Punjab's agriculture department has set a goal 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 the 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 less water for irrigation, improves percolation, reduces dependence on farm labour and improves soil health, thereby enhancing yields of both paddy and wheat by 5 -- 10 per cent.
Paddy seeds are drilled into the field under the DSR technique with the help of a machine that does seeding of rice and spraying herbicide simultaneously. Young paddy plants are first raised by farmers in nurseries, and then these plants are uprooted and transplanted in a puddled field.
The state government has already decided to give farmers a Rs 1,500 per acre incentive for the sowing of paddy through the DSR to encourage farmers to sow paddy through the DSR.
A sum of Rs 450 crore has been allocated to farmers for promotion of less water-consuming and cost-effective DSR technology.
The agriculture department was directed by the chief minister to provide rat-control pesticides to farmers at no cost, despite reports that rats were damaging direct sown paddy in some areas.
Gurvinder Singh said that DSR technique helps in saving nearly 15 -- 20 per cent water as compared to the conventional puddling method.