Crop diversification- Need of hour

Author(s): Harish K. MongaFerozepur, September 25, 2012: The untimely rains in Punjab are going to affect the yield from standing crop of paddy to the extent of 2 to 5 per cent.  However, the soil and crop tolerance is so weak that crop...

Crop diversification- Need of hour

Ferozepur, September 25, 2012: The untimely rains in Punjab are going to affect the yield from standing crop of paddy to the extent of 2 to 5 per cent.  However, the soil and crop tolerance is so weak that crop diversification is the need of the hour.


Crop diversification is not a matter to be settled in a hurry with quick meetings but the farmers have to be taken in to confidence by ensuring the arrangements for marketing of the produce and promotion of agro-industry by educating the farmers’ class.


Punjab Government is continuously making a  public proclamation about the free electricity supply and other  agriculture inputs and subsidies and centre government is being accused for the state of affairs of farmers in Punjab but how much the  state government is serious about improving their conditions, can be  well imagined from the fact that to look after the 27.80 lakh thousands  

acres area under cultivation in Punjab, there are number of posts  lying vacant in soil-conversation, agriculture and horticulture  


“The main reason behind not switching over to diversification of crop is irregular payments to the farmers for the sugarcane crops.  In case the government makes proper arrangements the marketing of products, there is no reason that the farmer may not shift to other crops which would rather help in making the land more fertile for the next crop”, expressed a progressive farmer Darshan Singh, Member SGPC. 


When contacted, Gurdip Singh, former director of Markfed, repeated the same story of diversification.  He, however, added that the untimely rains in Punjab are likely to affect the standing crop and in case there are no sunny days to dry up the standing water in the fields, it has to be pumped out to save the crop.


Giving the glaring example of non-shifting of the farmers to crop diversification, during he last year, a good number of farmers had taken the produce of chilies and because of no arrangements of its marketing by the government at the reasonable rates, the same were available for Rs.2 to Rs.3 per kg.  Whereas, during the current year, only few farmers had gone for produce of chilly and due to less production, it is now available at Rs.35 per kg., he added. 


As per the sources, in the three important departments concerning  farmers welfare - soil-conversation, agriculture and horticulture -  1,123 posts are lying vacant against the total sanctioned 1,934 posts.  In soil-conversation department 159 posts, in agriculture 866 and in horticulture 98 posts are vacant.


In fact, none of the government has bothered about  the filling up of vacant posts in these departments.  A draught relief of Rs.5,113 crores has been demanded from the central government but to  give a practical shape to the various suggestions, for sowing wheat  and paddy, there are no employees. In the absence of technical staff  in the three departments, the farmers cannot be given the expert  advice and motivated for diversification of crops, which could help to  solve farmer's related problems.


One can well understand the uncertain weather conditions and draught  like situation but keeping the posts vacant in three important  department,  is not digestible and beyond farmer’s understanding.  The condition of farmer is deteriorating day by day but centre and state governments are in the race of making numbers for giving financial assistance in the draught like situation in Punjab .


Punjab Government must  take up the matter with the central government for the interests of  farmers in Punjab and should not shirk its own duties because the  filling up the posts in  the departments especially agriculture for  taking care of the farmers, is the responsibility of the state  government because the agriculture department  is the back-bone of  Punjab and the posts in this department should be filled-up on priority.








Tuesday, September 25, 2012