Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 7
To cope up with the labour scarcity amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the state government has stepped up its efforts to encourage farmers to switch over to direct seeding of rice (DSR) instead of the traditional transplantation of paddy this year.
This year, nearly 25 per cent of the total area under paddy sowing is expected to come under this technology which will help to slash cultivation cost in terms of both labour and water.
To promote the technology and motivate farmers to adopt it, the State Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Department sanctioned 4,000 DSR machines and 800 paddy transplanting machines to farmers on subsidy ranging from 40 to 50 per cent.
Secretary, Agriculture, KS Pannu said Punjab had earlier fixed the target to bring around 5 lakh hectares under the DSR technique but given the labour shortage and keen interest shown by farmers to adopt the advance technology, 6-7 lakh hectares of area is expected to come under this technology, which roughly accounts for 25 per cent of the paddy grown in Punjab.
He further stated that the DSR technique would be instrumental in saving about 30 per cent of water besides cutting the cost of paddy cultivation by nearly Rs 6,000 per acre. He said as per reports and research of Punjab Agriculture University, the yield of paddy from the DSR is on a par with paddy crop grown by conventional technique of transplanting.
He also appealed to farmers that most critical element in new technology is the control of weeds and as such, farmers must be careful that prior to undertaking DSR, they must procure weedicide and spray the same within 24 hours of sowing the crop.
Farmers from across the state would cultivate paddy on 27 lakh hectares, which include 7 lakh hectares under high quality basmati rice.
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