Cultivation of basmati rice need not remain confined to the North, and it can be grown in Andhra Pradesh, too, said Mr P.S.R. Das, General Secretary of the Krishna district unit of Kisan Service Organisation.

He said the attempt to grow the rice in Krishna district began at Gudivada, a noted paddy-growing belt, and the yields and the aroma were good. “We brought breeder seed from JN Krishi Vidyalaya, Jabalpur, and there was also a buy-back arrangement with a local rice miller. The crop was grown on 270 acres during the last kharif season. Farmers could get Rs 1,200 per bag (of 75 kg) as against Rs 850-900 per bag for the local varieties of rice. The yield was in the range of 20-25 bags per acre,” he explained.

Mr Das said the cost of cultivation was around Rs 10,000 an acre, much less than that for the paddy varieties grown here. He said paddy farmers in the State should switch over to the cultivation of long grains. They should strive for value-addition and maximising returns. Basmati cultivation, he believed, would be of great help to farmers in the area.

He said his organisation was trying to educate local farmers and promote basmati cultivation in the area.