Ruchika M Khanna
Chandigarh, April 20
Wheat yield in Punjab has dipped by more than five quintal per hectare because of intense heat wave last month. This is the key finding of crop-cutting experiments conducted on 2,200 sites across the state.
From 48.68 quintal per hectare last year, wheat yield has fallen to 43 quintal this year.
The maximum drop has been reported in Bathinda and Mansa districts, where three farmers committed suicide in the past two days because of low crop yield.
The Agriculture Department is collating data of the experiments. Sources say data of 1,200 experiments has been analysed so far, and the findings would be more or less the same when data of the remaining 1,000 experiments would be analysed.
A crop-cutting experiment estimates crop yields from a unit area (hectare in case of Punjab). When the crop is ready for harvest, the crop on a unit area is cut and its yield per hectare is then multiplied to estimate the crop production.
The low wheat yield means that the state will fall short of meeting its production and procurement targets. Besides, farmers will suffer losses, adding to the state’s rural indebtedness.
Wheat yield has fallen drastically after a gap of six years. MS Sidhu, farm economist from Ludhiana, told The Tribune that in the past six years, wheat yield had never dipped below 45 quintal per hectare.
“The lowest yield recorded in the recent past was in 2015-16, when it touched 45.83 quintal per hectare. In the subsequent four years, yield was more than 50 quintal — 50.46, 50.77, 51.88 and 50.04 quintal. Last year, yield was 48.68 quintal,” he said.
FARMERS PROTEST ARREST WARRANTS
- Farmer unions have protested the arrest warrants issued against farmers in Bathinda, Mansa, Ferozepur and Fazilka
- They have allegedly not paid off the loans owed to Punjab Agriculture Development Bank
- There are 60,000 defaulters, who owe Rs. 2,300 crore
- Almost 50% of the defaulters are in the state’s cotton belt alone
- With losses mounting because of yield loss, list of defaulters will swell
48.68 quintal last year
43 quintal this time
WHAT IT MEANS
- The state will fall short of meeting its production and procurement targets
- Farmers will suffer losses, adding to the state’s rural indebtedness
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