Bareilly: At a time when heavy rain has extensively damaged standing crops in many parts of northern India, dashing farmers’ hope for a bumper crop, a farmer at Tigra village in Bareilly has a reason to smile. He has developed a variety of Basmati rice through organic farming which can withstand heavy showers as its roots are strong and do not wilt to gusts of strong winds accompanying rain. Besides, the crop is pest-proof.
Known as ‘Jhumka Basmati’, the new variety of Basmati rice has been developed by a Bareilly-based farmer, Anil Sawhney, who has been working on the crop since 2010. “I have grown Jhumka Basmati variety of rice through organic farming and not a single item from outside the farm has been used during the process. It has been cultivated using the traditional method of farming and even the taste of rice is delicious,” he said.
The Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) of Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) has applied for the patent of Jhumka Basmati rice.
Sawhney said after Partition of the country, his great-grandfather had brought seeds from his native Maba village in Kaimanpur in Pakistan’s Punjab. These were preserved by his family. Natural seeds and green manure prepared at the farm have been used in the cultivation of Jhumka Basmati crop.
Explaining how his crop can withstand heavy rain, Sawhney said, “When farmers use chemicals and fertilizers, they remain in the upper layer of the soil and make it difficult for roots to penetrate deeper in the soil. Besides, the chemical manures and growth regulators like steroids for better yield make the root weaker in the soil.
“However, we use organic green manure for the cultivation of the crop which provides a high quantity of elements like magnesium for making the roots stronger. Besides, the organically grown seed, which inherit rich nutrition level, makes the stem and root stronger.”
The Jhumka Basmati rice can not only withstand heavy rain but also the crop can withstand attacks by pests. “This variety of Basmati rice remains protected from pests,” he claimed. The entire cycle for the cultivation of this crop is 110 days. The yield of Jhumka Basmati rice is 14 quintal per acre but the normal yield of other variant of Basmati rice produced using chemicals is 16 quintal per acre.
The Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) of Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) has applied for the patent of Jhumka Basmati rice. “We always endorse innovative varieties of farmers and have applied for the patent registration of Jhumka Basmati rice under Plant Protection Varieties and Farmer Right Act (PPVFRA),” said Hema Tripathi, principal scientist and programme coordinator, KVK.
After the formalities of patent are completed, it will be showcased for other farmers of the region so that they can follow it. “We will show other farmers how they can sow and grow it once patent formalities are completed. We will not charge royalty from other farmers,” said Sawhney who is one of the 17 farmers who will be felicitated in ‘Northern Zone Regional Agricultural Fair’ of IVRI beginning from Tuesday.
Director of IVRI Dr RK Singh said it is the first time that eight states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himanchal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, will participate at the four-day fair. At the fair, livestock owners, farmers, agri-business, industry entrepreneurs, researchers and students will share their experiences on technologies available in the field of agriculture and animal husbandry. They will also discuss solutions to the problems pertaining to livestock, agriculture and allied fields.