Water Table Sinking, but Push to Agri Diversification Still Missing in Punjab

Bathinda: Academics and agriculture experts are debating the possibility of crop diversification in Punjab, as raw cotton prices breach the Rs 10,000-per-quintal mark and a relentless campaign is already underway to save water in the agrarian state.

A reason for experts to hope for farmers to shift to cotton is the going rate of the cash crop, whose market price even touched Rs 12,000 this procurement season. Loans to pay lease While the next crop-sowing season will start in a few days, many farmers whose crop was damaged by pink bollworm are still awaiting compensation, as they need the money for purchasing seeds and preparing fields.

The way farmers have got returns from cotton minus the pest attack, it is the best alternative to paddy in southern Punjab,” says Punjab Agriculture University director (research) Ajmer Singh Dhatt. But, looking at the way the state government tackled the damage to cotton crop due to pink bollworm, it seems the government might find it tough to achieve the goal. It is being felt farmers who had grown the crop by taking land on lease have been hit the worst by the pest attack. “There is lot of potential to increase area under mustard in the state and cotton in south Punjab. When it comes to central schemes, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY) is not applicable in Punjab, as the state government has, in the past, claimed that it will start its own crop insurance scheme.

Original Link: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/water-table-sinking-but-push-to-agri-diversification-still-missing-in-punjab/articleshow/90887024.cms