Punjab's pulse plan gets PAU excited

As the Punjab government has announced a plan to spend `15 crore on making the state self-sufficient in pulses in two years, experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) say that this will have not one but many benefits for agriculture.
Updated on May 22, 2015 09:59 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Ludhiana

As the Punjab government has announced a plan to spend `15 crore on making the state self-sufficient in pulses in two years, experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) say that this will have not one but many benefits for agriculture.

Experts have asked farmers to understand the advantages of sowing pulses. "The area under pulses in our country is so small that the Union Ministry of Agriculture says that in the year 2013-14 alone, India imported 30-lakh tonnes of pulses worth `10,551 crore. Punjab's is not even in the top nine states producing pulses," said PAU senior economist Mohinder Singh Sidhu, adding:

"However, if the agriculture department achieves its target of shifting 70, 000 hectares under paddy to pulses, not only the state will be self-sufficient but also the country's import bill will decline."

"As the roots of leguminous crops release essential nutrient nitrogen into the soil, these will keep the soil fertile and reduce the dependence on chemical fertilisers," said SPS Brar, senior extension specialist from the university's plant breeding and genetics department. The state's concerns about overexploitation of farm soil, to check which it was issuing soil health cards to farmers, would also get addressed to an extent, he claimed.

The step could encourage crop diversification and open new avenues of income for farmers. "In the recent months, the retail price of pulses has increased by `25 to 30 per kilogram," said additional director of research Jagtar Singh Dhiman, adding: "Each year, the production of paddy is in excess, so pushing pulses is a good idea."

For promoting pulses, the state government will give away the sowing drills (mechanised device) for subsided price this year.

Leading pulse producers, contribution percentage

Madhya Pradesh 26
Maharashtra 16
Rajasthan 13
Uttar Pradesh 9
Andhra Pradesh 8

All figures for the year 2013-14
Source: Union Ministry of Agriculture

Pulses in Punjab

Year Area (thousand ha) Production (thousand tonnes)
2009-10 21 18
2010-11 98 81
2011-12 63 55
2012-13 64 53
2013-14 76 68

Paddy in Punjab

Year Area (thousand ha) Production (thousand tonnes)
2009-10 2,802 16,770
2010-11 2,831 16,174
2011-12 2,818 15,813
2012-13 2,845 17,061
2013-14 2,851 16,901

Source: Punjab agriculture department


    Rameshinder Singh Sandhu is a staff reporter based in Ludhiana. He mainly covers administration, besides writing on agriculture, lifestyle trends, culture and travel.

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