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Punjab

Posted at: Jun 20, 2018, 1:57 AM; last updated: Jun 20, 2018, 1:57 AM (IST)TRANSPLANTATION BEGINS TODAY, OFFICIALLY

No groundwork, late sowing ‘diktat’ goes unheard

No groundwork, late sowing ‘diktat’ goes unheard

Amarjit Thind

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19

The government steps to make farmers plant early maturing and less water-consuming paddy varieties, either forcefully or by creating awareness, stand exposed as transplantation officially begins on Wednesday.

It seems another year has been lost on saving groundwater, as a majority of farmers across the state have already transplanted water-guzzling varieties of paddy.

This year, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) had recommended PR 127, a medium maturing high-yield variety. To make a complete switch from traditional varieties at least 61,000 tonnes of seed was needed to sow 30.69 lakh hectares, as per figures tabulated by the university.

This year, 2,600 quintals of PR 127 was sold for Rs 50 a kg at kisan melas, regional research stations, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, seed farms located at Ladhowal, Naraingarh, Faridkot and Kapurthala, and Farmer Advisory Service Centres of PAU.

Dr TS Dhillon, Director (Seeds), PAU, said PR 127 was a high yield paddy variety with medium maturity period and was disease resistant. “It resists attack of 10 prevalent pathotypes of bacterial blight pathogen present in Punjab, which makes it the best option as compared to traditional varieties. The average yield of this variety is 30 quintals per acre. It is a better genetic product and the farmers should go for it in a big way,” he said.

Farmers, on the other hand, have been on the warpath over the government order banning paddy sowing before June 20. They are also demanding uninterrupted power supply and withdrawal of cases registered against farmers who sowed paddy early.

The farmers allege that the recommendations are released often late and no department bothers to disseminate information about new developments.

As such, only a handful of progressive farmers keep track of the latest developments and benefit from them.

Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, general secretary of the BKU Ekta Ugrahan, said the farmers were soft targets and everything that went wrong was blamed on them. “The advisory on seed should have been issued immediately after wheat is harvested giving farmers time to procure the seed,” he added.

“Our experience has shown that delay in sowing paddy always means yield loss and despite what the experts claim, sowing paddy after June 20 will entail a loss of 3-5 quintals per acre. Who will compensate us for this shortfall?” he questioned.

“Another problem pertains to moisture which is higher in all late maturing varieties. Will there be some relaxation on this count at the time of procurement?” he asked.

Moreover, the available quantity of new seed was an indication of the seriousness of the government in providing alternatives to water-guzzling varieties, he pointed out.

Unplanned move, say farmers

  • At least 61,000 tonnes of seed of late or medium maturing paddy was needed, but only 2,600 quintals was sold. 
  • Recommendations are released often late. Delay in sowing paddy would have resulted in a loss of 3-5 quintals per acre. No government word on relief.
  • Moisture is higher in late maturing varieties. 

Inputs by Manav Mander

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