Five new varieties to expand India’s Basmati platter

Source: The post is based on the article “Five new varieties to expand India’s Basmati platter” published in The Hindu on 25th October 2022

What is the News?

Five new varieties of seeds of Basmati rice were developed by a group of scientists led by the Indian Agriculture Research Institute(IARI) Director. These varieties are all set to bring revolutionary changes in the way Basmati rice is cultivated in the country.

About Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice is a long-grained, aromatic rice that has been cultivated in Indo-Gangetic plains at the foothills of the Himalayas. 

In modern India, this region is spread over Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir. 

Around 75% of the export of Basmati Rice is to West Asian countries.

As the area of cultivation increased, these basmati rice varieties have become susceptible to two major diseases — bacterial leaf blight (BLB) and blast (leaf and collar) diseases caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae.

What has been developed now?

Five new varieties of Basmati rice have been developed by a group of scientists led by the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) Director Dr. Ashok Kumar Singh.

Three of these five varieties can resist two common diseases of paddy (one bacterial and one fungal). 

The other two varieties can save 35% of water as the method of Direct Sowing of Rice (DSR) can be used to raise them. These two seeds are also resistant to herbicides helping the farmers control weeds more efficiently.

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