Despite acute shortage of agricultural labour,Punjab has sown only 4,000-hectare area with paddy transplanter machine,out of a total of 27-lakh hectare area being dedicated to rice cultivation in the state this year. Paddy transplanter is one of the main options of labour pangs in the state,but still it gets poor response from farmers,owing to the cumbersome process of growing paddy nursery in trays and on mats. The state government is not ready to arrange such type of nursery to grow paddy with transplanters.
Last year,around 600 paddy transplanters were available in the state with cooperatives and individual farmers and in one year,just 43 more planters have been added in the state,while the requirement is of more than 1,000 planters.
Also,with paddy transplanters,65,000 to 70,000 plants are planted per acre,against 32,000 to 35,000 plants manually by labourers. Fields sown with transplanters give four to five quintals more yield per acre than manually planted fields. With this technique,the state can get 14 to 15 per cent more yield from existing number of fields,the experts said.
Farmers do not require to hire workers with this technique,said Joint Director Farm Machinery Dr D R Kataria,who added that around 4,000-hectare area had been sown with paddy transplanter machine this year,which is like a drop in the ocean.
Most of the farmers in the state want to go for paddy transplanting,but it is not possible till paddy nursery is not raised on mats or in plastic trays, said Dr Kataria,adding that farmers largely were not ready to grow this type of nursery,as they found it a cumbersome task.
Adoption of paddy transplanting involves risk,as we dont have much knowledge about it. The state department must launch it aggressively to make it popular, said Avtar Singh,a farmer.
Paddy transplanter is a boon to agriculturists and helps change the face of paddy cultivation in the state,but nursery is a problem,as there is no policy,wherein the department will provide such nurseries to farmers, said Dr Naresh Gulati,Deputy Directory of Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA).
A senior officer with the agriculture department said,Some farmers have shown the way to the government by coming forward to raise this nursery and supplying it to other farmers on a custom-hiring basis,by transporting and transplanting seedlings in the fields of many farmers,but the government is not ready to take this task.