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Government Encourages Farmers to Adopt Economically Sustainable Agriculture Strategies

The government in Punjab is devising schemes and strategies to encourage farmers to indulge in more economically and environmentally viable agricultural practices.

Kritika Madhukar

During the forthcoming Kharif season, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government will make significant reforms to Punjab's agricultural sector in order to break the wheat-paddy cycle and make the agriculture industry more sustainable in the long run.

To combat the state's drastically diminishing groundwater levels, the government will reward farmers who partake in the direct seeding of rice (DSR) and promote the production of moong and three late-sown paddy cultivars. A detailed plan for environmentally friendly agriculture has been devised and is now ready to be implemented.

Years later, successive administrations devised a crop diversification and environmentally sustainable plan, only for farmers to reject it because none of the schemes guaranteed adequate remuneration.

According to Director (Agriculture) Gurwinder Singh, the government has developed a strategy to wean farmers away from monoculture and toward other crops with guaranteed sales, 

The state administration was successful in persuading farmers to cultivate moong last year. During the Kharif season, moong was planted on around 50,000 acres. It produced 80-85 quintals per hectare and sold for Rs. 7,000 per quintal. Moong has already been planted on 50,000 acres this year, with a further 10,000 acres set to be planted by May 15. This year, the government is encouraging farmers to plant late-sown paddy types in July.

The types 126, 128, and 130 use less water than typical paddy cultivars that consume a lot of it. They'll sell for the same MSP as other paddy kinds that aren't basmati. The promotion of maize farming is the third step. Maize sells for less than its MSP each year.

As per officials of the Agricultural Department, the state food procurement agencies are expected to buy maize. A senior official stated that earlier, the government used to purchase corn on the Army's behalf, and now they are planning on requesting the Centre for help with comparable procurement arrangements of corn. He further stated that if the deal falls through, the agency will sell maize on the open market.

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