Tribune News Service
Amritsar, June 14
The alternative to manual transplantation of paddy being promoted by the Agriculture Department to tackle the shortage of labour hands, has failed to find takers as farmers prefer to manually transplant paddy.
Farmers say with the direct seeding technique, they require more seeds and have to spray weedicides twice, so the input cost doesn’t reduce as is being advertised by the department. “We have to use at least 8 kg of seed using the direct seeding method in comparison to 3 kg of seed in manual transplantation. This year some private shops charged up to Rs160 per kg for seeds. So the cost of seeds alone has increased by more than double. Accounting for the expenses on spraying of weedicides and wages to labourers, the cost remains almost the same,” said Sandeep Singh, a farmer.
He said in direct seeding, many farmers were facing the problem of low germination at places in fields, as a result they had to manually plant saplings.
Though farmers are more enthusiastic about mechanical transplanting than direct seeding, they said the non-availability of sufficient machines is a problem. “The machines are a more practical alternative to manual transplanting but most farmers do not have these. Besides, farmers have not yet seen many successful trials,” said Kuljit Singh, another farmer.
Chief Agriculture Officer Gurdial Singh Bal said: “Those farmers who do not have experience of direct seeding or mechanical transplanting should first apply these alternates on a small chunk of their land. They can experiment it on one-fourth of their land holding. It would give them experience and hands-on training.” Many farmers were using the alternate technique, he said.
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