[Answered] Discuss the significance of breeding for disease resistance in crop varieties, especially in the context of Basmati rice. How do government policies with regard to exports impact Basmati rice farmers in India?

Introduction: Briefly describe Basmati rice.

Body: Significance of breeding in crop varieties and government policies impact on farmers cultivating Basmati rice.

Conclusion: Way forward.

Basmati rice is a premium variety of rice cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of the Indian subcontinent known for its long grain size, fluffy texture and unique inherent aroma and flavour. It is cultivated in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, UT of Jammu and Kashmir and western Uttar Pradesh. Breeding for disease resistance in crop varieties, including Basmati rice, holds significant importance for agricultural sustainability and food security.

What is significance of breeding for disease resistance in Basmati rice?

  • Disease Resistance: Disease-resistant crop varieties help protect agricultural yields and reduce the need for costly chemical pesticides. Protecting Basmati rice crop against diseases is crucial for maintaining its quality and market competitiveness.
  • Food Security: Disease-resistant varieties of Basmati rice ensure a stable supply of this important food source. Reduced crop losses due to diseases help maintain food security, especially in regions where Basmati rice is a dietary staple.
  • Increase Exports: Basmati rice is a valuable export commodity that generates substantial revenue for Indian farmers and the country’s economy. Disease-resistant varieties can increase yield and quality, resulting in higher profits for farmers and greater income for the nation through exports.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Disease-resistant varieties can contribute to sustainable agriculture by reducing the use of chemical pesticides. This, in turn, helps mitigate the environmental impact of agriculture, such as soil and water pollution.

What is the Impact of Government Export Policies on Basmati Rice Farmers in India?

  • Support and subsidies: Government policies may provide support, subsidies, or incentives to encourage Basmati rice cultivation and export. These measures can benefit farmers by reducing production costs and increasing profitability.
  • Market Access: Government policies play a crucial role in facilitating or hindering the export of Basmati rice. Favourable policies that promote access to international markets can significantly benefit Basmati rice farmers by increasing demand and prices for their produce.
  • Quality Standards: Export policies often include quality standards and regulations that Basmati rice must meet to access foreign markets. These standards are meant to ensure that Indian Basmati rice maintains a high reputation for quality. Farmers must adhere to these standards, which can impact their practices and investments in disease-resistant varieties and farming techniques.
  • Price Stability: Government interventions in the form of export bans or restrictions can affect Basmati rice prices. While such measures may be imposed to safeguard domestic availability, they can also disrupt farmers’ income if they result in price fluctuations or reduced market access.


The success of Basmati rice can be seen from reports showing annual exports from India have soared, from 0.3-0.35 million tonnes (mt) valued at $200-250 million to 4.5-4.6 mt worth $4.7-4.8 billion, in the past three decades. Efforts like Minimising the spraying of crop protection chemical also helps protect the premium value of Indian basmati in the global market. There is need to put safeguards in place to minimize risks faced by farmers who are  exposed to the vagaries of the market and government policy with regard to exports.

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