The climatic conditions are the same, the soil and water is the same, but still there is a vast difference in the yield of crops between two Punjabs on either side of the Radcliffe Line.
This observation was made by a two-member delegation of sugarcane experts from Pakistan, who spent a day out in the fields with Indian farmers on Tuesday.
Officials of the Amritsar district agriculture department, including those from sugarcane wing and also from Sugarfed, kept the Pakistanis company.
At the end of the day, the visitors admitted that the farmers of the Indian Punjab were far more hardworking and innovative than their Pakistani counterparts. However, the main reason for the vast difference in the yield of different crops was due to the advanced techniques introduced by Indian experts, they observed.
"We have to admit that there has been little research in the field of agriculture in Pakistan. Your agricultural universities and other research centres have played a crucial role in the success of the farmer here," said Abdul Malik Satoor, general manager of Ramjan Sugar Mills near Lahore.
Satoor along with Assenjee Bholah, head of farms, at the same sugar mill were on a day's visit here to study the sugarcane sowing methods being adopted by the farmers. They were taken on a tour of sugarcane fields of Bhorsi Rajputa, Gaggarbhana and Khabe Rajputa villages by chief agriculture officer (CAO) Paramjit Singh Sandhu and his team.
During their interaction with sugarcane growers, they came to know that average yield of sugarcane in this part of Punjab was between 275 quintal to 290 quintal per acre. This crosses 300 quintal mark in central Punjab.
In comparison, the two Pakistani experts said, the average yield in their country was mere 200 quintal per acre. The two also compared the yields of wheat and paddy of the two Punjabs and concluded that the methods of sowing and research played an important role in the high yield on this side of the border.
In Pakistan, farmers still sow sugarcane using conventional method, while in India 'single bud technique' is gradually replacing the old technique and led to further increase in the yield.
The two visitors were also explained the importance of soil testing and application of fertilisers. They pointed out that in their country very few farmers went in for soil testing. The inter-cropping of sugarcane with wheat or sugarcane with poplar impressed the duo.
During their interaction with officials, the Pakistanis gave statistical details to point out that the input cost of farmers in their country was higher. They gave the example of DAP (Dia Ammonia Phosphate) fertiliser that sells for `3,000 per sack, while in India it is half of that price.
"Despite the high input costs, our yield is nowhere near the yield in India. Free power to tube wells is an added incentive here," said Satoor