Iranian ban on Punjab Basmati rice perturbs farmers

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Chandigarh, Sep. 27 (ANI): Paddy farmers in Punjab are perturbed following Iran declaring an embargo on import of the aromatic Indian Basmati rice.

A few days back, a government laboratory in Iran reportedly detected traces of arsenic, cadmium and lead in the rice imported from Punjab.

In fact, the farmers had increased the area under Basmati cultivation from 3.75 lakh hectares to 6.5 lakh hectares this year consequent to good price availed for the crop in the previous year.

"We got a good price for 1121 variety last year. So, we doubled the area in which we sow the crop. Last year we had sown Basmati on five acres of land but this year we did sow in 10 acres of land. But now Iran has refused to procure Basmati.

"So we are now worried as our crop will remain in the wholesale market. We request government to find a solution for this problem," said Jaypal Singh, a farmer.

Now the farmers fear that their crop will remain in the granaries of Mandi with no buyers.

The prices of 1121 Basmati have been most affected, in which unwanted metal content was said to be quite high.

The price for a kilogram has come down from 110 to 85 rupees.

The price of Sela rice has fallen from 75 to 60 rupees. Basmati rice is being traded at rupees 45 per kilogram in the 'Satta' market.

Meanwhile, authorities have asked farmers not to sow Basmati in areas that have high constituents of heavy metals.

"There are many areas in Punjab where water and soil has concentration of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and lead. If we grow a crop there, the plants will have some constituents of them. So, farmers should try not to sow crop in such areas," said Dr. B L Bhardwaj, Director, Centre of Advanced Studies, Agriculture Department, Punjab. (ANI)

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