New Basmati Varieties:
Five new Basmati varieties, developed by a group of scientists from Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), in 2020 and 2021 will bring changes in the way paddy is cultivated in the country.
- Three of the five varieties can resist two common diseases of paddy.
- Bacterial leaf blight (BLB) and blast (leaf and collar) diseases caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae.
- New varieties are
- Pusa Basmati 1847,
- Pusa Basmati 1885 and
- Pusa Basmati 1886.
- All these varieties have two genes to resist BLB and two genes to resist blast disease.
- The other two can save 35% of the water now 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.
- In the next three years, all of the five seeds will have the combined qualities of disease and herbicide resistance.
- India is known for its Basmati rice, with the produce from seven States — Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand — earmarked for Geographical Indication.
- Basmati, known for its mouthfeel, aroma, length of the grain when cooked and taste, has a market abroad and brings about ₹30,000 crore in foreign exchange every year.
- While 75% of the export is to West Asian countries, European Union countries also import Indian Basmati.