By stopping and bringing down the excessive use of diammonium phosphate during the Kharif season, farmers in Muktsar have saved about Rs 24 crore.
"During the 2013 paddy season, the farmers had used about 27,500 metric tonne (MT) of DAP(Diammonium phosphate) but, during the 2014 paddy season, the farmers brought down the use of DAP to 15,705 MT, which was about 9,907 MT less than that used last year," said Jaskiran Singh, deputy commissioner, Muktsar.
"It was the result of an awareness campaign by the district agriculture officials," he added.
Though the area under paddy had gone up in 2014 from the earlier 2,75,000 hectares to 3,27,000 hectares last year, which would have led to more consumption of fertilisers, yet the consumption of the fertiliser decreased.
"If the recommended dosage of the diammonium phosphate is applied to the wheat crop before sowing, no DAP is required for paddy crop. But, farmers have been using it unnecessarily. After the agriculture department ran an awareness campaign to advise them not to apply DAP during the paddy season, many farmers stopped the practice," said Beant Singh, chief agriculture officer, Muktsar.
The considerable rise in DAP price, which has nearly doubled during the past few years, also discouraged the farmers from its excessive and unnecessary use.
The farmers used to apply from a half to one bag per acre to the paddy crop also even if they had applied the recommended dosages of the fertiliser to wheat crop. They thought that it would lead to a decline in the yield of paddy if it is not applied. But, the considerable rise in rates and awareness campaign have led the farmers not to apply it to paddy," said Amardeep Singh, a farmer from Muktsar village.
Besides a check on the excessive use of DAP, the farmers in the district also brought down the use of cartap hydrochloride, an insecticide, which is also being used in paddy crop without any recommendations.
According to the agriculture department, farmers have also brought down the use of insecticides and are able to save about Rs 2.21 crore this year on it as compared to the 2013 paddy season.
"The excessive use of fertilisers and chemicals pollutes the environment and our food chain, besides deteriorating the quality of soil, is also killing crop-friendly insects," said Beant Singh, CAO, Muktsar.