Jagraon farmer shuns paddy cultivation, incentivises diversification : The Tribune India

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Jagraon farmer shuns paddy cultivation, incentivises diversification

Jagraon farmer shuns paddy cultivation,  incentivises diversification

Ajmer Singh has pasted a poster boycotting the cultivation of paddy. Tribune photo



Tribune News Service

Manav Mander

Ludhiana, June 19

Setting an example before others and advocating farmers to shun cultivation of paddy, Jagraon-based farmer, Ajmer Singh, has boycotted the cultivation of paddy on his fields. Interestingly, he has put a board in his field, which reads as ‘Jhone da boycott’ (boycott of paddy).

Ajmer Singh, who hails from Malla village near Jagraon has four-acre land and gives it on contract and has devised a unique way to appeal to other farmers to shun paddy and save the depleting water table. As a reward to the farmer who agrees to cultivate another crop instead of paddy, he exempts six-months contract money.

Waives contract money

  • Ajmer Singh of Malla village owns four-acre land and gives it on contract and has devised a unique way to appeal to other farmers to shun paddy and save the depleting water table.
  • As a reward to the farmer who agrees to cultivate another crop instead of paddy, he exempts six-months contract money

“I charge only for six months while the rest six months are free and farmer can grow any crop he likes but for paddy. Despite depleting groundwater, farmers continue to grow water-guzzling paddy crop. Paddy is not our traditional crop or food. Not even half of the produce is consumed in the state. The government should ensure that farmers receive equivalent income from cultivating other crops,” he added.

Further Ajmer Singh said old generations used to grow only one crop in a year, which sufficed the needs of the family, while now multiple crops are being grown. During the last two decades, farmers have shifted to the wheat-rice cropping pattern, leading to increased demand for irrigation water and over-exploitation of groundwater resources. The shift was mainly due to relatively higher returns and more stable yield of paddy and wheat, he added.

Appreciating the step taken by Ajmer Singh, Balbir Singh, a farmer, said,”What Ajmer Singh is doing is appreciable. It is a step taken in the right direction as water crisis poses serious threat to Punjab’s agriculture. Crop diversification is the only solution for replacing water-intensive cropping patterns with less water-intensive crops.”

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