Srinagar: For the record, `Brand Kashmir’ is going places.After bats, Kashmir’s special aromatic rice ‘Mushkibudji’ is set to hit Gulf markets.`Mushkibudji’, an indigenous rice variety of Kashmir was grown on a large scale some three decades back.
However, its cultivation took a back seat when exotic varieties, which were giving more returns to farmers, were introduced in Kashmir.
Come 2007, the agriculture department started reviving `Muskhibudji’ cultivation given its demand in the middle east and other countries.
As the production has increased to a large extent, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to tap the foreign market and export it to the middle east.
“We have sent rice samples to UAE‘s Aljazeera group. This group has a presence in almost all countries including Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Muscat.
Soon Mushkibudji will be exported to Dubai,” Director agriculture department Chaudhary Mohammad Iqbal told The Kashmir Monitor.
Chaudhary Iqbal said the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is currently marketing the rice in the Gulf.
“After approval, we will sign MoU with the company. Since Aljazeera has sway over UAE markets, we are hopeful that Mushkibudji will become a popular brand,” he said. An official said that farmers now prefer cultivating Mushkibudji given its export value“We have a village in south Kashmir where farmers have entirely shifted from exotic varieties to Mushkibudji.
Similarly in central and north Kashmir, where this variety is being revived by the farmers,” said an officer. Pertinently, the administration is assiduously pursuing a GI tag for ‘Mushkbudji’. The official said that the GI tag will help to popularise the variety in Europe and other western countries.
“This way we can also tap the online retail market. The step will hugely benefit farmers of the UT,” he said.