Punjab government on Sunday said it has initiated an ambitious plan to promote sowing of pulses to make the state self dependent and fulfil the protein needs of poor population.'
Under this programme, the state government will distribute 'pulses drills' among growers on subsidised rates during 2015-16 and one tehsil will be selected from each district for this purpose. It will cost Rs 148.79 million.
Disclosing this here today, an official spokesperson of the agriculture department said the main purpose of this plan is to reduce the dependence on imports by providing incentives to growers for raising production.
In fact, it was due to farmers' frequent shifting to other crops such as wheat, rice and cotton that a USDA report last year expected no significant breakthrough in domestic production of pulses in near term, he said.
He said normally, a 'grain drill' or 'seed drill' is a sowing device that precisely positions seeds in the soil and then covers them.
Farmers having 5-25 acres of land would be eligible for the provision of drills for the sowing of pulses in a row.
It was originally invented in Mesopotamia by 2000 BC and consisted of a wooden plough equipped with a seed hopper and a tube that conveyed the seed to the furrow. 'The use of a seed drill, it is believed, can greatly improve a crop's yield.
While the local production of lentil and mash remains inadequate to satisfy consumers' appetite, the production of Moong is also declining due to its replacement by the cotton crop in its core area.
Punjab government will, under the new plan, conduct training programmes for farmers in modern production technology, provide certified seeds at subsidised rates and hold demonstrations of the use of latest techniques for sowing pulses at farmers' fields.
Besides, measures will be taken to promote pulses, along with other crops, in irrigated areas to attain the project's