India's Basmati rice exports is expected to get a further boost next fiscal following the introduction of a new aromatic rice variety developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), under the ministry of agriculture.
The new variety referred as Pusa Basmati 1509 does not shatter in case of any delay in harvesting and has a superior grain quality compared to major trait of Pusa 1121, the biggest rice variety currently traded globally.
The new variety takes 120-125 days to mature as against 145-155 days taken by Pusa 1121, which has more than 70% share in India's Basmati rice exports market. Yield wise, the new variety is expected to give around 6.5 tonne per hectare against around 4.5 tonne reported for the widely grown 1121 variety.
This variety is also set to help Punjab and Haryana farmers dealing with issue of depleting ground water level as it takes lesser time to grow.
India exported Basmati rice worth Rs 15,450 crore during 2011-12.
The first ever short duration long grained Basmati variety has already undergone field trials in Punjab and is to be introduced on a large scale in next year's Kharif season.
“We have been working on developing the new variety of Basmati rice for the last six years and even the trial conducted at Patiala also show encouraging result this year’s kharif. We hope to introduce the new variety by next kharif season,” KV Prabhu, Head, Division of Genetics, IARI told FE.
Pusa Basmati 1121 was released for commercial cultivation in 2003. This variety presently occupies more than 1.5 million hectare of Basmati rice grown area estimated at around 2.6 mh.
An official with Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) said India’s Basmati rice exports got a boost following the introduction of Pusa 1121 variety in the global market. Pusa 1121 received a huge demand from mostly middle-east countries such as Iran and Saudi Araba.
Exporters have been upbeat about the development of new Basmati variety. “The new variety is expected to help the farmers in not only saving on water because of shorter duration of crop, it would increase the yield,” Vijay Setia, former president, All-India Rice Exporters Association and leading exporter of Basmati rice said.
Last six years have been watershed years as far as India's basmati rice export goes. From a modest Rs 2792 crore of aromatic rice exports during 2006-7, the exports have increased by many times and expected to cross Rs 16,000 crore mark during current fiscal.
India exports Basmati rice to middle-east countries mostly Iran, Saudi Arabia and UAE, European Union and the US.
Saudi Arabia and Iran account for more than 60% of India's total Basmati rice exports.