By Ruchika M Khanna
The Agriculture Department is asking farmers to grow maize and moong for the ongoing kharif marketing season in the flood-hit areas where paddy seedlings have been completely damaged.
As the re-transplantation of paddy seedlings has become a distant reality in the affected area, the Agriculture Department is now arranging maize and moong seeds that can be sown instead.
Crops over 2.59 lakh acres of land have been affected by flash floods that occurred earlier this month.
“Our initial field reports suggest that the maximum area under paddy cultivation has been affected in Patiala district (nearly 1.25 lakh acres), followed by Sangrur, Ropar and Tarn Taran. As many as 19 districts have been affected. Even as we have devised a set of guidelines for re-transplanting paddy seedlings, the time available with farmers for transplantation is very less,” said Agriculture Director Gurvinder Singh.
Farmers will have to first drain the standing water out of their fields and then transplant paddy seedlings all over again. To make sure that farmers do make some money during this marketing season, the best bet would be to go in for maize and moong cultivation.
“Maize grown now can be used for fodder. Since fodder prices continue to be high, the farmers won’t suffer losses. Also, though it is late for cultivation of moong, farmers can ensure a good crop, if they use 12 kg seeds per acre, instead of the usual practise of using 8 kg seeds per acre. They can be sure of fetching up to Rs 7,000 per quintal for moong. Sowing these two crops will also help in the restoration of soil’s fertility,” Gurvinder Singh said.
He added that in the four cotton growing districts of Mansa, Bathinda, Fazilka and Muktsar, only maize will be allowed for cultivation by farmers. This is because moong is a natural host for the whitefly and it can impact any cotton grown in the next season.
Not enough paddy seedlings
While many farmers — especially those not affected by flash floods — have come forward to offer paddy seedlings for re- transplantation and the Agriculture Department has also set up nurseries to grow seedlings and plans to distribute them from August 1, these are not enough to cover the damaged area of about 2.59 lakh acres in the state.
This article has been republished from The Tribune
By Ruchika M Khanna