Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has reviewed arrangements for supply of quality wheat seed to be procured for farmers at subsidised rates during the rabi season.
Presiding over a meeting with state and national seed producing agencies besides withlocal seed growers on Monday, Badal asked Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor to coordinate with state directorate of agriculture to ensure procurement of high-quality wheat seed from the Punjab State Seeds Corporation Limited (PUNSEED), the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), the Krishak Bharati Cooperative Limited (KRIBHCO), the National Seeds Corporation (NSC), and other private seed producers.
Badal also directed the extension service wing of the PAU to educate farmers on the timely schedule of sowing of wheat during the rabi season and make them aware of the latest farm practices.
"The agriculture department must identify villages that procure and sow high quality seed varieties and give these the title of 'seed villages' in the state. Training and technical know-how should also be provided," he said, adding that mapping of the seed variety needed to be done by the PAU and the Directorate of Wheat Research, Karnal, and the report conveyed to the agriculture directorate.
He also directed the agriculture department and PAU to launch an awareness campaign.
Additional chief secretary (development) Suresh Kumar told the CM that a 35 lakh hectares area would be sown during during the Rabi season and 35 lakh quintal quality wheat seed was required.
"We are grappling with severe shortage of quality seed with diseases like Yellow Rust and Karnal Bunt having affected a substabtial quanitity due to the untimely rains and hailstorm," Kumar said.
PAU vice-chancellor Dr BS Dhillon said that varieties like HD-3086, HD-2967 and WH-1105 was most-suited for Punjab and Haryana. The seed of these varieties were required to be procured for the farmers of the state. Moreover, PBW-550 and PBW-621 were also good varieties, but farmers did not want these.
"Bathinda, Faridkot, Muktsar, Mansa and Sangrur districts are adequately placed as far as quantity of seeds are concerned. The rest of the area of the state needs seed as inclement weather had led to damage," he said.
He added that air-conditioned storage facilities were needed to be constructed at PAU for preservation of the seed.
DWR director Dr Indu Sharma added that diversity needed to be preserved to ensure that seeds remained free of insect, pest and other diseases or loss due to inclement weather.
Others who attended the meeting included, Punjab Agro MD Kahan Singh Pannu; Agriculture director Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu, Agronomist from International Wheat and Maize Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) Delhi Dr ML Jat; Consultant Punjab State Farmers Commission Dr SS Bains; PUNSEED MD Dr SS Kandhari and Director Punjab State Seed Certification Authority Dr PS Aulakh.