Thursday, January 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rain brightens rabi prospects
Sarabjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Morinda, January 29
A light-to-moderate rainfall in various parts of Punjab and Haryana in the past 48 hours has brightened the rabi prospects in the region making, farmers as well as officials of the Agriculture Department happy.

Mustard fields in full bloom dotting the dark green wheat crop present a beautiful site in the countryside.

Farmers said the prolonged foggy and relatively cold weather had not caused any significant damage to the rabi crops, especially wheat and mustard, major crops of the season. “We had been waiting for rain for the past few days. Foggy weather, which was fortunately free from frost that damages crops, had persisted for too long and a break was required. Moreover, there was no rain since December-end when this region had sporadic rain only at a few places,” said Mr Balwant Singh, a farmer of Gharuan village, near here.

There were reports of hailstorms at certain places in the region last night. But these have not caused any damage to the rabi crops. Dr R.K. Rampal, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, said officials had informed him that there was a moderate rainfall in the Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar areas. Other areas received a light rainfall except the Faridkot and Bathinda belt, which by and large remained dry.

“ Growth of crops from January 1 to 25 was stunted to some extent by foggy weather. However, as weather has opened up in the past few days, it has improved the photosynthesis process in various rabi crops. With rain, the intake of nutrients among plants is bound to improve,” he added.

Similar views were expressed by Dr Jag Shoran, Principal Scientist at the Directorate of Wheat Research, a Union Government institute at Karnal. Dr Shoran said the relatively high temperature in December had become a cause of concern as it was not good for the wheat crop. However, the situation changed on January 1. Though it was foggy weather but it did not cause any damage to crops. The cold wave that persisted for at least three weeks proved good for the wheat crop. “I am expecting a bumper wheat crop as it has been free from any disease till date in the region”, said Dr Shoran.

Punjab has covered 33.5 lakh hectares under wheat this year. It has fixed a target of 150 lakh tonnes of wheat. Last year, Punjab produced 155 lakh tonnes of wheat from 34.20 lakh hectares. Punjab is expected to have a better mustard crop this year. Area under this crop has gone up to 80,000 hectares this year from 50,000 hectares last year. “We are also expecting an increase in the output of barley and gram crops”, said Dr Rampal.

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