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62% DIP IN DOON BASMATI ACREAGE OVER A 5-YEAR PERIOD

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Renowned for its taste and flavor(aroma), the Dehradun basmati rice is not now favorable for the cultivators. The cultivation is drastically reduced by up to 62% within Doon Valley in a span of five years. This has come out in a report of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board recently.

The study was conducted between 2018 to 2022. As per the report, in 2018 the Dehradun Basmati was cultivated in 410.1 hectares by nearly 680 farmers which has come down to 157.8 hectares by 517 farmers in year 2022. The study also reveals that other varieties also plummeted from 420.3 hectares by 560 farmers to 180.7 hectares by the year 2022. The agriculture scientist opined that cultivation is affected by the increase in summer temperatures, poor soil fertility, reduced use of farmyard manure, water scarcity for irrigation, changing rain patterns, and extensive use of chemical fertilizers.

The grain stands out among the approximately 30 basmati varietals prevalent in India due to its unique flavor, which is reminiscent of sandalwood and flowers with a hint of sweetness.

Farmers cultivating the grain still cherished the non-wash and non-glutinous characteristics. The basmati is known for its distinctive flavor mixed with flowers, sandalwood, and slight sweetness. The areas which were used to be known as main cultivation fields have now been converted into concrete jungles. The unplanned development has hampered the cultivation of Dehradun basmati.

The report says that the decline of cultivation started in 1997 when the main cultivation fields of Seolakalan, Brahamanwalaa, Seola Khurd, and Pitthuwala started shrinking giving way to unplanned development.
Earlier these areas were the main areas for cultivation. The most promising factor is that some entrepreneurs have started taking an interest in the cultivation of Dehradun basmati, especially organic Dehradun basmati.

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