The rates of basmati are about `1,400 to `1,500 per quintal lower than last year and looking at the glut in the market, prices may come down further in days to come as the main basmati variety, Pusa 1121, has also matured.
"The basmati varieties are selling between `2,700 and `3,000 per quintal these days this year which was between `4,000 and `4,500 last year, thus coming down by `1,000 to `1,500 per quintal this year," said Kulbir Singh Matta, district mandi officer (DMO).
Matta added, "Due to the huge arrival of basmati in the grain markets of the district, we had to appeal to farmers to bring only dry produce to the markets so that there would be no problem of marketing."
The commission agents in the Kotkapura grain market also admit that the rates of basmati have come down considerably as compared to last year which may fall further.
"The prices of basmati varieties have come down as compared to last year, right in the beginning of the season. Now they are selling at `2,900 per quintal as the highest, but last year, these were selling above `4,000. Farmers need to ensure quality now as only that will be sold at higher rates," said Praveen Garg, senior vice president of Ahartia association, Kotkapura.
Sanjay Mittal, joint secretary of Ahartia association Kotkapura said, "Pusa 1401, which is known as 'Mushal paddy' (a hairy paddy variety) among the farmers, was sold about `2,400 per quintal a week back but it is now selling at about `2,000."
Officials said farmers should only bring the dry produce to the market as produce with moisture gets damaged during storage and buyers are reluctant to purchase it.
"Basmati has emerged as the third major crop after paddy and wheat in the region and it also has many benefits. The area under it is expected to increase as it is still fetching more income than paddy," said Kulbir Singh Matta, DMO Faridkot.
But as the government has done away with 4% rural development fund and market fee on basmati, which used to be 2% each, it is resulting in little revenue for the government.