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Posted at: Nov 7, 2018, 12:42 AM; last updated: Nov 7, 2018, 12:42 AM (IST)

Punjab govt to reach out to farmers via social media

Move aimed at checking excessive use of urea, DAP

Fertiliser consumption during rabi season

  • 13 lakh tonnes of urea, 5 lakh tonnes of DAP
  • Rabi crops: Wheat, oilseeds, pulses, sugarcane, potatoes, vegetables, fruits and fodder
Punjab govt to reach out to farmers via social media
Illustration: Sandeep Joshi

Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6

Having exhausted traditional means to convince wheat cultivators about the judicious use of fertilisers, the Punjab Agriculture Department has resorted to social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp groups in the current rabi season.

“There are farmers groups on Facebook and WhatsApp at block and district levels. We are trying to reach out to them through the social media. In addition to this, state agriculture officials, scientists from Krishi Vigyan Kendras and Punjab Agricultural University will visit villages, tehsils and districts and educate farmers to restrict the usage of urea and DAP,” Punjab Agriculture secretary KS Pannu told The Tribune.

Pannu says the target is to reduce the usage of urea and DAP by 10%. “The per-acre consumption of fertilisers in Punjab is the highest in the country. The farmers have been using fertiliser in excess of the dosage recommended by Punjab Agricultural University,” he added. 

Around 13 lakh tonnes of urea and 5 lakh tonnes of DAP (diammonium phosphate) are used in the rabi season on crops such as wheat, oilseeds, pulses, sugarcane, potatoes, vegetables, fruits and fodder.

“We have asked the farmers not to use more than one bag of DAP (50 kg each) and two bags (45 kg each) of urea in one acre within 50 days from the sowing of wheat. Currently, the usage is very high. The farmers use two to three bags of DAP and three to four bags of urea in an acre,” Pannu said. 

Wheat is the main rabi crop in Punjab. The anticipated area this year is about 35 lakh hectares (85 lakh acres). The state has a net sown area of 39.66 lakh hectares.

Overall, the consumption of urea in Punjab is around 26 lakh metric tonnes and that of DAP is about 8-9 lakh metric tonnes in both the seasons (rabi and kharif). The annual sale of fertilisers, including DAP and urea, is around Rs 3,400 crore. Out of the total sales, the share of rabi and kharif seasons is 50% each.

“In kharif season also, we launched a campaign for balanced use of fertiliser in paddy. As a result, the consumption of urea in kharif 2018 has reduced by one lakh metric tonnes (9%) and that of DAP has reduced by 46,000 tonnes (16%) thereby resulting in a net saving of around Rs 200 crore to farmers and reducing the chemical load on Punjab soil,” Pannu said.

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