May 14, 2012 admin


LUDHIANA, MAY 14: “Fruits and vegetables are cultivated in nearly 67 thousand hectare and 183 thousand hectare area of Punjab state, respectively. Although, India occupies second position after China in production of fruits and vegetables, yet the productivity levels are quite low. To boost vegetable and fruit production, it is imperative to adopt improved varieties, and improved methods of water and fertilser application.” Expressing these views, the experts of the Department of Soil and Water Engineering (SWE) of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) emphasized that the need of the hour is to economize water, to bring more area under irrigation, reduce the cost of irrigation on unit land and increase the yield per unit area and unit quantity of water. Dr A.K. Jain, Head of SWE, said, “Water and fertiliser management are two vital factors which can improve the productivity. This can be achieved by introducing advance irrigation methods like drip irrigation.”
            Informing farmers about the benefits of drip irrigation, the PAU expert Dr K.G. Singh, highlighted that it not only improves water productivity, but also results in arresting water logging and secondary salinisation problems of the canal command areas. Besides, it checks the receding water table and deteriorating water quality in the command areas. He told that in drip irrigation, water is applied directly to the root zone in slower and frequent amounts to keep the soil moisture in desirable range for plant growth. Such direct application results in uniform growth of plants, higher yield and better quality of produce.
Another expert, Dr Rakesh Sharda, noted that with the drip irrigation methods, the overall irrigation efficiency of 80-90% can be achieved whereas in conventional methods of irrigation, the water use efficiency is not more than 40%. He informed that conventional irrigation has several disadvantages such as loss of nutrients through leaching beyond root zone, water stress on plant due to water scarcity and water logging.
Highlighting the advantages of the drip irrigation system, Dr Sukhdarshan Singh said that apart from water saving and increase in yields, drip irrigation saves labour, electricity/fuel bills (44-47%) and land. “Efficient and economic use of fertilizers (25 to 30% saving of fertilisers), less weed growth, no soil erosion, flexibility in operation, easy installation, suitable to waste lands and all types of land terrain and minimum diseases and pest infestation are some of the advantages of drip irrigation system,” said Dr Singh.
The farm engineering experts told that the government provides subsidies to the farmers for the installation of the drip irrigation system. The university regularly organizes training programmes for the farmers on different aspects of dip irrigation. The interested farmers can contact the local KVKs for the training, they informed.

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