The improved Samba Masuri (ISM) is not only resistant to bacteria blight but also has a low Glycemic Index (GI) considered suitable for those with diabetes.
‘GI value of food is determined by feeding 10 or more healthy people a portion of the food containing 50 grams of digestible carbohydrate and then measuring the effect on their blood glucose levels over the next two hours.’
According to researchers, at present 40 per cent of the normal Samba Masuri crop is being lost due to Bacterial Blight. However, the new ISM variety of rice will significantly reduce this crop loss, which eventually would lead to reduced prices of rice and increased profit margins for farmers and traders.
Chief Scientist, CCMB, Dr Ramesh V Sonti said that the new ISM has the lowest Glycemic Index (GI) at 50.9 among all major rice varieties, which is an improvement over the 52.9 GI of earlier Samba Masuri variety. The traditional Samba Masuri rice is commonly called Sona Masuri and Kurnool Masuri and has very low resistance to BB, a pest disease for which there is no chemical solution yet.
CCMB Director Dr Rakesh Kumar Mishra congratulated all scientists involved in the research, which has been going for nearly two decades. "The development of a rice variety which has high yield, great taste, low GI and complete resistance to BB is an achievement to be proud of," he said.
The old Samba Masuri rice is estimated to be cultivated over four million hectares across the country, annually. The scientists expressed hope that both Central and State governments would push for cultivation of ISM through subsidies to farmers.