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New Basmati Varieties

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.