Punjab Agricultural University's Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Patiala, Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF), Modipuram and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA, government of India), organised a workshop on 'quality production of basmati rice for export at Meeranpur village in Patiala, in which experts urged farmers to reduce the use of fungicides for basmati as its overuse causes hurdles in exports.
More than 450 basmati farmers, commission agents of the area and officials of Punjab Mandi Board participated in the workshop.
Padma Shri awardee VP Singh (ex-principal scientist at Indian Agriculture Research Institute in New Delhi), regarded as the 'father of basmati rice varieties of India', exhorted the farmers to produce their own seed for basmati cultivation. He also explained various practices which could help obtain a high yield.
All-India Rice Exporters' Association (AIREA) executive director Rajan Sundaresan explained the process of basmati rice export, and asked the farmers to judiciously use the pesticides, so that the problem of pesticide residue in basmati rice could be curtailed.
He also encouraged the farmers to bring more area under basmati rice, as India and Pakistan are the only countries which produce this crop. Ritesh Sharma, senior scientist at BEDF in Modipuram, enlightened the farmers about integrated nutrient management technologies for basmati.
Hardeep Singh Sabhikhi, KVK, also advised the farmers to adopt integrated management of diseases and pests. GPS Sodhi, deputy director of KVK, urged the farmers to adopt good agricultural practices while growing basmati and encouraged them to go for crop diversification in order to conserve natural resources.