Apprehending the acute shortage of quality seeds of wheat in the rabi season of 2016, the state agriculture department has asked the experts to look for a way out.
Due to unpredictable weather conditions in the current rabi season, the quality of wheat has been reported to be below the norms to be used as seeds, as the quality of wheat crop has suffered in the state.
The state requires 35 lakh quintal seeds to be sown over 35 lakh hectares – 40-50 kilogram for an acre and about a quintal for a hectare (which is equal to 2.45 acres).
“We don’t want to take chances as the quality of wheat grain has never suffered damage to such an extent in the past. This time, the quality of wheat grain is not fit to be used as seed,” said agriculture minister Jathedar Tota Singh, who plans to form a committee headed by Punjab State Farmers Commission chairman Dr GS Kalkat to deal with the issue.
Apprehending crisis in the next wheat-sowing season, the agriculture minister has called a meeting of all stakeholders next week.
“The wheat grain is shrivelled, lacked luster, got moist and later it dried, and we are apprehensive that it may not germinate at the time of wheat-sowing next season,” said Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor Dr BS Dhillon.
He has ordered germination tests to be conducted over wheat crop across the state and the report is expected within a fortnight.
“We will get the exact idea as to how much seed we could get from our sources in the state after the test reports,” Dhillon said, adding that to his memory such a situation had never arisen when the wheat grain quality had suffered to such an extent.
In the past, the PAU used to get major requirement of wheat seeds from Sangrur and Bathinda area.
“This time, no method to save the crop could have worked, as the quality of grain suffered when it was still to be harvested; even now the weather is unpredictable. Let us see how we procure the seed from within the state, or we may have to depend on sources from outside Punjab,” Dhillon said.
Stock of 3086 variety already lifted
As the wheat crop in the entire state has suffered, one variety of Indian Council for Agriculture Research that has resisted the vagaries of weather is the variety 3086.
A delegation of progressive farmers led by Bhagwan Das Gupta met the financial commissioner development Suresh Kumar, who is in charge of the agriculture department, requesting him to procure the variety to be used as seed in the next season.
“When we checked, all the stock of the variety had been lifted from the procurement centres,” said an agriculture official. Very few farmers chose the 3086 variety over the 2967 variety sown across the state, he added.