Punjab forms committee to explore alternative crops to help farmers


Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has announced the formation of a committee to explore alternative crops that consume less water than paddy. The move comes as the sowing of paddy crops over the years has resulted in the depletion of underground water tables and issues related to stubble burning. In a video message on Thursday, the Chief Minister said the committee, which will be led by the chief secretary, will visit farmers in different villages to identify crops that require less water and bring more income to farmers. The committee will submit a report to him after the consultations.
Mann’s government is taking steps to promote basmati, cotton, moong, and pulses as alternatives to paddy. The CM has also expressed his desire to increase the area under cotton crop.
From April 1, canal water will be available for irrigating cotton crops up to tail ends, Mann said. Additionally, the government is offering a 33 per cent subsidy on cotton seeds certified by the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). The PAU has also conducted research to develop new pesticides to check pest attacks on the cotton crop. With these measures, Mann hopes to bring about a shift towards alternative crops that are more sustainable and profitable for farmers.