Chandigarh, May 26 : The Crop Diversification programme initiated by the Punjab Agriculture department has received a massive response from farmers with the state nearly accomplishing its goal to bring an area of 12.5 lakh acres under cotton cultivation, which was 9.7 lakh acres last year.
Diversification of the cropping pattern away from paddy helps to save the precious natural resources of the state like water, helps improve soil fertility, avoid winter stubble burning and thus preserve and improve the environment in a very substantial way, Additional Chief Secretary Development Viswajeet Khanna said here on Tuesday. He said that Punjab had recorded sowing of cotton over an area of 10 lakh acres so far and the set target would be achieved very soon.
The ACS said that the Agriculture department had made timely and adequate arrangement of fertilizer and hybrid seeds of BT Cotton well in advance to ensure seamless sowing of cotton crops across the state amid curfew/lockdown due to COVID-19. Cotton was the second major traditional crop of Southern Punjab due to which the Malwa belt of Punjabi state was known as its ‘Cotton Belt’, he added.
Khanna said in the districts of Malwa belt cotton sowing had already crossed the mark of 10 lakh acres. He said that the last year target of 9.80 lakh acres (3.92 lakh hectares) was enhanced to 12.5 lakh acres (five lakh hectares) this year, which is expected to be completed in the first week of June. He also informed that the sowing had been over by the last week of May during previous seasons but would be completed a bit later this year as wheat harvesting started only on May 15 this year with a delay of two weeks amid COVID-19 restrictions. (UNI)