Islamabad: Pakistani growers are set to get hybrid seeds of the famous Basmati rice soon with the help of China, a prominent rice grower said.
Shahzad Ali Malik, Chief Executive Officer of Guard Agri and Guard Group of Companies, maintained the Chinese scientists will help introduce hybrid basmati varieties with the same advantageous traits but with better per acre yield.
“Growers of the basmati rice are likely to get the much-awaited hybrid seeds, which are capable of doubling the yield, in the next two to three years,” Malik said in a statement.
He mentioned that the Guard Agricultural Research and Services (Guard Agri) has already started field trials for its ‘hybrid basmati’ seed to provide disease-resistant, long-grain, non-sticky aromatic traditional variety with a higher per acre yield to paddy growers of Punjab.
“Guard has sown over 50 acres of hybrid basmati in the core basmati growing districts of Narowal, Gujranwala and Hafizabad,” he added.
Malik informed that his company’s researchers had started working in collaboration with the Chinese scientists to introduce hybrid basmati varieties with the same traits. “We have developed one seed after seven years of research and the same was put on trial a year ago,” he remarked.
He elaborated: “On completion of a two-year field trial, the results will be placed before the variety evaluation committee (VEC) working under the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) for getting recommendations for the commercial marketing of the hybrid basmati seed.”
In just two years after completion of the process, he underscored, the hybrid seed would be made available to the growers for cultivation.
Sharing results of a one-year trial, he underlined that an extra-long grain hybrid variety with average grain length of 8.2 mm had given more than 70 maunds/acre yield (maund + 40 kilograms).
“The present non-hybrid basmati varieties are not producing more than 35 maunds to 40 maunds/acre, posing a threat of invasion by the hybrid coarse rice in terms of the basmati areas due to higher yield,” Malik explained.