Postponing paddy transplantation will impact yield, fear farmers
Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) chairman Kahan Singh Pannu, who recommended to the government the postponement of paddy transplantation, said farmers’ fear was unfounded.punjab Updated: Apr 30, 2018 11:46 IST
The Punjab government’s directive asking Punjab farmers to postpone paddy transplantation by five days from June 15 to 20 has not gone down well with the growers.
“There are no short-duration varieties for paddy.We apprehend that if sowing is delayed as mandated by the government, there will be problem at the ripening stage. In October, night temperatures fall drastically and it would lead to fall in yield,” said Nek Singh, a paddy grower of Khokh village near Patiala.
Who would compensate for the reduction in yield, he asked.
On the other hand, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) chairman Kahan Singh Pannu, who recommended to the government the postponement of paddy transplantation, said farmers’ fear was unfounded.
“Instead, we will save 24 lakh million litres of water, which farmers would have otherwise pumped out through 14 lakh tubewells in five days,” he said.
As per the figures of the Commission For Agriculture Costs And Prices, central body for fixation of minimum support prices, a kg of rice guzzles 3,367 litres of water. From 1,000 kg of paddy 666 kg of rice is shelled.
Punjab government has asked growers to postpone transplantation by five days from June 15 to 20.
Pannu said, “The underground water crisis was deepening, as every year the water level is falling by 70 cm and farmers are well aware of it.” He added, “Any new decision of the government takes time to be implemented.”
However, Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of a faction of Bharatiya Kisan Union, said the paddy variety PUSA 44 grown by majority of farmers in state takes 130 days to ripen. “If transplanted on June 20, the harvest will be delayed till late October when the climate for the crop is not appropriate. The farmers worry that the yield would fall drastically.”
Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor (V-C) BS Dhillon said the university has developed two short-duration, less water-consuming varieties. “One of them is PR 126 which has four-week shorter growing span than PUSA 44. The other is PR 121 that has two-week shorter span than the commonly grown variety.”
Dhillon asked farmers to shift to new varieties as peak yield period of PUSA 44 variety was over. PUSA is a crop of 130 days.
“I think V-C saab need to be told that commission agents and state procurement agencies don’t accept PR varieties,” said Rajewal.
‘Transplantation to be pushed to July 1’
The ultimate goal of the agricultural experts and the farm bodies is to push paddy transplantation to July 1, with the idea to conserve water. “We are working on that, and will ultimately implement it,” said Dhillon.
Earlier in 2008, paddy transplantation was fixed on June 10 and at that time also Pannu as secretary, farmers’ commission, was behind the move. In 2014, as secretary (agriculture), he pushed for delaying sowing from June 10 to 15.