The drought-like condition following scanty rainfall is unlikely affect rice production in Sangrur district, but the acreage under paddy in the district has declined to 2.7 lakh hectare from 2.73 hectare last year.
Despite the decline in acreage, officials of the state agriculture department are expecting a production of 12.77 lakh MT paddy this year as compared to 12.9 lakh MT last year.
In addition, scanty rainfall helped increase acreage under maize, cotton and pulses besides the acreage under cotton, which has increased to 13,500 hectare against 12,000 hectare last year.
Sangrur chief agriculture officer Rajinder Sohi told Hindustan Times: "A small decline of about 3,000 hectare has been reported in paddy cultivation this year. But the farmers are working very hard and we are hopeful to meet the set target of producing 12.77 lakh MT paddy this year as per hectare production is likely to increase this year by 47.3 quintal per hectare from 47.24 quintal per hectare in 2013."
"Also, the acreage under Basmati (long grain varieties) has also increased to 50,000 hectare this year from 32,000 hectare last year,"Sohi added.
When asked about impact of scanty rainfall on paddy transplantation, Sohi said: "I don't think scanty rainfall has affected the paddy transplantation, as this year farmers have shown keen interest in direct seeding of rice (DSR), which needs less water."
In parts where ground water was low, the agriculture department encouraged farmers to adopt DSR method of sowing, as nearly 2,000 hectare had been brought under this technique this year, the officer added.
The district had bagged the first position in paddy production in the state last year with a production of 47.24 quintal per hectare.
Even as scanty rainfall has failed to impact paddy production in the district, the cost of paddy production has shot up. The farmers are complaining of increase in production cost by Rs 2000-Rs 5000 per acre, as they have to use diesel for irrigation.
"With the farmers using pump set to irrigate their crops, we don't see a big fall in paddy production; however, we urge the government to provide compensation to the farmers as the production cost has increased,"said Kanwaljit Singh, a farmer.