Diversification will lead to fall in paddy acreage in Punjab

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Moga, Mar 28 (UNI) The area under paddy in the kharif season this year in Punjab is expected to come down to 24.75 lakh hectares from 26.10 hectares last season.

The area of 1.35 lakh hectares will be diverted to maize, cotton, and oilseeds and cash crops from paddy as part of the state governments crop diversification campaign.

The fall in acreage under paddy will mean that Punjab will be expected to produce 95 lakh MT in this kharif season as against 104.89 lakh MT in 2007.

This was stated here today by Punjab Joint Director Agriculture Gurdev Singh Gill while presiding over a kharif crops training camp for farmers here today.

Dr Gill said the state is expected to produce to 24.85 lakh bales of cotton this year as against the production of 22.73 lakh bales last year. The area under cotton is 6.50 lakh hectares this year while last year it was 6.04 lakh hectares.

At the training camp, Dr Gill exhorted the farmers to grow different crops other than paddy and wheat as recommended by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the Agriculture Department.

He asked the farmers to go in for commercial crops so that they could get more income.

He also suggested the farmers to bring more area under basmati, as it needed less water. He also advised farmers not to sow paddy before June 10 as desired by the Central Ground Water Board.

The Joint Director assured the farmers that the Department had sufficient stocks of fertilisers--7.93 lakh MT for the kharif crops against last years consumption of 7.10 lakh MT nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. These fertilisers would be available to the farmers through 10,546 sale points including private, cooperative and other government agencies.

The Joint Director and other PAU experts, while addressing the farmers, said the state government has fixed the area under BT cotton has been fixed at 6.50 lakh hectares this year. In order to boost cotton production, the department had adopted 112 villages under Rattan Tata Trust. These villages are in 28 blocks of seven districts of the cotton belt.

The department spent Rs 66.84 lakh in this fiscal year for educating the farmers and bringing awareness by way of publicity and printing and publishing material. The campaign helped the farmers to check the attack of mealy bug.

UNI HS SR DS1147

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