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Punjab, Haryana Farmers to Apply New Strategy This Season

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia

Better prices generated by crops like cotton and maize last year and the new strategy of crop diversification adopted by Punjab and Haryana governments have bound the farmers of these two States to plant less rice this Kharif season as compared to the previous. 

The area under rice in Haryana till last week was around 10 lakh hectares (LH) while nearly 15 percent is lower than 11.87 LH planted in Kharif 2018-19. In Punjab too, it’s nearly 1 LH normally used for growing rice has been diverted to plant cotton and maize.  

The reduction in rice cultivation is even attributed by Haryana State agriculture authorities to sustain the campaign they ran.  

Suresh Gahlawat, Assistant Director (Extension) at Haryana Agriculture Department said, “Farmers with at least 50,000 hectares have enrolled as part of the campaign to grow maize or pulses. We have given them a cash benefit of ₹4,500 per hectare, free seeds and free crop insurance cover under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).” 

“Besides, they have a standing offer of buying back the maize crop at minimum support price decided by the Centre,” he said. Apart from maize, cotton sowing is also marginally up in Haryana to 6.76 LH as against 6.65 LH same periods last year.  

Many farmers in the State alleged that more would have availed the scheme if the State government revealed its plans earlier on.  

“We are all concerned about the depleting groundwater levels in the State. If the State was really concerned about it why did they announce it at the eleventh hour,” asked Rattan Mann, Bharatiya Kisan Union State President. According to Sutanta Kumar Airi, Director of Agriculture in Punjab, the State to run a campaign to lure farmers away from planting rice and this had some success. Punjab farmers planted rice only on 28.53 LH till last week as compared to 29.57 LH in the corresponding week last year. On the other hand, the area under maize cultivation has gone up to 1.6 LH as against a little over 1 lh same period last year, said Airi. The State also witnessed a spurt in cotton cultivation, mainly because the cash crop fetched a good price in the previous year. The area under cotton planted has crossed 4 LH last week as against 2.84 LH in the same week in 2018-19. 

States like Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and West Bengal too reported with less area under rice as compared to last season.  


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