Amritsar, March 6: Scarcity of water for irrigation in Punjab has lead farmers to switch to adopting new irrigation techniques while cultivating sugarcane. Although sugarcane consumes more water than wheat and paddy, the farmers of Majah and Doaba belt have taken to sugarcane cultivation. The Government of Punjab has been arranging awareness and demonstration camps in the villages to make farmers awake of the problems of scarcity of water persuade farmers to adopt drip irrigation techniques in sugarcane cultivation.
According to the district authorities, drip irrigation method used for the cultivation of sugarcane has increased the yield more than 30 percent/hectares. Over 200 farmers participated in a demonstration camp arranged by the district authorities at village Dallam nearly 20 kilometers from Amritsar. Deputy commissioner Amritsar K. S. Pannu said that experiments with drip irrigation have shown that not only the production has increased per hectare but also farmers saved sixty percent of water and electricity. The benefit of the drip irrigation is that the usage of fertilizers is optimum, as they will not be washed away by water.
The cost of implementing drip irrigation for sugarcane cultivation is nearly Rs. 50,000 per hectare and the Punjab government is providing a subsidy of 75 percent per hectare. Pannu said, "Drip irrigation has been successfully used by the Punjab farmers on their Orchards. By this method, one could get 200 quintals of yield more than the production by traditional irrigation method."
He claims that a number of farmers have come forward to adopt irrigation. Drip irrigation is precise, slow and frequent application of water through point or line source emitters on or below the soil surface at a small operating pressure (20-200 k Pa) and at a low discharge rate (0.6 to 20 LPH), resulting in partial wetting of the soil surface.
"With this new irrigation technique, the water consumption comes down nearly 50 percent," said Gulab Singh another farmer who has wanted sugarcane, in more than 80 acres of land. He feels that more yield would certainly help.
Gurbans Singh Pannu, a farmer of Dallam Village said that drip irrigation in sugarcane is a relatively new innovative technology that can conserve water, energy and increase profits. Sugarcane is a more profitable crop than traditional wheat - paddy crop. He said: "I was earlier using three tubewells for irrigation which has reduced to one after adopting drip irrigation."
Gurmeet Singh Batht who owns nearly 40 acres of land said, "I was really very impressed by the new system of irrigation which could increase yield. Now I have decided to install drip irrigation in my fields. But even after the Government subsidy of 75 per cent. Small farmers have to spend more than Rs 12,000 due to hype in the prices of pesticides and other equipments used for harvesting. He says that the Government should increases the subsidy amount so that more farmers could adopt advanced techniques.