The wheat harvest in the state next year will significantly improve both in terms of quality and quantity with the Punjab agriculture department claiming that it will provide subsidised, top-quality certified seed to 5 lakh farmers in the state, compared to 2 lakh farmers last year, this sowing season.
Apart from the expanded reach of better quality seed, the agriculture department is also selling it at `1,625 per quintal, the lowest among the states of Haryana, Himachal and Rajasthan, where farmers are paying Rs 1,826, Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,100 per quintal, respectively.
Experts and officials from the agriculture department claim that this has been possible due to transparent and competitive bidding the department conducted while inviting companies to procure seed.
“We have managed to provide seeds at the cheapest rates in the region, even as we are offering minimum subsidy. This has been the result of some smart administrative steps taken during tendering,” a senior officer from the agriculture department told HT.
Funds to the tune of Rs 37.5 crore were allocated to Punjab under various central schemes to distribute wheat seed. Funds were also given to Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan similarly.
Despite the fact that subsidy in these states on one quintal wheat per hectare is `1,000, they have failed to decrease the seed rates.
In Punjab, the subsidy per quintal is Rs 700, less than other states.
With the increase in the number of farmers, of a total 35 lakh hectare area under wheat cultivation this year, 5.30 lakh hectare land would be covered by subsidised, high-quality wheat.
Agricultural officials terms it a giant step towards increasing the wheat yield as most of the farmers in Punjab sow ordinary seed, the yield and quality of is questionable .
Last year, the area under the subsidised seed was just 2.50 lakh hectares.
Government agencies such as PUNSEED, IFFCO and KRIBHCO provide seeds to farmers and 33% of the total seed is replaced by farmers across the state every year.
The seed is being distributed by chief agriculture officers (CAOs) across the state after verification of relevant documents.