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Basmati rices have been traditionally cultivated in northern India, confined mainly to Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and adjoining districts of Rajasthan. It is said that Basmati grows best and produces best quality grains under warm, humid, valley like conditions. Experience has also shown that when true Basmati varieties are cultivated outside these traditional Basmati areas, the grains do not have the same quality. During vegetative period high humidity (70 to 80%) and a temperature ranges of 25 to 35°C are favourable. From flowering onwards bright and clear sunny day with a temperature range of 25 to 32°C, comparatively cooler night (20 to 25°C) moderate humidity and gentle wind velocity at the time of flowering and maturity are considered necessary for proper grain and aroma development. The area under Basmati rice cultivation in India is 1 M ha and in Pakistan is 0.75 M ha. In India highest area under Basmati rice is in Uttar Pradesh (0.4 M ha) followed by Haryana (0.25 M ha), Uttranchal (0.10 M ha), Punjab (0.10 M ha), Jammu & Kashmir (0.05 M ha) and Rajasthan (0.05 M ha) documented by Sharma and Nayak (2005).
Basmati rice has been in cultivation for generations in North Western India confined mainly to Punjab, Haryana, Western U.P. and adjoining district of Rajasthan.
Introduction of high yielding varieties further contributed to the reduction in acreage during the early seventies. However, with the establishment of modern mills in the early eighties and on increase in the export demand, there has been continuous increase in the area under Basmati rice cultivation. At present, India produces about 1.2 Mt (rough rice basis) with an average of 1.5 to 1.8 t ha-1 from 0.7 to 0.8 M ha which is 1.6 to 1.9 per cent as compared to the area under non-Basmati rice.
Mohammad Shamim, K.K. Singh, B.Gangwar, Sunil Kumar and Vinay Prasad Mandal
Project Directorate for Farming Systems Research, Modipuram-250110
Dr. Mohammad Shamim, Project Directorate for Farming Systems Research, Modipuram-250110