By Ruchika M Khanna
With early basmati variety, PUSA 1509, selling for Rs 5,005 per quintal in Bathinda, farmers are reaping a rich harvest this kharif season.So far, 5.13 lakh metric tonnes of basmati had been purchased across the state at an average price of Rs 3,700 to Rs 3,800 per quintal. Last year, this crop was procured at an average price of Rs 2,700 to Rs 3,000 per quintal and Rs 4,000 per quintal was the highest price.The upward trend has been witnessed after the Government of India recently announced that it would slash the minimum export price (MEP) on basmati to $850 per tonne. In August, the Centre had imposed an MEP on basmati export to $1,200 per tonne.Even the area under basmati crop has increased from 4.96 lakh hectares in 2022 to 6 lakh hectares this year.Rice exporters said though the notification related to reduction of the MEP had not been issued to date, the market had already reacted to the news reports.Arvinder Pal Singh, a rice exporter, said the notification for reducing the MEP had not been issued.
He pointed out that the quality of crop was better this season.Information gathered from the Mandi Board shows that basmati was being purchased in 19 districts.Jaswant Singh, Director, Agriculture Department, said, reduced usage of pesticides was a major factor behind the basmati crop fetching higher price.“A total of 5.148 lakh metric tonnes of basmati has arrived in mandis to date this year as compared to 4.71 lakh metric tonnes last year. A ban on use of 10 pesticides ensured minimal residue limit in accordance with global food safety norms,” he said.“The department also employed kisan mitras whose job was to ensure better agriculture practices and increase the area under basmati,” he said.
This article has been republished from The Tribune