Ahead of the wheat sowing season, which will kick off from the second week of November, the Punjab agriculture department will distribute 2.80 lakh quintal of subsidised and certified seeds to farmers. The government has already started promoting certain wheat varieties in Kisan Melas being organised across the state. The subsidy will cost the state Rs 28 crore but the government is yet to clear the amount. Around 35 lakh hectares is under wheat cultivation in Punjab. The agriculture ministry will give a subsidy of Rs 1,000 per quintal, which means a farmer will be able to procure seeds at Rs 1,600. Presently, seeds cost between Rs 2,600 to Rs 2,700 per quintal.
The subsidy will be provided on varieties such as HD 3086, HD 2967, PWD 725, PWD 677 and Wh 1105. Among these varieties, the most popular are HD 3086 and HD 2967. Interestingly, both the varieties were recommended by the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) in Ludhiana and invested by Haryana. HD 2967, the wheat variety that was introduced for trials in Punjab a few years back currently covers over 65-70 per cent area of wheat cultivation. But now, the department wants to replace it with another popular Haryana variety, HD 3086.
“This year we are expecting to cover several lakh hectares under HD 3086,” said Dr J S Bains, Director of Punjab state agriculture department. He said that replacement of a seed variety after a certain period was a must as prolonged usage made it prone to diseases.Bains said the HD 3086 variety would lead to a yield of 23 quintal per acre, which was more than HD 2967.
“We would give Rs 1000 subsidy per quintal seed and would prefer that the small farmers avail this facility,” said Bains, adding that all government agencies including Punjab Seed Corporation (PUNSEED), National Seed Corporation and KRIBHCO have been providing the seed to the agriculture department.