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Punjab Govt Promotes Toxic-Free Basmati Production to Enhance Export Potential

The Punjab Agriculture Department has produced toxic-free Basmati rice from the Chogawan Block in Amritsar, marking the first time they have taken the lead in this achievement.

Shivam Dwivedi
Punjab Govt Promotes Toxic-Free Basmati Production to Enhance Export Potential
Punjab Govt Promotes Toxic-Free Basmati Production to Enhance Export Potential

The aim is to boost the worldwide demand for Basmati rice that is free of chemicals. Overall, the organization is promoting the cultivation of Basmati rice among farmers and has enlisted the services of 365 Kissan Mitras to inspire and educate them on the techniques involved in cultivating Basmati.

According to Chief Agriculture Officer Jatinder Singh Gill, a pilot project to produce chemical-free Basmati was launched in Chogawan Block of Amritsar in collaboration with Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, and under the project, ten agrochemical compounds (insecticide, pesticide, and fungicide) banned by Punjab Agriculture University would not be sprayed on the Basmati.

This is being done to avoid rejection of our Basmati in the international market due to the presence of traces of these chemical compounds above the permissible limits, which causes a huge loss of foreign exchange," he explained, adding that Amritsar Basmati, particularly from the Chogawan Block, is in high demand from the Middle East, Europe, and America. He stated that the department had selected the farmers who would participate in the pilot project and that the remainder of the preparations were being handled by them.

Chogawan Basmati rice has an advantage over other Basmati kinds due to its alluvial soil and climatic circumstances due to its proximity to the Ravi River, according to Gill. The government also plans to encourage farmers to grow Basmati because it is transplanted in the first week of July, nearly one month after paddy (parmal variety of rice), preventing the depletion of underground water due to the commencement of the rainy season.

Farmers are encouraged to grow the Pusa Basmati 1,121,1,718,1,509, and PB 7 rice types, which are acquired by private rice millers. Last year, Pusa 1,121 sold for between Rs 3,500 and 4,000 per quintal, compared to paddy, which sells for roughly Rs 2040 per quintal. Amritsar's 776 villages have approximately 1.08 lakh hectares of Basmati cultivation, which the administration hopes to grow by 1.4 lakh hectares during the current Basmati transplantation season.

Farmers in Majitha, Jandiala, Tarsikka, and a portion of Attari block plant Pusa Basmati 1,509 early in the season so that their fields are ready for seeding peas and potatoes after harvesting in September. Gill stated that they were in the process of recruiting Kissan Mitras who would be matriculate, between the ages of 45 and 60, and have cultivation experience on at least 1-2 acres of land.

Kissan Mitra's salary would be Rs 5,000 per month from May to November. Except for the villages with fewer than 100 acres of land and the Baicharag (unpopulated) villages in the Ajnala and Chogawan blocks, two villages had been assigned to one Kissan Mitra. However, for unknown reasons, cultivation of the aromatic Basmati 386 variety, also known as Pakistani Basmati, has declined dramatically, with only a few farmers currently cultivating Basmati 386.

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