Owing to a poor rate fixed for the basmati crop last two years, the farmers this year has decided to curtail the area to a significant level. The decision means that there will be around 35 per cent less production of the basmati crop in Punjab.
Farmers have demanded that government must fix a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for basmati on the lines of paddy crops as it will save significant underground water and bring more foreign exchange to the country.
Though there is a possibility that less production may hit the export this yea, however exporters said that last year’s stocks are available which will be carried forward. “There should be some fixed system and for every Rs 100 crores purchase of basmati Rs 10 crore must be kept for the welfare of farmers to provide them farm implements free of cost through a lottery system as it will encourage them to grow more basmati,” said Vijay Setia, former president and current governing body member of All India Export Association Area.
Last year, as per the Punjab Mandi Board (PMB) 30.78 lakh tonnes of Basmati was procured in the state, which was sown at 7.63 lakh hectares area of land. But with the area being curtailed to 4.96 lakh hectares this year, the production will automatically reduce by 35 per cent.
Around 19-20 lakh tonnes basmati production is expected in the state this year.
It may be noted that Punjab is among the five states which falls under the traditional Geographical Indication (GI) area for export of basmati rice along with Haryana, some part of UP, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.