Millennium Post

Punjab targets 12 lakh hectares of paddy area with DSR technique

Chandigarh: Punjab's agriculture department has set a target to bring 12 lakh hectares of paddy area under the direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique, which will be almost double of the area covered last year.

According to an official spokesperson, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who also holds the portfolio of agriculture, directed the department to make concerted efforts to bring around 12 lakh hectares under this technique.

The DSR needs far less water for irrigation, improves percolation, reduces dependence on farm labour and improves soil health, thus enhancing yield of both paddy and wheat by 5-10 per cent.

Under the DSR technique, paddy seeds are drilled into the field with the help of a machine that does seeding of rice and spray of herbicide simultaneously. While in the traditional method, young paddy plants are raised by farmers in nurseries first and then these plants are uprooted and transplanted in a puddled field.

To encourage farmers to sow paddy through the DSR, the state government already decided a Rs 1,500 per acre incentive to farmers for the sowing of paddy through this technique.

A sum of Rs 450 crore has been earmarked to provide incentive to farmers for promotion of less water-consuming and cost-effective DSR technology.

With reports suggesting that rats were damaging direct sown paddy in some areas, the chief minister directed the agriculture department to provide rat-control pesticides to farmers free of cost.

Director agriculture department Gurvinder Singh said DSR technique helps in saving nearly about 15-20 per cent water as compared to the conventional puddling method.

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