Would like some low-GI biryani? Then, order Telangana Sona rice from this Hyderabad start-up now

Telangana Sona rice is the wonder crop we all need. Its low glycemic index makes it superior in quality and it comes with a host of added benefits. Deccan Mudra wants you to know all about it
Telangana Sona rice | (Pic: Deccan Mudra)
Telangana Sona rice | (Pic: Deccan Mudra)

Rice, as we know it, is competing with many other healthier options that are not in the position to topple it at the moment, but are surely gaining new ground every day. Enter Telangana Sona, locally known as Chittimallelu and scientifically as RNR 15048. Developed by scientists of Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), what this superfine variety of white rice has going for it is its low glycemic index (GI). This immediately had the start-up Deccan Mudra, which specialises in low GI products, falling in the lifestyle category. So in January 2021, their association with PJTSAU and the social enterprise GCOT (Gramodaya Chamber of Commerce and Technology) began. "We were one of the first ones to propose the idea of licensing. Because there were other brands already selling the rice but not under the name Telangana Sona, the university wasn't getting anything out of it, which is actually their flagship product. We believe that this rice variety needs to be positioned as strongly as Sona Masuri and Kurnool Sona Masoori in the market," says Mithilesh Boyina, Director, Deccan Mudra.  

Sri Harsha Sivanapalli, Mithilesh Boyina and Rahul Ashrit 

The university supplies the seeds of this wonder crop free of cost and the GCOT, who are, in general, in-charge of procuring, processing and promoting this rice variety, pass it along to farmers, while the start-up promises to buy back the produce by offering at least Rs 4 or Rs 3.5 more than the MSP (Minimum Support Prices) offered by the government. Also, once harvested, the crop is weighed and purchased and the amount reaches the farmer within three days. This is because the objective of this Hyderabad-based start-up, which was founded in November 2020, doesn't just want to put out healthier eating options, but also do right by the farmers. "This is one of the main reasons why we call this product the win-win rice," shares the 31-year-old. 

A stall they had set up with their EV in the background 

This trifecta has already successfully brought Telangana Sona to many stores. If you frequent supermarkets like Ratnadeep, Q Mart, Pavithra Mart, Balaji Grand Bazar and about 150 other stores in Hyderabad or Karachiwala Departmental Stores and Kashyap Home Needs in Visakhapatnam, there is no way you would have missed the smiling brown and white packets of this rice. Currently in the third season of harvesting — last season they procured 300 tonnes of paddy — this rice is being grown for Deccan Mudra by farmers in Ibrahimpur, majorly, Matendla and other areas of Telangana. Over 400 farmers have put their trust in the hands of Deccan Mudra via GCOT. "Once a month, we take the scientists from the university to the farms so that they can understand what challenges the farmers face. The university is able to work closely with the farmers and are available for them at all times, this is exactly what they needed," says Mithilesh who was born in Hyderabad but spent a good number of years in Mumbai.

Mithilesh hopes that if there is more awareness regarding the goodness of this rice, it would be much easier for start-ups like theirs to make a mark in the market 

The team is already in discussions for the first international export and are quite keen on innovating in the marketing space to position this rice in the way it deserves. Think vending machines in corporate buildings, a B2B model with restaurants where they offer low-GI biryani or pulao and carts. In fact, all online deliveries are being made via their EV. "But we don't want to be the 'rice guys', we hope to expand to sunflower seeds, black rice and rice noodles and pasta too in a couple of months," says the youngster who pursued his MBA from KJ Somaiya Institute of Management, Mumbai.  

More of their products

More about Telangana Sona
- This rice variety has higher protein, vitamin B3 and carbohydrates
- The crop itself is disease-resistant and works well with the local climatic conditions
- This crop, being low-GI (51), is good for diabetes and helps in reducing blood sugar levels
- It is a blast-resistant and short duration variety that can be grown both in kharif and rabi seasons
- The short and slender size of the grain and its superior cooking quality adds to its charm  
- It also helps keep heart risks at bay and aids in weight loss as well
- PJTSAU and ISB had signed an agreement for the branding and marketing of his rice

For more on them check out deccanmudra.com

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