Sunday, March 10, 2013



The Padma Shri Awardee and a renowned Basmati Connoisseur, Dr V.P. Singh, Ex-Principal Scientist, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, has hailed the newly developed PAU basmati variety "Punjab Basmati 3." Dr Singh, who developed Pusa Basmati 1 and Pusa 1121 varieties of basmati rice, in his congratulatory message to the PAU Vice Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, said that this variety holds a great potential to capture the domestic and international market.

According to Dr S.S. Gosal, Director of Research, PAU, the variety "Punjab Basmati 3" is an improved version of Basmati 386, possessing excellent cooking and eating quality characteristics. Being a traditional tall, Basmati 386 was prone to lodging, susceptible to bacterial blight (BB) and yielded on an average 2.3 tonnes of paddy per hectare, he pointed out. The research was initiated vigorously to improve Basmati 386 through Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) for dwarfing and bacterial blight resistance by pyramiding two BB resistance genes (xa13 and Xa21). As a result of these efforts, the new variety "Punjab Basmati 3" was developed, highlighted Dr Gosal. The variety has been evaluated under All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Programme (AICRIP), during Kharif 2010, in the IVT-BT trials. Based on physio-chemical and panel tests, the "Punjab Basmati 3" was found to be top ranking, he said. It possesses extra-long slender (8.8 mm rice) and clear translucent grains with excellent cooking and eating quality characteristics with a strong aroma. Its height is about 105 cm which is nearly 50-60 cm less than Basmati 386, and matures in 139 days after seeding, informed Dr Gosal. Its average paddy yield is 4.0 t/ha. It is resistant to all the 10 presently prevalent pathotypes of bacterial blight pathogen in the Punjab state. The short stature results in reduced straw production and resistance to lodging, he said.

On the account of its short height, disease resistance and higher yield will prove an excellent replacement for the traditional tall varieties like Basmati 386/Pakistani basmati/Taroari basmati and will help all the stakeholders, he highlighted. This assumes greater significance in the context of British Prime Minister, David Cameron's recent visit to Punjab, during which he visited a rice mill and oversaw the signing of an MoU between Amar Singh Chawal Wala and UK-based East End Foods for exporting about 12,000 tonnes of basmati, annually. This variety will give a big fillip to the basmati cultivation in traditional basmati growing areas and will help in regaining the European markets, observed Dr Gosal. The PAU has produced sufficient quantity of seed of this variety which is being sold to the farmers during the Kisan Melas, being held in the month of March, he added.
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