Basmati is famous as "Queen of Fragrance." The grain has been cultivated at the base of Himalayan range in India and Pakistan for thousands of years, in the areas where the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers flow. Basmati originated in Punjab region of undivided India which now spans areas of both India and Pakistan. This explains why it’s only grown in these two countries and viewed as their cultural heritage. Top quality basmati is primarily grown in the Karnal, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Ambala and Kalar regions. A rice of the connoisseurs, Basmati is non-glutinous and has a fine, smooth and silky texture. The rice has been favored by emperors and praised by poets for hundreds of years. In the older times, Basmati could only be grown in the special fields for the kings and was always treasured and guarded by nobles. Ordinary people were not allowed in the vicinity of the fields and taking Basmati grain was a punishable offence.
The supremacy of Basmati over other varieties is predominantly due to its unique and delicately balanced combination of a number of characteristics such as superfine (long slender) kernels, exquisite aroma, sweet taste, soft texture and delicate curvature, all of which makes it excellent for cooking. Its nut-like flavor and aroma is unique in the world. Like all naturally beautiful products Basmati Rice cannot be artificially created. It is Mother Nature (the soil and climatic conditions of the Himalayan foothills) that itself provides for its unique aroma and taste. There is no surprise that Basmati world over draws the highest premium because of its special characteristics. So it is said that - "Basmati is to rice what Champagne is to wine and Scotch is to whisky". With the passage of time, several varieties of Aromatic Rice have been developed but the mystique of Basmati remains eternal.
Gift to India by Nature
Basmati, the highly aromatic rice is nature's gift to the Indian sub-continent. Farmers in the northern parts of the country, at the foot of the Himalayan mountain ranges have been growing this scented rice for centuries. Basmati grown in India, they say, is as great as the land and as old as the civilization itself. The tropical climate and soil prevailing at the foothills of the Himalayas is perfect for Basmati rice cultivation. Basmati from India is a perfect treat for the connoisseurs of sumptuous food, all over the world!
Basmati has been cultivated in the Indian sub-continent for ages and is still grown under completely natural conditions. However, present Indian companies who are growing, processing and exporting Basmati are at par with the best in the world and are using the State of the Art technology in their Mills. The demands and needs of the modern day consumers are kept in mind as every grain of rice, that is exported, follow pre-defined process under close supervision of experts who ensure that only the best grain is brought to you.
Cooking with Basmati is real fun as the ingredient in itself is a delicacy. Initially it was only eaten by the ethnic population, Basmati is now finding favors with consumers from all over the world and various studies show that the market for Basmati has been growing at the rate of 20% per annum. Basmati is also fast becoming a part of Chefs world over are using Basmati to transform simple dishes into delicacies ranging from indulgent ethnic Biryani to Seafood Pulaos for the health conscious.
Basmati is typically characterized by its superfine kernels, exquisite aroma, great taste, silky texture, delicate curvature and linear kernel elongation. The poets for many countries finds mention in texts from the sixteen century onwards. Basmati continuously finds mention in texts from the 16th century onwards. The aroma of Basmati is unique and imparts its novel characteristic that is unmatched by any other grain elsewhere in the world.
BASMATI FARMING PRACTICES AT A GLANCE
Farmers procure seeds from the trusted sources – government agencies, agricultural universities and Research centers
Seed required for 1 acre of the cultivation is 5-8kg approximately
Treatment of Seed
1kg salt is diluted in 10 litres of water to prepare solution for treatment of the seed
After this 8 to 10 kg of seeds poured in this solution, in this way quality seeds are drowned within the solution and seeds which float on the upper surface are thrown as waste
The left seeds are washed with the water for 3 to 4 times so that the salt is completely washed out
The seeds, then are kept in the solution of 10 litres of water, 5 grams Emison and 2.5 grams of Agromycin or 1 gram of streptomycin for 24 hours
After this the seeds are spread in a small area with wet sacks on the seeds to germinate and sacks are continuously watered or regular intervals
To prepare a Nursery for a desired area for cultivation of Basmati Paddy, the sprouted seeds in the proportionate quantity are sprinkled within ½ or 1 acre or even bigger area as per the requirement and are left for 30 to 40 days’ time before the transplantation to the area of Cultivation.
Preparation by mechanical mans for easy transplanting.
Ideal Time of Transplantation – 1st fortnight of July.
Transplantation of seeds 25 to 30 days, 1 to 2 seeds per hill
32 seeds per meter
Distance between the two plants should be 6 inches or 15 cms
Distance between the rows 9 inches or 20 cms
To strengthen the roots, the water is filled within the field for a span of 6 to 10 days to a height of 4-5 cms
During the II or III week of August weeds are cleared
During the month of August there is a chance of outbreak of diseases like Blast and Brown Spot in the crop
If the symptoms of the diseases are seen, it should be treated during September
Basmati varieties require low to moderate fertilizer quantity, specially nitrogen to avoid excessive vegetative growth
Timely & proper, but low quantity of water during specific growth period is required.
Cutting of flag leaf at 10 cm from “Upper most leaf collar” to reduce the plant height and prevent it from lodging without affecting the yield.
Removal of water from the field 15 days prior to harvesting is mandatory to get higher yield and good quality.
Harvesting & Threshing
Manual harvesting of golden color crop at 20% moisture at 35 days after 50% flowering to get maximum grain yield & head rice recovery. Every step is carefully undertaken to help produce the finest & highest quality Basmati.