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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Area under basmati likely to rise by 40%: Centre

None  New Delhi, August 26, 2014
First Published: 22:32 IST(26/8/2014) | Last Updated: 22:34 IST(26/8/2014)

The total area under basmati rice is likely to rise by 40% to 3.5 million hectares in the ongoing kharif season as farmers have sown the premium rice variety in more area in anticipation of better returns.

“Basmati rice acreage can go up to 3.5 million hectares this season from 2.5 million hectares in the year-ago,” agriculture commissioner JS Sandhu told PTI.

Acreage under the crop is not only expected to increase in traditional states   Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and some parts of Jammu and Kashmir   but also in non-traditional states, especially Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, he said.

“More farmers are growing basmati rice varieties   Pusa 1501 and Pusa 1121   encouraged by fellow farmers, who got better price last year,” Sandhu said.

Farmers had earned three times higher than the support price of Rs. 1,310 per quintal for common-variety paddy during last year, he added.

If such increase in acreage is achieved, the country’s total production of basmati rice would touch 8.75 million tonnes this year, considering the average yield of 2.5 tonnes per hectares, Sandhu said.

Last year, the basmati rice output stood at 6.25 million tonnes and exports at 7 million tonnes, he said.The expected jump in basmati rice sowing is likely to increase the overall rice acreage in the ongoing kharif (summer) season that began from June with the onset of southwest monsoon.

So far in the kharif season, rice including basmati rice has been sown 33.5 million hectares, slightly higher than 33.37 million hectares in the year-ago period, as per official data.

Rice is the key kharif crop. The country’s 90% of the rice production comes from the kharif crop.

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