Monday, November 29, 1999

Basmati cultivation to remain stagnant in Punjab, Haryana

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Chandigarh, June 16 (PTI) Cultivation area under basmati variety of paddy is expected to stay at last years level in Punjab and Haryana, the key states for growing aromatic varieties of crop, All India Rice Exporters Association said today. According to preliminary reports, the area under basmati varieties of crop in Punjab and Haryana is not going to rise this (area) will remain at last years level, All India Rice Exporters Association, President, Vijay Setia told PTI. Setia said majority of the paddy cultivation area last year was brought under basmati varieties by farmers of Punjab and Haryana and there was no further scope for expansion of the aromatic crop. However, he added, that despite the stagnation, PUSA 1121 variety will continue dominating India''s twin bread basket states. PUSA 1121 cultivation area jumped in the range of 20 to 55 per cent in Punjab and Haryana despite scanty rains last year. This basmati variety of paddy is a favourite among paddy growers who export it at remunerative prices. Countrys basmati export last year soared to 3.2 million tonne against 2.3 million tonne in corresponding period on the back of huge demand from Iran and other Gulf countries. To further boost rice exports, exporters are now demanding that the center should allow export of aromatic but non-basmati varieties like Sugandha and Sharbati. However, the overall paddy cultivation area in Haryana and Punjab will be less than last year. Haryana has set a target of 11.50 lakh hectares to be brought under paddy crop cultivation in the current Kharif season compared with 12.05 lakh hectares brought last year. Punjab is eyeing 27 lakh hectares of area under paddy crop against 28.20 lakh hectares of area last season.

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