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Need stressed to develop hybrid basmati

pak rice

Basmati Rice Photo: File

LAHORE: Rice Research and Development Board chairman Shahzad Ali Malik has stressed the need for developing hybrid basmati at the earliest for checking invasion of hybrid coarse varieties.

“Being head of a seed company, which has the honour of introducing non-basmati hybrid in the country, I should favour non-basmati hybrid rice even in the core basmati areas of Punjab. But at the same time, I am a strong supporter of saving our basmati, our heritage and assets. Being an exporter of basmati, we have announced from the platform of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (Reap) a reward of Rs10 million for the breeder or scientists who would develop a high yielding basmati hybrid variety,” Malik said, while speaking at the annual sales conference of the Guard Agriculture Research and Services.

“Introduction of hybrid coarse varieties enabled growers to get 110-120 maunds/acre. Hybrid played a strong role in poverty alleviation and enhancing non-basmati exports of Pakistan. Now, the farmers are growing coarse varieties in the core basmati area,” he said, adding that there was a need to make efforts to save traditional basmati.

Guard was already working on developing basmati hybrids for the last seven to eight years, he added.

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