India’s Basmati platter
Why in news?
Five new Basmati varieties developed by a group of scientists at Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), in 2020 and 2021 are all set to bring revolutionary changes in the way this type of paddy is cultivated in the country.
- Three of the five varieties can resist two common diseases of paddy. The other two can save the water required as the seeds can be directly sown, obviating the need for transplanting seedlings.
- These two seeds are resistant to herbicides too, helping the farmers control weeds more efficiently.
- New varieties developed: PUSA basmati 1979 and PUSA basmati 1985 as herbicide tolerant rice by improving the PUSA basmati 1121 and 1509 respectively. Pusa Basmati 1121, was developed from Pusa Basmati 1885; from Pusa Basmati 1509, developed Pusa Basmati 1847; Pusa Basmati 1401 was improved to develop Pusa Basmati 1886. All these varieties have two genes to resist BLB and two genes to resist blast disease.
What are the major benefits ?
- This will help in increasing farmers’ income by reducing the cost of cultivation, by improving production and by realising price of their labour and input cost. The cost of cultivation will be reduced.
- It will reduce the use of pesticides and water. If the production is free from residue, it will get better prices
- Change the practice of cultivating transplanted variety of paddy to direct sowing of rice helps in saving water
- Greenhouse gas emission is reduced as water is not stagnating in this process.
- Labour and cost of transplantation is also saved
What are reasons for the development of new variety ?
- Over a period of time, as the area of cultivation increased, traditional varieties become susceptible to two major diseases — bacterial leaf blight (BLB) and blast (leaf and collar) diseases caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae.
- Pesticides and fungicides used against these diseases increased the residue levels permitted in developed countries
- It is a variety of long, slender-grained aromatic rice which is traditionally grown in India, Pakistan, and Nepal.
- Production: India accounts for over 70% of the world’s basmati rice Major production from the seven States — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand
- Exports : While 75% of the export is to West Asian countries, European Union countries