The area under Basmati crop is likely to increase by one-and-a-half times in Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts this season as compared to that of last year.
Chief agriculture officer (CAO), Dr Ravi Kumar Sabharwal, told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that the total area under Basmati in Gurdaspur and Pathankot districts was 80,000 hectares only last year, which is likely to increase up to 1,25,000 hectares this season.
Dr Sabharwal, however, is worried that the farmers may get lower price for their Basmati crop if the produce comes in the market in a very large quantity as it will lower the demand for the crop as well as its price.
He pointed out that the farmers of these areas were keen to grow more Basmati crop this year because they earned huge profits from it last year. They got `4,200 to `5,000 per quintal of Basmati last season whereas they fetched from the sale of paddy crop `1,300 per quintal only.
Dr Sabharwal also pointed out that Basmati is an export crop. He said that last year the farmers could not get as much seed of Basmati crop as they demanded, but this year it was available in large quantity.
The farmers mainly grew 1509 variety of Basmati last year, which is called a short-term variety for it takes only 90 days for its full growth. However, there were other varieties too such as 1121, also called PUSA, and Pakistani Basmati, he added.
Dr Sabharwal said that Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has developed a new variety named Number 3 from Pakistani Basmati variety. He said this variety of Basmati gets lesser time than all other varieties in its growth and brings more yield.
He informed that the grain of this variety matures in cold weather better and its grain gets broken if it ripens under a temperature of 40 degrees celsius or higher.
He said that according to the notification issued by the Punjab government, the farmers were advised to plant nursery of Basmati not earlier than July 5 to get better crop and more yield.
The Dera Baba Nanak and Dinanagar blocks in Gurdaspur district and Pathankot block in Pathankot district are more favourable for the cultivation of Basmati crop.