Pusa Sugandh-3, Scented Basmati Rice: A hope for the Farmers of Kashmir Valley
Rice, the second most widely grown cereal crop, is the staple food for more than half of the world’s population. Rice is endowed with amazing genetic diversity with more than one hundred thousand landraces and improved cultivars maintained in the germplasm collections spread all over the world . Varietal diversification appeared to have occurred as a function of adaptation to diverse agro-climatic conditions coupled with conscious and continuous selection subsequently by man for his diverse quality preferences. A unique varietal group of rice evolved as a result of natural and human intervention known as Basmati Rice has found wider acceptance all over the world in view of its distinct quality and aroma.
Basmati has long grains which are traditionally grown in India and Pakistan since long. It has tremendous consumer acceptability and popularity in view of its unique quality, taste, aroma, extra long grain and tenderness etc. Besides,Basmati rice, is having low glycemic index and rich in micro-nutrient especially iron and zinc.
In India Basmati rice is cultivated on the foot-hills of the Northern-Himalayan comprising the states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Western Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu region (J&K). Indian Agricultural Research Institute(ICAR), New Delhi, has developed a series of isocytoplasmic basmati quality restorer lines with check variety Pusa Basmati-1. Thesevaroetoes mature 15-20 days earlier besides having 10-25 percent higher yield and aroma. Of these, Pusa sugand-2, Pusa Sugandi-3 and Pusa Sugand-5 have been released for commercial cultivation all over the northern parts of the country except Kashmir Valley (J&K State), where for Basmati rice is not traditionally grown and its cultivation has never been in the history of Kashmir.
Expansion of technology:-
Understanding that Basmati Rice is not growing traditionally in J&K vis-à-vis its importance Pusa Sugandh-1 and Pusa Sugandh-2 were tried in the region during late 90’s but these could not performed well. During first decade of 21st century (2008-09) Pusa Sughund-3 was tried in the farmers field and FLD(Front Line Demonstration) were laid on small scale at ten different location of 1.0 kanal area in district Budgam (Narkara). Its performance was excellent in terms of yield and quality when compared with traditional rice Varity K-39. The yield obtained is 25-30 percent more than the K-39 variety and its selling price is Rs.3500/q as compared to K-39 which is selling at Rs.1500/q at present. Growing Basmati Rice, an initiative was taken by SKUAST-Kashmir to see the feasibility of introducing Basmati rice in Kashmir valley to help farmers to get better remuneration.
Performance of Pusa Sugandh-3 in Budgam district:
As the variety has better acceptability in terms of gross returns, yield performance, quality of rice and the timely maturity, the demand for seed from small and marginal farmers increased by more than 150 per cent in the area. Pressing demand of PS-3 seed in the area and the efforts of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Budgam resulted in tremendous increase in the cropping area of the Basmati in the district. The multiplication of seeds at farmers level and also due the efforts of SKUAST-Kashmir to make available inputs to the farmers, technology has been spread to more than 300 kanal area in the district. The farmers are highly satisfied with the results of Pusa Sugund-3 and demand is increasing day by day with the result the cultivation is spreading towards other district like Srinagar and Ganderbal also. The only constraint with the farmers regarding the Pusa Sughund was that of milling which however has been addressed by the Govt. of J&K recently.
Socio-economic status of the technology:
The average yield of PS-3 is 82.00 q/ha as compared to the yield of conventional variety K-39 yielding 59-69 q/ ha on an average. The farmers are selling the produce of PS-3 rice @ of Rs.35,000/- per q as compared to conventional rice of K-39 variety rice @ Rs.1500/- per q at current market price. The gross benefit to the farmers with PS-3 cultivation is around Rs.1,90,000/- per hectare on an average. With the establishment of special milling facility for Pusa sughand-3, its cultivation has spread horizontally as well vertically and 500% increase in the area under cultivation of PS-3 has been reported. Being highly satisfied with the performance of PS-3, farmers demand is also increasing and cultivation of PS-3 is gaining momentum by spreading towards other district of the valley.
Prof. Afifa S. Kamili, Director Extension Education, SKUAST-Kashmir along with KVK scientists and farmers having discussion in the paddy field.
Prof. Afifa S. Kamili, Director Extension Education, SKUAST-Kashmir along with scientists, Extension personnel’s and farmers are visiting paddy field during field day.