Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, March 1
Cases of the yellow rust attack on wheat crop have surfaced in Kangra and Una districts. There are reports of wheat crop getting damaged due to attack by yellow rust in Pragpur and Lambagaon blocks of Kangra district. Reports of yellow rust have received by the Agriculture Department from almost all parts of Una district.
Farmers are alleging that there is shortage of pesticides as the government has reduced its procurement under its drive to promote zero-budget natural farming. Now farmers are being forced to buy pesticides from unreliable sources within and outside the state.
Naresh Kumar Badhan, joint director, Agriculture, Kangra district, when contacted, admitted that reports had been received from Kangra, Una and Hamirpur districts regarding the yellow rust disease in wheat crop.
“We have advised the farmers to spray Tilt, a fungicide, on their crops as it was very effective against yellow rust”. When asked if the farmers were facing shortage of fungicides, he said fungicide was also available in the open market.
Naresh Kumar, a farmer from Una, said that cases of yellow rust attack on wheat crop had been reported in the region for the past many years. Generally, the farmers used to get supplies of pesticides for their local societies. They used to get supply of pesticides and fungicides from the agriculture department.
“However, this year we are being informed that the supplies are not available with the societies as the government has reduced procurement of fungicides and pesticides under its drive to push zero-budget natural farming”.
Agriculture experts said that the problem with the agriculture policy was that the government was adopting similar policy of promoting zero-budget natural farming in the entire state. The zero-budget natural farming can be successful in high altitude areas where land holdings were small and climate was cold due to which many pests and diseases do not attack crops.
In the areas of the state adjoining Punjab, the pest and diseases travel across the border and it is not practical to adopt zero-budget natural farming here. Moreover if the government wants the farmers to switch over to zero-budget natural farming, it should compensate them for losses they might incur in the process of transition.
What experts say
- Agriculture experts said that the problem with the agriculture policy was that the government was adopting similar policy of promoting zero-budget natural farming in the entire state.
- Zero-budget natural farming can be successful in high altitude areas where land holdings were small and climate was cold due to which many pests and diseases do not attack crops.
- In the areas of state adjoining Punjab the pest and diseases travel across the border and it was not practical to adopt zero-budget natural farming here.
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