For boosting exports of quality production of aromatic and long grain Basmati rice, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)’ arm Basmati Export Development Foundation (BEDF) has taken innovative steps to sensitize farmers involved in the cultivation of Basmati rice in the key growing regions about adoption of good agricultural practices.
As part of the initiatives, BEDF in collaboration with the rice exporters associations of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Delhi, state agriculture universities and state agriculture departments, organised 75 awareness and training programmes to encourage farmers for growing high-quality Basmati rice in the seven states. BEDF is also involved as technical partner for different FPOs, exporter associations, etc in Basmati rice growing states.
The BEDF launched awareness-cum-training workshop on July 16, 2021 from Jahangirpur village, Gautam Budh Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh as a part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, which is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence. The awareness campaigns were organised for farmers focussing on the themes of ‘judicious use of pesticides and adoption of good agricultural practices’.
Another objective of the awareness drives were to train the farmers for seed production to resolve the issues of non-availability of seeds of better quality.
At the workshop, farmers were trained about different methods to identify insect-pests and diseases of basmati rice and their management. The issues like problems in basmati export and expectations of rice industry were also brought into the notice of growers and exporters during the awareness drive during the entire basmati growing season of 2021.
APEDA is given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag as the sole custodian of basmati rice grown in the Indo-Gangetic plains. Under the GI certification issued in February, 2016, 77 districts of seven states- Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir are referred to as basmati rice growing region.
During the awareness drive by BEDF, scientists explained to farmers and exporters about the pesticide residue problem in export of basmati rice and transfer of production technology including nursery raising, integrated nutrient and water management in local languages.
A huge number of farmers, exporters, FPOs, etc turned out to learn about the judicious use of pesticides and adoption of good agricultural practices at the workshops that were organised at 75 different locations in seven states.
In Punjab, 25 awareness and training programmes were organised, followed by 21 in Uttar Pradesh, 17 in Haryana, 05 in Uttarakhand, 03 in Jammu & Kashmir and 02 each in Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.
Through the awareness creation programme, farmers were informed that the Basmati rice cultivation is an Indian tradition and it is a collective responsibility to maintain this tradition as there is huge demand for Basmati rice in the global market. The farmers have been requested to get themselves registered on basmati.net through the State Agriculture Department.
APEDA through BEDF has been assisting the state governments in promotion of basmati rice cultivation.
APEDA has also suggested usage of certified seeds to maintain the quality of the products by farmers along with scientific use of chemical fertilizer for ensure quality production of basmati rice which would further give a boost to Basmati rice exports from the country.
India exported 4.63 million tons of Basmati rice valued at Rs 29,849 crore ($ US 4019 million) in 2020-21. The key destinations for India’s basmati rice include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen Republic, United Arab Emirates and European Union countries.
APEDA has been promoting rice exports through collaborations with various stakeholders in the value chains. The government had set up the Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF), under the aegis of the APEDA. REPF has representatives from rice industry, exporters, officials from APEDA, ministry of commerce and directors of agriculture from major rice producing states, including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.