Few takers for ‘Direct Sowing’ of paddy and Basmati. In yet another dampener for the agriculture department in saving ground water table, few farmers have come forward to take up ‘Direct Sowing’ of paddy in the region. Paddy transplantation is beginning from Thursday in the state. The direct sowing of paddy, which requires no puddling of feilds is a sure shot method of saving water started on June 1. However the farmers were still dependent on traditional system of sowing PR-122, PR-121 and PR-115 variety of (Parmal) paddy. Though the agriculture department officials have been holding awareness camps to encourage direct sowing of paddy but the response has been minimal. As farmers were skeptical of the yield and the financial returns, they preferred the traditional method of transplanting paddy. Talking to Daily Post, District Agriculture Officer Dr Naresh Gulati said that all efforts to motivate the farmers to adopt direct sowing and Basmati production have failed to yield results. “Lack of good MSP for Basmati variety like BASMATI-5, 4, 3, 2 and PUSA 1121 and the fear of success of direct sowing were the major reasons discouraging the farmers”, he said.Gulati said that the future belongs to ‘direct sowing’, as ground water table was fast depleting in the region. “We have been informing the farmers that direct sowing requires 15 percent less water, hence saving electricity. Direct sowing is done through laser levelers while the amount of labour requirement is also minimal in this type of farming”, he said. Recently direct sowing was done by farmers in Talhan and Nawa Killa village in Jalandhar. The district agriculture said, “However, now we have issued guidelines as per PAU Ludhiana, where they have the farmers to sow 33 paddy saplings per square metre. If paddy is sown like this in the mother tiller, it yeilds 2.5 times more grain.”Notably, paddy transplantation requires puddling of field and standing water for the first 15 days of crop. Besides, the continuous supply of water for further irrigation of paddy also leads to the problem of water conservation. “We have urged the farmers to stop sowing HRK47 and PUSA44 variety of paddy”, he said. It is pertinent to mention here that this year the area under cultivation of paddy was 1.46 lakh hectare and 20,000 hectare for Basmati. There has been no boost in Basmati production as it remained confined to 20,000 hectare only. The area under cultivation of paddy was 1.49 lakh hectare for paddy last year.
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