Punjab Agricultural University counters criticism of DSR technique, shares farmers’ success stories
Experts decided to share success stories after videos of farmers ploughing their fields started doing the rounds on social media, officials say peer pressure, generation gap, rumours responsible for deviationUpdated: Jul 01, 2020 16:46 IST
After videos of farmers ploughing paddy crop transplanted through the direct seeding of rice (DSR) method started doing the rounds on social media, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) experts and the agriculture department countered the videos with success stories of farmers who had used the new technique.
The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) decided to counter the misconception after receiving feedback on why farmers decided to plough their fields.
A PAU expert said the farmers who ploughed their fields were repenting after seeing the crops of farmers who stuck to the DSR technique.
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) senior agronomist Dr Makhan Singh Bhullar, during his weekly Facebook live, shared his mobile number and urged farmers to contact him before ploughing their fields or send a picture of their fields over Whatsapp if they were facing any issue pertaining to cropping of seeds.
GENERATION GAP, PEER PRESSURE AT PLAY
Bhullar said, “In most cases where fields were ploughed, belief in convention won over innovation. There was a conflict between the younger and older generation. For many decades, farmers have been sowing paddy using the traditional method. They were averse to new techniques. In many cases, fathers pressed their son to plough the field after 20 days and sowed the paddy nursery using the traditional puddling method,” said Dr Bhullar.
The second reason was the availability of migrant labour. “There has been a sudden thrust of migrant agricultural labour in Punjab. Many farmers found sticking to the DSR technique a risky proposition and opted for a conventional method of farming,” said Bhullar.
Chief agricultural officer Baldev Singh Naurath has posted several success stories of farmers who stuck to the new DSR technique.
He noted that there was a lot of peer pressure among farmers, which led farmers to plough their fields.
“Farmers want to play safe. In some villages, farmers collectively decided to opt for a conventional method. In order to stop such incidents, we decided to share success stories of farmers who stuck to their convictions and opted for the DSR technique,” Naurath said.
Harpreet Singh, of Kabarwala village in Muktsar district, who has successfully sown paddy over 21 acres through the DSR technique blamed the seed seller for spreading misconceptions.
“A rumour was spread among farmers in Malwa region that crop sown through DSR technology was being attacked by fungus. This triggered panic among farmers. My father told to me to opt for the old puddling technique and my fellow farmers told me not to take a risk, but I stuck to my guns and now my field is green and farmers who ploughed their fields are repenting,” said Harpreet.
The university had sanctioned 4,000 DSR machines and 800 paddy transplanter machines to farmers at a subsidy ranging from 40%- 50%.
Farmers started sowing rice with the machines after May 20 in Punjab and against a target of 5 lakh hectares farmers sowed paddy over 7 lakh hectares of the state, which is 25%of the total area under paddy cultivation in Punjab.