SRINAGAR, Feb 25: Stating that the Government is keen on reviving all the traditional crops of the State, Minister for Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura today said that efforts are underway to restore Zag and Kamad varieties of rice in Kashmir Valley.
The Minister said this at a function here to inaugurate sale of the traditional Mushk Budji variety of rice. The sale is being jointly organized by the Department of Agriculture, Kashmir and Agro Industries Development Corporation (AIDC).
Legislator Abdul Rahim Rather, Director Agriculture Kashmir, Showkat Ahmad, Director Command Area Kashmir Itrat Hussain, Director (Research) SKUAST, Mohammad Yousuf Zargar, and other senior officers of the department and the SKUAST were present on the occasion.
On the occasion, 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 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.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister 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.
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 the Mushk Budji will be 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.
Hanjura further stated that the State and Central Governments are keen on improving the status of farmers with schemes like the Fasal Bhima Yojana introduced to cover losses to farmers from disasters and other calamities.
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.