Chandigarh, October 4: Tandrust Punjab Mission, the flagship programme of state government, has served its purpose in a big way by successfully safeguarding the soil health through optimizing the use of chemical fertilizers.
Giving details, KS Pannu, Director Tandrust Punjab Mission, informed that it was observed that farmers in Punjab were using fertilizers in excess of the recommendations of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Therefore, the matter was taken up in mission mode under Tandrust Punjab Mission during last three crops.
As a result, the consumption of Urea which was 15.43 Lac ton in Kharif 2017 reduced by 86000 tonnes to 14.57 Lac tons in Kharif 2018. The consumption of Urea further decreased by 168000 tonnes in Kharif 2019 as compared to kharif 2017. The cumulative reduction in usage of Urea in two years of launch of Tandrust Punjab Mission is 2.54 lac tonnes, he said, adding that this resulted in savings of Rs 152 crore to the farmers.
Pannu informed that as per the recommendations of PAU, Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) is not required to be added to Paddy crop, as the farmers add the same in the wheat crop which leads to retaining of Phosphorous in the fields for a period of one year. However, farmers of Punjab had been unnecessarily and unknowingly using DAP in paddy.
Therefore, a special awareness campaign was launched in Kharif 2018 through audio visual aids and by holding large scale camps at the village level.
Resultantly, the consumption of DAP which was recorded as 2.21 lac ton in kharif, 2017 reduced by 46000 tonnes in kharif, 2018 to 1.75 lac tonnes. Similarly, it further reduced to 1.42 lac tonns in kharif 2019, giving a net reduction of 33000 tonnes in kharif, 2019. The cumulative reduction in usage of DAP in two seasons is 79000 tonnes. Thus, farmers saved Rs. 115 crore in kharif 2018 and further saved more money to the extent of Rs. 197 crore in 2019 with total savings by avoiding the usage of DAP being to the tune of Rs. 312 crore in two years.
This reduction in cost for curtailing the use of fertilizer does not include reduction in the cost of labour, said Pannu.