Basmati is a type of fragrant rice uniquely grown in specific regions of India and Pakistan characterised by its typical aroma, and the elongation of its grains when cooked.

The name basmati comes from vasmati, the Sanskrit for fragrant. Indian basmati is predominantly grown in Haryana, but other cultivating states include Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. In Pakistan, the majority of the basmati is grown in Punjab. In both India and Pakistan, there are several varieties of basmati rice for example: basmati 370, basmati 385, PK 385, and Super Kernel Basmati Rice. Researchers constantly develop new varieties of basmati, which respond well to local environmental conditions and give better crops for local farmers.

New varieties require approval by Indian or Pakistani authorities before being marketed with the basmati name. There are no GM varieties of basmati rice.

As worldwide demand for basmati rice is high and of the area of cultivation limited to the region around the Himalayas, the price of basmati rice to the consumer is generally higher than other long grain varieties. To ensure that consumers are receiving quality basmati, the UK, Europe’s largest basmati market, introduced a code of practice which sets out purity standards. The standards can be enforced using DNA testing. Basmati importers and exporters elsewhere in Europe also make use of the UK Code of Practice and other countries e.g. France are currently looking to introduce comparable standards.