Govt plans to increase farmers’ income with Basmati rice

STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 12th May: 
Under the mission of increasing farmers’ income two-fold by 2022 as envisaged by the Narendra Modi government, the state government is planning to augment farmers’ income by promoting Basmati rice among the farming community.
An official source in the agriculture department said that farming of Basmati rice on trial basis has been carried out successfully in the state. Basmati variety Pusa 1509 was successfully cultivated in the farm of one Y Krishnamohon of Lamdeng Awang Leikai in 2016 under Rashtriya Krishi Vigyan Yojana (RKVY).
The rice variety can be harvested in 125 to 130 days. In one hectare of land, 100 kg of urea, 150 kg of single super phosphate and 60 kg of MOP were used. Sowing was done in July and harvesting in November with a crop yield of 4200 kg from one hectare. Though the crop yield is similar with other high yield crop varieties commonly used in the state, income of farmers will be increased two-fold as the rice variety is twice the price of the other varieties.
The Seed Certification Cell of the state agriculture department had acquired 100 metric tonne of the department’s certified seed CAU-R1, which is commonly known as Tampha, from last year and started providing to farmers. The department is planning to acquire the seeds of the rice variety. Besides, the department is planning to acquire Basmati seeds from those who have already cultivated it, for distribution among the interested farmers.
There are certain health benefits of consuming Basmati rice, according to experts. With the increasing cases of diabetes in the state, the local variety of rice, commonly known as Meetei Cheng, is not a favourable choice for diabetes patients due to its high contain of starch contributing to high blood sugar. According to Diabetes Association of Canada, Basmati rice has lower glycemic index as compared to other rice varieties and has 20 per cent lower fibre than other varieties. It has anti-cancer benefits, and it can help in maintaining blood pressure, increasing brain function and improving heart condition, according to experts.
With the incidences of new strains of diseases becoming common and people becoming health conscious, many are preferring such foods despite their high price. At the same time mass production of the rice variety will result in decrease in price making it an affordable choice for the common people, the source added.
On the other hand, the agriculture department is providing soil certificates to farmers by setting up soil testing facilities in all districts.


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