Union minister for chemical and fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya stated on Wednesday while promoting the use of organic manure that Punjab’s wheat production had declined 16% in five years despite a greater chemical input.
The production fell from 178 lakh metric tonnes in the year 2017-18 to 149 LMT in 2021-22 even though Punjab’s fertiliser usage rose to 253.9 kilograms for each hectare in 2021-22 from 215.2 kg/ha in 2017-18. A Punjab agriculture department official said that: “The minister failed to take into account the destructive early heatwave of March 2022 that had shrunk the grains and impacted production across country.”
Mandaviya declared fertiliser subsidy for the next three years, besides some plans for fertiliser usage in the country. He cited Indian Agriculture Research Institute’s data to claim that Punjab’s wheat production had declined despite more consumption of chemical fertilisers. He said that: “It shows how the chemical fertilisers imbalance soil fertility and why the farmers should keep their usage to need-based, precise dose.”
Launching the Prime Minister’s Pranam scheme, the minister advocated use of organic manure under the Goverdhan scheme, which the government will give away for free.
He claimed that Punjab had 3.8% of the country’s gross cropped area, but the chemical fertiliser consumption in the year 2021-22 stood at 6.7% of country’s figure.
This article has been republished from The Tribune