Ludhiana, June 18 : Early monsoon rain has brought cheer to the farmers in Punjab state, as they begin sowing paddy crop.
The arrival of rains before its scheduled time has proved to be a boon for the farmers cultivating paddy, which is a water intensive crop. Punjab has received approximately 82 mm of rain till so far in June, which has reportedly improved the water table.
Erratic monsoon with scanty fall forces farmers to solely depend upon ground water for raising paddy crop. Experts say the ground water level has been constantly falling for the last ten years thereby increasing the expenses of farmers with respect to electricity, water and fuel requirements.
The farmers said that with early showers, the cost of irrigation would be reduced.
"Farmers have increased the area under cultivation. Besides lot of advantages have come along with the early arrival of rains for the cultivation of paddy. I have been able to cut upon the expenditure involved in water and fuel for irrigation pumps has been reduced to almost half. As now we won't require tube wells to irrigate our lands. Besides even if we reap the amount equivalent to last year, that would be fine, but we expect that it will go up in thousands," said Amar Singh, paddy farmer, Bains village.
As per the official estimates, about 84 blocks in Punjab have been seriously affected due to fallen water levels. However, the experts predict that if monsoon continues like this, the farmers can surely expect a bumper crop with around 500- 600 mm of rainfall.
"In Punjab, the arrival of early monsoon, 10-15 days earlier have certainly proved to be a boon as the level of groundwater was constantly falling for last ten years. The government of Punjab had postponed the date of sowing after June 10th in view of falling water table. But due to early rains, the falling water level will at least remain constant. Besides the rising pressure on electricity in paddy and wheat cultivation will also decrease. So the early rains have certainly proved good for the paddy crop cultivation," said S.S.Sidhu, Head, Department of economics, Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.
The contemporary cropping pattern in Punjab is dominated by paddy and wheat cultivation, which cover the major portion of the gross cropped area.
Early monsoons coupled with increase in minimum support price for normal grade paddy by 105 rupees to 850 rupees per quintal for this year announced by the government last week is expected to give a boost to paddy production.
Punjab is one of the major states in the country producing paddy and a major contributor to the Central food grains pool.