The much hyped and talked about aromatic variety of rice, Mushk Budji has turned out to be a non-started for the farmers in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Many farmers from Koil, Tahab and Wahibugh villages, who had sowed this traditional variety of rice, in their paddy fields on trail basis have suffered losses after this crop failed to ripen and yield any produce.
A group of farmers from Koil village said that they had sowed Mushk Budji on a small scale in their paddy fields with a curiosity to grow it on large scale from next season after demonstrations.
However, they said that the crop failed to grow. “It failed to mature due to blast disease after the blossoming stage,” they said.
Abdul Rashid Wani, an aged resident of Koil village said that he brought around 10 kilograms of Musk Budji seeds from a private person at the rate of rupees 500 per kilogram and sowed it in his nursery.
“I heard about this aromatic variety from radio and it aroused my curiosity to take it on a trial before adopting it on a large scale,” Wani said, adding that they were happy after the variety showed a healthy growth in their nursery.
“Once it was planted on trail basis in the field we were disheartened after this variety was infected by blast,” Wani said, adding the spikes withered prior to ripening.
Wakeel Ahmad Bhat, another farmer from Koil village, said that he became a laughing stock in the village after his trail with Mushk Budji turned into a failure.
“I thank my stars that I have grown it on a small patch of land otherwise, I would have been ruined,” he said.
Another farmer from Shith Paripora village, Bashir Ahmad Thoker had grown this aromatic variety of traditional rice on five kanals of land. The variety failed to yield any produce.
“The crop withered due blast,” villagers said. The affected farmer had to run from pillar to post for compensation but to no avail. Other farmers from Wahibugh and Tahab villages have similar complains.
Notably, Mushk Budji is a traditional aromatic variety known as heritage rice of Kashmir which was earlier extinct and has now been revived by the efforts of the SKUAST and many farmers in Sagam belt of Kokernag area, after it was grown commercially.
Chief agricultural officer for Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dhobi, said that the variety is not feasible for Pulwama district because the area has hot and humid climatic conditions.
The variety grows in cold temperate areas where temperature doesn’t go beyond 25 degree Celsius, he said, adding that it becomes prone to blast in humid areas.
“We have not recommended this variety to farmers,” he said, adding it grows well in cold temperate areas like Sagam belt of Kokernag.