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HomeNews Reports"Cropping system unviable, free electricity incentivising farmers to over-exploit groundwater resources," Punjab economic survey...

“Cropping system unviable, free electricity incentivising farmers to over-exploit groundwater resources,” Punjab economic survey states. Details

It stated that the cropping pattern of growing water-intensive rice and wheat along with free electricity supplied to farmers has resulted in the depletion of groundwater levels.

The cropping system of Punjab is becoming economically and ecologically unviable, the economic survey (2023-24) of the Punjab government has stated.

The survey was tabled in the state assembly last week. It noted that free-electricity supply may have incentivised farmers in the state to “over-exploit” groundwater resources.

It stated that the cropping pattern of growing water-intensive rice and wheat along with free electricity supplied to farmers has resulted in the depletion of groundwater levels.

The survey said, “Yields are stagnating in wheat and rice and it is another reason for crop diversification to be the way forward,” adding that the yield of cereals, pulses and oilseeds in Punjab has been higher than the national average.

“This cropping system of Punjab is becoming economically and ecologically unviable given the deterioration of soil health, depletion of the water table and squeezing of farm incomes as cost of cultivation increases,” it noted.

It stated that oilseeds and pulses with an adequate demand deficit in the country could offer one avenue for crop diversification.

The survey also pitched for crop diversification to oilseeds and pulses.’

It stated that oilseeds and pulses with an adequate demand deficit in the country could offer one avenue for crop diversification.

This comes in the backdrop of the Centre assuring the protesting farmers across the country that it will procure maize, cotton and pulses varieties at the minimum support price (MSP) for the next five years.

The offer, as per reports citing sources, is subject to the condition that farmers diversify from water-intensive paddy cultivation.

The same provision was earlier announced fpr farmers from Haryana and Punjab but they had refused it.

As per the survey, the total crop area is held by food grain production in Punjab and is mainly occupied by wheat and paddy crops due to assured economic return as MSP provided to farmers on the two crops.

As per the state budget, out of total allocation of Rs 13,660 crore for agri and allied activities for 2024-25, Rs 9330 crore has been earmarked for free power (subsidy) for the farmers in Punjab.

As per data, in 2021-22, Punjab produced nearly 14% of India’s wheat output of 107.7 million tonne with less than 12% share of the total area under its cultivation at the total level.

The state also contributed almost 10% of the total rice production of 129.4 MT with only 6.4% of the total area under rice cultivation in the country.

As for the issue of excess use of power, the Punjab government has reportedly launched a pilot direct benefit transfer scheme for six agriculture feeder areas where the participant farmer gets a fixed allocation of power consumption.

It has stated if the farmer consumes less than the fixed allocation, he/she receives a financial benefit for electricity not consumed.

Moreover, Punjab has reportedly faced uneven growth in agriculture in recent years, particularly in crop cultivation.

The gross state value added (GSVA) growth of agriculture and related sectors from 2021-22 to 2023-24 is projected at 1.0%, 2.7% and 2.4% respectively as compared to 2.1% average growth recorded between 2012-13 and 2020-21.

A slowdown has also been observed in crop husbandry section where GSVA was in the negative.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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