Concerned over the rampant use of chemicals and fertilisers, the agriculture department will make efforts to sensitise farmers about the ill-effects on the ecology and the human health.
“Besides changing the soil composition, indiscriminate use of chemicals affects the grain. The chemicals also percolate into the soil and pollute the groundwater,” said Satwant Singh Brar, joint director (agriculture).
During his recent visit to Amritsar, Brar said farmers jump the gun seeing insects in the paddy fields and start spraying insecticides, without realising that most of them are serving their cause.
“A variety of insects feed on the larvae of harmful kinds. The department will educate farmers on this aspect,” Brar said, showing a video clip of a ladybird feeding on the larvae of another insect on a paddy plant.
The experts will advise the farmers against using DAP (Dia Ammonia Phosphate) fertiliser without consulting scientists. “If a farmer has used dia ammonia phosphate for the wheat season, he need not use it for paddy. This will cut down the cost,” he said.
The other aspect that the department will stress on is the direct sowing of rice (DSR) technique. “This technique saves a great deal of water,” Brar said.
PUSA 1509 basmati variety
Pointing to the bad experience that the farmers had selling PUSA-1509 basmati variety, Brar said the acreage under this variety will fall drastically. The rice millers refused to purchase this variety on the ground that the breakage of the grain was higher than the permissible limit.
The government had to come to the rescue of the farmers by purchasing the crop. Brar said the acreage under the PUSA-1121 variety will increase this year.