With a motive to save ground water and cut down on farmers' agriculture expenses, Muktsar district has increased area under Directly Sown Rice (DSR) five times than the last year and is stated to be leading among other districts in the state. Moreover, farmers in the chief minister's home district would also get R7,500 per acre as incentive for using DSR.
“The area under DSR increased from 2,000 hectares in last season to 10,000 hectares this time. About 20% area under DSR across the state exists in Muktsar. The state government had approved 10 DSR clusters (each on 100 hectares) in the district. In these clusters, government will provide incentive up to R7,500 per hectare to farmers who opt direct plantation of paddy. The agriculture department also planted 40 more exhibition plants, each on 1 acre, under DSR in the district and is providing 100% inputs to farmers to popularise DSR,” said Muktsar deputy commissioner Paramjit Singh.
Muktsar chief agriculture officer Beant Singh said, “Total area under paddy is 95,000 hectares in the district and basmati will have 25,000 hectares. Farmer can save up to R3,000 per acre by DSR technique and it also saves water up to 50% besides increasing per acre production by 7%.”
Beant Singh added that, “We have also achieved good success in diversification by bringing up to 95,000 hectares under cotton this year from 89,000 hectares last year. The area under basmati has been increased to 35,000 hectare from 15,000 hectares last year. There are around 18 machines, including 12 being run by private players at minimal charges in the district, to sow direct paddy while some farmers have personal machines.”
In the traditional method, saplings are transplanted to the main cultivation area, whereas the direct sowing technique involves sowing seeds directly in the fields around 10 to 15 days earlier than the prevalent method, added Beant Singh.
Farmer Jagsir Singh of Tharajwala village said, “With the new technique, cultivation of paddy has become quite easy and it is very successful in heavily-fertile soil. The officials had promised good incentives, which would boost the direct plantation.”