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BW Businessworld

Rise Of The Rice Lobby

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While the sugar lobby is getting stronger in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Maharastra, the rice lobby seems to be influential in Punjab, which has just floated the Basmati Development Board, a first in India.

The new development follows close on the heels of the state embarrassing the central government by granting the status of Basmati to Pusa 1121, as demanded by the rice lobby last year, forcing the central government to tow the line.

In a communication to the media, the Punjab chief minister's office said the government would be helping farmers and millers to develop Basmati seed variants. The chief minister is keen to promote this variant of rice globally through this board.

Punjab is a major contributor to India's Rs 13,000-crore rice export market. The total area under Basmati cultivation in the state has gone up to 550,000 hectares from 350,000 hectares last year.



Gold prices have broken all records and touched an all-time high of $1,058 an ounce on 7 October on the London Bullion Market. Analysts say the upheaval has primarily been driven by the weakening dollar. Perhaps those who were planning to buy the yellow metal in the festive season, might have to opt for more austere celebrations.

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(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 19-10-2009)

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magazine agriculture anilesh s mahajan rice sugar