Already hit by high temperature and a weak monsoon, paddy crops are now wilting due to an overdose of fertilisers and pesticides. Farmers desperate to reap a harvest amid unfavourable weather conditions resorted to the excess use of these chemicals, which are now taking their toll on the crops.
While on an average, farmers use three to four bags of sulpur and urea fertilisers per acre in their paddy field, this time they used eight such bags, including those of some strong pesticides, due to which the crops got damaged.
The problem has been aggravated by lack of water. “Though supply of canal water has started, this is not sufficient to water a hundred acres of paddy fields,” sarpanch of Dhalleke village, Harbans Singh Johal, said. “The groundwater of the block moga-1 and moga-2 (water channels) is harmful for humans and crop yields. Farmers have no option but to rely on fertilisers.”
Davinder Singh Ghali, district president of Kirti Kisan Union (KKU), alleged that the power board provided electricity only for four to five hours per day, which was not enough to irrigate the fields. “We had apprised the state government of power shortage, but it did not bother,” he said. “Also, some pesticides dealers are misguiding the illiterate farmers by selling them sub-standard fertilisers and other material. Consequently, paddy crop has been damaged.”
Although the agriculture department organised block-level training camps in the last four months in this district, most farmers were not aware and hence, were deprived of knowledge about the latest methods of agriculture. Jaswinder Singh Brar, a state award winner and agriculture development officer, made it clear during a camp for farmers in Raunta village on Saturday that dealers misleading farmers would not be spared.
Gurpiar Singh Brar, a progressive farmer in Rode village, said farmers of surrounding villages used an overdose of chemicals in their fields on the advice of pesticide dealers. “This time the monsoon has been disappointing,” he said. “However, farmers were not also not getting eight-hour power supply as promised by the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janta Party government.”
Chief agriculture officer Harpreet Singh said officials of the department visited various villages of the district every day to make farmers aware of methods they should adopt.