Srinagar: South Kashmir’s Sagam belt produced 6029 quintals of the Mushk Budji rice last year, an official spokesman said. The revelations came at an official function in which the aromatic rice was put on sale at a discount. Agriculture Minister presided over the function.
The spokesman said that of the 6029 quintals, the agriculture department procured some 1350 quintals, at Rs 8000 per quintals. This was shifted to the J&K to Agro Industries Development Corporation (AIDC) for marketing.
On the occasion of AIDC sales of the fragrant rice, about 13 quintals of the aromatic rice in 1, 2, 5 and 10 kg bags were made available for sale at a discounted price of Rs 160 per kg, while as the aromatic rice will be available at Rs 180 in the market.
The event, officials said, was the culmination of efforts over the course of about a decade, during which the “scientists” isolated and produced pure lines of the Mushk Budji crop. During the period the Department of Agriculture Kashmir, endeavoured to cover an area of 125 hectares (or 2500 kanals) at Sagam (Kokernag) by providing seeds and required fertilizers free of cost to 420 farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, Agriculture Minister Ghulam Nabi Hanjura appreciated the efforts of the Department of Agriculture Kashmir and SKUAST for reviving the Mushk Budji crop and controlling the blast disease that the crop gets quite easily.
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The Minister said there is lack of awareness about this variety among the consumers and that it was important that the Government got involved in its marketing. He said he was thankful to the Chief Minister for releasing Rs one crore for procurement and marketing of the aromatic rice, besides declaring Sagam as a Model Village for Mushk Budji. The rice is being made available at tourist reception centres, airports, hotels and the like to promote it and attract tourists to buy it. He also said a processing unit will be made available at Sagam soon.
Some 200 farmers participated in the event, wherein 10 progressive farmers of the Sagam village were given complementary certificates for preserving and producing the Mushk Budji variety. The farmers involved in its production have already been paid a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh.