The two day National Conference on Agriculture for Rabi Campaign-2009 concluded here today with the resolve to produce an additional 80 lakh tonne foodgrains and 12 lakh tonne oilseeds during the ensuing Rabi season. It was agreed that the strategy for enhancing rabi production would include bridging the gap between potential and present productivity levels through integrated nutrients management, zero tillage, use of improved varieties and treated seeds etc. State Governments would be required to take special steps to ensure timely planting, advanced planning for input management, efficient management of canal water, campaign for seed treatment, strengthening farmers’ field schools etc. A special action plan for higher coverage of area under boro/summer rice to compensate for the loss of area under kharif rice needs to be worked out by States. There is need to ensure convergence among various programmes of different Ministries.
The Conference recognized that sufficient quantity of seed for rabi 2009-10 is available to meet the requirement of major crops in different States. However, there is some shortfall in the availability of seeds of lentil and linseed. Not only the quantity but also the quality of seeds in terms of its genetic/physical purity, physiological condition and seed health needs to be maintained. It was felt that in a number of States, the Seed Replacement Rate (SRR) is considerably low and there is a need to significantly improve the SRR to achieve higher productivity levels in different crops. New varieties of wheat such as PBW17 and PBW550 have been developed which can replace the old variety PBW343, which is currently grown in large areas in northern States. These varieties have better yield potential and are heat resistant.
An efforts was made to take stock of the status of kharif production and prospects for rabi. The September rainfall has improved the kharif prospects but it was too early to assess its full impact. This was discussed with State Agricultural Commissioners and Secretaries in the Rabi Conference. Officers from Department of Agriculture & Cooperation are also visiting States to get a feel of ground level situation and validate the estimated losses so that a more realistic estimate is brought out. It is expected that the 1st Advance Estimate shall be finalized by 15th of October.
During the ensuing rabi season, the States conveyed that an additional area of 12-15 lakh hectares shall be covered under boro and rabi rice in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh which is expected to result in additional production of 3.5 to 4.0 million tones. Under Pulses additional area of 15 lakh hectares in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh would be covered resulting in additional production of around 1.0 million tonne. Under oilseeds, additional area of 10.0 lakh hectares in the States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu is likely to give additional of production of around 1.2 million tonne. Efforts would also be made to increase the area of wheat by about 5.0 lakh hectares in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh but the major focus in case of wheat would be to enhance the productivity. It is expected that with these efforts the country will have about 2.0 million tones more wheat in the current season. The area under maize, rabi sorgum and other coarse cereals is also likely to increase by about 10.0 lakh hectare in the States of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat resulting in additional production of about 1.5 million tonnes. Thus a target of about 8.0 million tonnes additional foodgrains and about 1.2 million tonnes of oilseeds has been finalized for the current rabi season keeping in view the shortfall in the kharif season.
(i) Early district level Rabi Planning with emphasis on increase in area & productivity.
(ii) Ensuring timely and adequate availability of certified/quality seeds of location specific high yielding varieties in wheat growing areas.
(iii) Ensuring timely sowing of wheat. Sowing of wheat should be completed by November end.
(iv) Popularization of cultivation of HYVs of durum wheat in the States of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Punjab.
(v) Encouraging the balanced use of fertilizers as per soil tests with increased use of organic manures, bio-fertilizers and micro-nutrients.
(vi) Propagation of use of soil ameliorants like gypsum in the soil with high pH and lime in soil with low pH.
(vii) Promoting the use of water saving devices/techniques.
(viii) Promotion of zero till seed drills, seed-cum-fertilizer drills, strip drill, raised bed planter, rotavators, diesel-pump sets, etc.
(ix) Promoting integrated weed management for the control of Phalaris minor involving cultural and mechanical measures together with the need based use of herbicides; and
(x) adoption of integrated disease management especially for karnal bunt, loose smut and rusts; etc.
The States of Punjab & Haryana should phase out older varieties like PBW-343 and PBW-502 with varieties like DBW-17 and PBW-550 possessing high yield potential.
II Rabi / Summer Rice
(i) Increase Rabi Summer / Boro rice area to compensate loss of production in Kharif.
(ii) Raise nurseries in the middle of December near lift irrigation points and other water sources.
(iii) The available ground & surface water may be utilized more efficiently for Rabi/Summer rice production;
(iv) Timely supply of certified seeds of early duration and recently released high yielding varieties may be ensured; and,
(v) Timely and balanced use of fertilizers along with organic manures and micro-nutrients in deficient areas may be advocated particularly in the states of Assam, Bihar, Orissa etc.
(vi) Timely planting is important for higher productivity.
(vii) Promote improved varieties / more minikits : Have a special seed plan for boro rice.
(viii) Increase area of boro / summer rice in West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Puducherry and Karnataka.
III Rabi Jowar
(i) Encouraging the cultivation of new hybrids and high yielding cultivars of jowar.
(ii) Encouraging inter-cropping to minimize risks and realize additional production.
(iii) Emphasizing pest management through IPM with need based use of pesticides; etc.
(iv) Increase area under rabi maize in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
(v) Increase area under Rabi jowar in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
(vi) Improve productivity by promotion of hybrids, higher doses of fertilizers.
(vii) Protection from shoot borer by appropriate use of pesticide and timely planting.
IV Rabi / Summer Oilseeds
(i) Encourage seed treatment with fungicides.
(ii) Increase use of sulphur @ 25 / 30 kg /ha to increase productivity.
(iii) Ensure timely sowing.
(iv) Target higher area under Rabi /Summer Groundnut in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Rajasthan to compensate for loss of production in the kharif season.
V Rabi Pulses
(i) Area under Rabi pulses needs to be increased specially in rice fallows in Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal.
(ii) The Rabi pulses area can be increased in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, U.P., Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as deficient rains have left large areas unsown.
(iii) There is urgent need to promote short duration varieties in place of long duration varieties.
(iv) Seed treatment with fungicides and rhizobium culture is extremely important for better crop and higher productivity.
(i) Protective life saving irrigation may be augmented by additional diesel pump sets along with boring, repair of irrigation channels & State tube wells and extending diesel subsidy. Micro-irrigation systems need to be popularised.
(ii) Additional power made available should be utilised only for agricultural purposes.
(iii) Adopt short duration alternate / catch crops in unsown areas in affected states.
(iv) Application of bio-fertilizers(rhizobium culture), green manure, vermi compost and NADEP compost may increase productivity to the tune of 20-30%.
(v) No seed should be sown without fungicide treatment.
(vi) Services offered by agriculture universities and services of subject matter specialists at KVKs/KGKs and Kisan Call Centers should be fully utilised for conveying advisories to farmers.
(vii) Arrangements for immediate short term crop loan for the farmers may be initiated.
(viii) Seed Treatment – No sowing without seed treatment should be ensured.
(ix) Application of sulphur @ 25 to 30 kg / ha will increase productivity.
(x) Foliar spray of 2% urea must be done.