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Farmers turn to growing Basmati rice

G. Nagaraja

West Godavari and Krishna farmers seek export permit for Pusa-1121 variety


Great demand for Basmati rice in Gulf countries, US

Pusa-1121 variety raised last kharif on experimental basis


Photo: A.V.G. Prasad

Matter of pride: A farmer having a look at Pusa-1121 variety of Basmati rice in his field near Makasa Kalavapudi village on the Krishna-West Godavari district borders. —

ELURU: The vast expanse of the Krishna-Godavari delta region is seemingly no longer alien to the cultivation of Basmati rice variety, which has been thus far confined to a few Northern Indian States such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The variety, widely known for its unique aroma and post cooking elongation, is all poised to bridge the North-South divide in its cultivation, thanks to a group of path-breaking peasants from West Godavari and Krishna districts who are making a humble beginning in introducing the most sought-after variety in their native soil.

Fed up with the limited scope for export of the local varieties in view of the government's curbs and low prices in the local market, the growers from the Andhra region seem to be developing love for Basmati rice. This variety rules the export market and is in great demand in the Gulf countries and even in the United States for its unique characteristics.

Association formed

Some farmers cultivated the Pusa-1121 variety of the Basmati rice at Elurupadu in Kalla mandal and Annavaram in Bhimavaram mandal of West Godavari district in the previous kharif on an experimental basis. An organisation — Basmati Rice Growers Association — was floated in Krishna district with Gudivada as its headquarters and efforts are under way for a similar mission in West Godavari district for motivating the farmers to grow Basmati rice, Suryanarayana Raju of the Godavari Delta Parirakshana Samithi says.

A section of farmers from these two districts recently met Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar with a request for export permits for the Pusa-1121 variety and making its seed easily available to the growers in the coastal Andhra.

P.S.R. Das, general secretary of the Basmati Rice Growers Association, says the Pusa-1121 variety has been raised in 200 acres in Krishna district in current rabi season and its per acre yield has been around 18 bags to 20 bags.

It is planned to increase the Basmati rice cultivation area up to 500 acres in the coming kharif in Krishna district and and up to 200 acres in West Godavari district.

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