To reduce water usage in rice cultivation, a drought-tolerant Basmati rice variety developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has been notified for the first time for large-scale release by the agriculture ministry.
Recommended for cultivation in key Basmati rice growing regions of Haryana, Punjab, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, the new variety Pusa Basmati (PB)1882 can withstand deficient rainfall during the flowering stage of the grain.
According to S Gopala Krishnan, principal scientist, IARI, the new variety during two years of field trials had given an average yield of 4.6 tonne/hectare compared to 4.2 tonne/hectare reported for its parent variety PB 1.
With IARI planning to distribute seeds for the new variety to farmers in the next year’s kharif season, the export prospects of Basmati rice to the European Union (EU) is expected to get a boost as PB 1 variety has been traditionally shipped to these countries.
“Rice grown through the transplanting method requires close to 3000 litres of water for producing one kg of rice, while the new variety sown through direct seeding method results in huge saving on water usage,” Krishnan told FE.