

The 31 year old entrepreneur from Kairang Maning Leikai, Imphal East, completed his BBM from Mangalore University and worked in various MNC’s in Bangalore and Mumbai for five years before returning to Manipur to start the company.

He believes ‘we can redefine lives of thousands of farmers and people of Manipur through Taret Foods’.

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“When I returned to my native land, I wished to produce a product with the resource available in Manipur. Initially I took up spice production and finally opted to take up Chakhao based products. It came in my mind that through value addition besides consuming it as rice it would reach people outside the state in a different way,” he said.

At present he has about 32 regular staff including 12 regular staff. It has ‘directly or indirectly benefited 100 plus Black Rice farmers of the state’.

Birbal believes that the trade would help everyone in the firm grow together and help maintain livelihood.

Due to Covid-19 the business failed for almost six months. During these months the firm fraternity took up home delivery services for vegetables. They resumed the original trade when the lockdown relaxations began.

We could sell the Gulla during the festive season and could almost recover the loss incurred during lockdown, Birbal said.

He appealed to the youth and entrepreneurs in the state to take up business based on state’s resources to minimise cost of production as well as to promote state’s own indigenous products through value addition and save perishable agricultural products.

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A product, one value added, can last for 6-12 months. This will help the farmers and prevent losses, he said.

He appealed to traders not to simply trade the farm products directly by procuring from farms, but to think of marketing it after value addition.

He cites that when Black Rice is sold outside Manipur at Rs 150 per kg, it will be better to sell it at Rs 150 per 300 gram after value addition.

“Let’s go together with native resources,” Birbal said.

Taret Foods’ mission is to bring an agricultural black revolution in the North East region of India helping increase the income of thousands of Farmer’s by creating value for consumers around the globe. It has the vision of becoming a global company by producing socially conscious quality foods.

Taret Foods was founded in the year 2016. It started focusing on Black Rice based products in 2017.

“We want to create value for our customers, create jobs for our state, and create income for our farmers and become a Global brand of Black Rice,” Birbal said.

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