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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Basmati is good tiding for Fazilka farmers

Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar , Hindustan Times  Fazilka, October 10, 2013
First Published: 22:17 IST(10/10/2013) | Last Updated: 22:18 IST(10/10/2013)

Farmers in the district who opted to grow basmati, instead of the traditional parmal paddy crop are getting a good price for their produce at Rs. 2,900-3,500 a quintal.

The area under basmati doubled in comparison to last year, at about 70% of the total area under paddy.

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The two main varieties grown this year, the PR 1121 and PR 1509,  are selling quickly and between Rs. 2,900 and Rs. 3,400 per quintal. Most of the procurement is being done by private traders. Farmers claim that the 1,509 variety has been a runaway success this year.

"The crop was ready in 70 days and is in demand. The price has even touched Rs. 3,500 per quintal, due to its long and good quality grain," said Jaswant Singh, a farmer of Jangawala village under Jalalabad.

The 1121 variety will arrive in grain markets by the end of the month and will be sold at Rs. 2,800-3,100 per quintal, a great price for farmers.

"The 1121 variety requires less water. The state government has also waived off the market fee as well as the rural development cess to enhance diversification. As a result, many farmers opted for the variety," added Ravi Sharma, a commission agent.

Rice miller Ashok Grover said that paddy procurement had been dismal over the years and this the basmati farmers have some reason to be happy.

"The demand for basmati in the Gulf countries has also proved beneficial to basmati growers," said Grover.

Non-basmati growers were getting Rs. 40,000-45,000 per acre, while basmati was fetching almost the double, he claimed.

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