Chandigarh: Slow progress of monsoon and power shortage is delaying paddy sowing in Punjab and Haryana in nothern India, officials and farmers said.
India’s weather department has forecast monsoon will reach the northwestern part of the country by 2 July, later than the usual dates of 28-29 June.
The two states are key producers of the crop, accounting for about 15% of the country’s total paddy output.
The delay in monsoon and a dry summer has reduced water availability in the two states, impacting electricity supply also, officials said.
“Till date area ...transplanted is about 10-15% less than it was in 2008-09. Hopefully things will improve if monsoon arrives on time in the state,” Gurdial Singh, joint director with the Punjab Agriculture Department, told the agency on Monday.
“Farmers were slowing down transplanting operations in the state due to shortage of electricity,” he added.
Most farmers in Punjab and Haryana prepare paddy nurseries using irrigation, ground water resources and transplant or sow them on the fields as monsoon arrives.
Kuldeep Singh Bhullar, a farmer from Bathinda district said he was waiting for monsoon to arrive so that he could begin transplanting rice from the nursery.
“I’ve already transplanted paddy on 7 acres and am spending Rs1800 per day on diesel for maintaining the crop. I have delayed transplanting on 8 more acres.”
“Otherwise I’ll have to run the tube well on diesel, which will raise my input costs considerably.”
The state farm department has estimated area under rice for 2009/10 to be around 2.6 million hectares as against 2.73 million hectares in 2008-09.
Situation in Haryana is no different with farmers facing erratic power supply. As per Haryana farm department the target area under paddy for 2009-10 is estimated to be around 1.15 million hectares.