The premium aromatic variety Gobindo Bhog
rice is attracting more farmers in West Bengal. More farmers are taking up its
cultivation since its gives higher productivity and remuneration. Some 600 farmers have sown the rice for the
first time this crop season (August-November). This has increased the number of
farmers opting for the aromatic rice to over 1,800.
The Bidhan Chandra Kishi Viswavidyalaya
(BCKV), through a programme, launched since 2009, has extended cultivation of
the rice to new areas and promoted it among a larger number of farmers.
“Until the last (2012) crop year, 1,261
farmers were included for adoption of cultivation of the variety on a total
area of around 450 acres (1,326 bighas) across six districts of South Bengal,”
Prasanta Kumar Biswas, one of the professors, who are involved in the
initiative, told reporters.
According to a study by the BCKV, 80 per
cent of the rice produced is consumed locally, while 20 per cent is exported.
In fact, more can be exported if production increases in view of farmers being
unable to meet rising demand.
The area under cultivation for this variety
is expected to go up further by over 50 per cent this crop year compared with
last year, Biswas said. The agricultural university also plans to
reach out to farmers in the backward regions of Purulia and West Midnapore
Having started the programme with less than
100 farmers in Nadia district in 2009, BCKV has brought in 1,800 farmers across
18 blocks of the South Bengal districts of Murshidabad, Burdwan, Hooghly,
Nadia, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. The area under cultivation has increased
10-fold in 2012 from a mere 45 acres four years ago.
Gopinath Mukherjee, a farmer in
Murshidabad, is one who has gained from growing the aromatic variety in terms
of price and yield. “There has been a 30 per cent increase in
the market price of Gobindo Bhog since 2009,” he said. Paddy productivity of this premium variety
has gone up by more than 40 per cent to about 1.3 tonnes an acre, he said. Currently, this variety fetches a price of Rs
2,800-3,000 for a 60-kg bag.