IARI organises Kisan Sampark Yatra to get farmers’ feedback on new basmati varieties

IARI organises Kisan Sampark Yatra to get farmers’ feedback on new basmati varieties
IARI pioneered research to incorporate resistance to two diseases through the incorporation of genes governing resistance to bacterial blight and blast diseases in the genetic background of the three major varieties

The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) organised a ‘Kisan Sampark Yatra’ during September 27-29 in the rice-growing region of Haryana and Punjab to obtain farmers’ feedback on the three newly released IARI Basmati varieties. The IARI had distributed one kg per acre seeds of the newly developed disease-resistant basmati rice to farmers during the Krishi Vigyan Mela held at Pusa, New Delhi earlier this year for cultivation. Briefing the media on IARI Kisan Sampark Yatra on Friday, Dr. AK Singh, Director, IARI said farmers were advised not to sell the produce of these seeds in the market, instead provide it to other farmers so that the new varieties could multiply and be grown in larger volumes.

Basmati rice is an export commodity with annual forex earning of Rs. 25,053 crores during 2021-22. Pusa Basmati rice varieties namely, Pusa Basmati 1121, Pusa Basmati 1509 and Pusa Basmati 6 occupy more than 90% per cent of the area under basmati rice cultivation in GI area of basmati rice in India and account for more than 90 per cent of the basmati rice exports from India. Bacterial blight and blast are the most devastating diseases in basmati rice which cause significant yield losses as well as affect the basmati grain and cooking quality. Conventionally, these diseases are managed by the use of chemicals like streptocyclin and tricyclazole. However, there have been concerns raised by the importing nations, especially from the European Union about the use of some chemicals in basmati rice, and in some cases rejection of basmati rice consignments from the importers. In recent years, European Union has reduced the MRL (residue limit) of tricyclazole (one of the most commonly used fungicides in managing neck blast disease) to 0.01ppm. Therefore, there was an urgent need to address this issue in order to maintain the leading position in the international trade of basmati rice.

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“IARI, New Delhi, a premier institute under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), pioneered the research to incorporate resistance to the two diseases through the incorporation of genes governing resistance to bacterial blight and blast diseases in the genetic background of the three major varieties, Pusa Basmati 1121, Pusa Basmati 1509 and Pusa Basmati 6 through molecular marker-assisted breeding. Through concerted research, ICAR-IARI developed an improved version of these three basmati rice varieties with inbuilt resistance to bacterial blight and blast diseases with the aid of molecular marker-assisted breeding resulting in the development and release of Pusa Basmati 1847, Pusa Basmati 1885 and Pusa Basmati 1886 in 2021. The three improved basmati rice varieties with resistance to both bacterial blight and blast diseases, would pave the way for sustaining India’s leadership in basmati rice exports across the world,” said Dr. AK Singh after the commencement of IARI Kisan Sampark Yatra.

Brief of each of these varieties

Pusa Basmati 1847 is an improvement of the popular basmati rice variety, Pusa Basmati 1509 with inbuilt resistance to bacterial blight and blast disease developed through molecular marker-assisted breeding. This variety possesses two genes each for bacterial blight resistance namely, xa13 and Xa21; and blast resistance namely, Pi54 and Pi2. It is an early maturing and semi-dwarf basmati rice variety with an average yield of 5.7 tonnes per hectare. This variety was released for commercial cultivation in 2021. Pusa Basmati 1847 is highly resistant to blast disease (susceptibility index of 2.5) as compared to Pusa Basmati 1509, which is highly susceptible (susceptibility index of 7.0). It also exhibits a highly resistant reaction against bacterial blight disease (susceptibility index of 3.0) as compared to Pusa Basmati 1509, which is highly susceptible (susceptibility index of 7.0).

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Pusa Basmati 1885 is an improved version of Pusa Basmati 1121 with inbuilt resistance to bacterial blight and blast diseases. This variety has been developed through molecular marker-assisted breeding incorporation of two genes each for bacterial blight resistance namely, xa13 and Xa21; and blast resistance genes Pi2 and Pi54. It has semi-tall plant stature with extra-long slender grains and cooking quality similar to Pusa Basmati 1121. It is a medium-duration basmati rice variety with seed-to-seed maturity of 135 days with an average yield of 4.68 tonnes per hectare. Pusa Basmati 1885 is highly resistant to blast disease with a susceptibility index of 2.3 as compared to Pusa Basmati 1121, which is highly susceptible (susceptibility index of 7.3). It also exhibits a highly resistant reaction against bacterial blight disease (susceptibility index of 3.3) as compared to Pusa Basmati 1121 which is highly susceptible.

Pusa Basmati 1886 is an improved version of the popular basmati rice variety, Pusa Basmati 6, possessing two genes for bacterial blight resistance xa13 and Xa21; and two genes for blast resistance, Pi54 and Pi2, developed through molecular marker-assisted breeding. It has a seed-to-seed maturity of 145 days with an average yield of 4.49 tonnes per hectare. Pusa Basmati 1886 is highly resistant to blast disease (susceptibility index of 2.5) as compared with Pusa Basmati 6, which is highly susceptible (susceptibility index of 8.5). Further, it also exhibits very high resistance against bacterial blight (susceptibility index of 3.3) as compared to the highly susceptible reaction exhibited by Pusa Basmati 6 (susceptibility index of 7.3).

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