Concerns Over Pakistan’s Unauthorized Cultivation of Indian Basmati Rice Varieties       

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March 27, 2024

Concerns Over Pakistan’s Unauthorized Cultivation of Indian Basmati Rice Varieties       


  • Recent reports have surfaced regarding the unauthorized cultivation of improved basmati rice varieties developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in Pakistan. This issue has raised significant concerns among Indian agricultural scientists and industry stakeholders, prompting discussions on the potential impact and necessary actions to address the situation.

India’s Basmati Rice Exports Performance:

  • Despite a downturn in overall merchandise and agricultural produce exports, India’s basmati rice exports have shown remarkable growth, with a 20.2% increase in dollar value and a 12.3% rise in quantity terms. This surge is particularly noteworthy as it contrasts with the decline in non-basmati rice exports, which have been impacted by government restrictions.

The ‘Neighbourhood Threat’:

  • The primary concern revolves around the alleged “seed piracy” and cultivation of IARI’s high-yielding basmati rice varieties in Pakistan. These varieties, known as Pusa Basmati (PB), constitute a significant portion of India’s basmati exports and are renowned for their superior quality and yield.

Special Features of IARI-Bred Varieties:

  • Compared to traditional basmati varieties, IARI-bred varieties offer higher yields and shorter maturity periods, making them highly desirable. These varieties, such as PB-1, PB-1121, PB-6, and PB-1509, have been developed through rigorous research and breeding efforts, incorporating traits for improved grain quality and disease resistance.

Pakistani Adoption of IARI Varieties:

  • Reports indicate that Pakistani seed companies have adopted and marketed IARI varieties under different names, such as PK-1121 Aromatic and Kissan Basmati. Recent promotional materials and videos from Pakistan showcase the cultivation of IARI varieties, including those released as recently as PB-1847, PB-1885, and PB-1886, raising concerns among Indian authorities.

Concerns and Implications:

  • While Pakistan’s basmati exports have not surpassed India’s, the unauthorized cultivation of IARI varieties poses several challenges. It threatens India’s market leadership in key regions and could lead to trade disputes related to intellectual property rights violations.

Recommended Actions for India:

  • India has legal frameworks in place, such as the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act and the Seeds Act, to protect the rights of breeders and regulate seed cultivation. India can leverage these frameworks to address the unauthorized cultivation of IARI varieties in Pakistan through bilateral discussions and engagement with international trade bodies like the World Trade Organization.


  • The unauthorized cultivation of Indian basmati rice varieties in Pakistan raises significant concerns for India’s agricultural sector and export market. Addressing this issue requires a concerted effort to uphold intellectual property rights and ensure compliance with regulatory frameworks governing seed cultivation and trade.

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Concerns Over Pakistan’s Unauthorized Cultivation of Indian Basmati Rice Varieties | Vaid ICS Institute