Punjab, Haryana Farmers Adapting Sustainable Farming

Punjab, Haryana farmers adapting sustainable farming

By Vishal Gulati
Chandigarh, May 24 : Farmers in Punjab and Haryana, the country’s biggest contributors to the food basket, have been keen to enhance sustainable farming practices by adapting less water and labour-intensive mechanised technology, besides taking care of the environment, through Canada’s technology of planting seed using a no-till drill.

 Punjab, Haryana Farmers Adapting Sustainable Farming-TeluguStop.com

In the last few days, winter rice seeding technology demonstrations were carried out in Khamano in Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab, where farmers showed eagerness to shun the traditional method of cultivating crops by adapting no-till direct seeding technique — a paradigm shift toward sustainable farming practices.

Now the trials are underway in Pehowa, the basmati-growing belt of Haryana’s Kurukshetra, for cultivating paddy.

In Punjab, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government last year announced Rs 1,500 per acre support for farmers opting for the direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique, while in Haryana, a cash incentive of Rs 4,000 per acre was offered as a pilot project for water conservation.

Likewise, Haryana set a target of one lakh acres of paddy sowing with the DSR method in 12 leading paddy-growing districts, while Punjab had aimed to bring 12 lakh hectares (29.64 lakh acres) with this technology.

To bring the MINI-MAX technology, which ensured to enhance water conservation, besides protecting soils from further deterioration caused by the extreme tilling, the company has collaborated with an Indian tractor company to provide sustainable solutions initially to farmers associated with Northern Farmers Mega, a leading organisation of 43 farmer cooperatives (FPOs) involving more than 12,000 members from four states, comprising Punjab and Haryana.

Now the company is demonstrating the technology with multipurpose solutions like managing straw and accurate seed and fertiliser placement in combination with the unique no-tillage practices to the FPOs by exhibiting Mini-Max’s, an India-specific machine.

Responding to the collaboration, Consul General of Canada in Chandigarh, Patrick Hebert, told IANS that Canada has a long history of expertise and excellence in agriculture.

“The arrival of the MINI-MAX technology in India is a game-changer for farmers, including in Punjab and Haryana,” he said.

Impressed with the high-tech seeding and planting tool, farmer Gurdev Singh in Khamano, who took part in a field demonstration, told IANS farmers should shun traditional farming and go for such a technology that helps reduce inputs costs by improving fertiliser effectiveness and much-needed soil recovery.

“We are ready to go for enhancing sustainable farming practices, despite our government not coming forward in support of the farmers in the form of subsidies for buying the no-till planter,” he added.

With a land area of only three per cent of the net cultivated land of the country, Punjab contributes 25-35 per cent of rice and 38-50 per cent of wheat to the central pool of food grain.The state ranks fourth in the world in terms of productivity and first in India amongst all the other states.

In Haryana, the paddy is currently sown over 34 lakh acres in Haryana.Of this, 57 per cent of the area is under basmati, which matures two weeks later than the non-basmati type.

Officials with the Haryana Agriculture Department told IANS the government is mulling to provide a subsidy up to 80 per cent to the state-based FPOs and 50 per cent to a farmer to buy SMART Seeder MINI-MAX and related technologies.

Indian-origin entrepreneur Jeet Jheetey, Vice President (Operations and Product Development), Clean Seed Capital Group, told IANS that the company is demonstrating India-made smart seeders in farms of Punjab and Haryana, where there are active engagements with the FPOs.

Saying direct seeding entails many advantages for rice production too, it will also be serving as a catalyst for sustainable agriculture and surmounting diverse challenges farmers encounter.

He said by adopting no-till direct seeding techniques, the farmers could fortify the productivity of rice, besides eradicating stubble burning, boost crop production and protect agricultural soils from further deterioration caused by the overuse of chemical fertilisers.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at [email protected])

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