May 15, 2012 admin


LUDHIANA, MAY 15:-“To boost vegetable and fruit production, it is imperative to adopt improved varieties and methods of water and fertilizer application,” emphasized the Soil and Water Engineering (SWE) experts of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU). 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 quantum of water, said the experts.
Dr A.K. Jain, Head of SWE, said that fruits and vegetables require frequent but lower amounts of irrigation water. Water and fertilizer management are two vital factors which can improve the productivity, he stressed, adding that this can be achieved only by introducing advance irrigation methods like drip irrigation.
The PAU expert Dr K.G. Singh divulged, “Fruits and vegetables are cultivated in approx. 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.” Educating the farmers about the benefits of drip irrigation method, he highlighted that it not only improves the water productivity, but also results in arresting the 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 added.
Another expert, Dr Rakesh Sharda, said that with the drip irrigation methods, the overall irrigation efficiency of 80-90% can be achieved whereas in conventional methods of irrigation, the overall water use efficiency is not more than 40%. He told that in drip irrigation, the 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 crop yield and better quality of produce. 
Highlighting the advantages of the drip irrigation system, the expert 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 fertilizers), 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 numerous advantages of drip irrigation system,” he added.
Various training programmes are organized by the PAU, for the farmers, on different aspects of dip irrigation, said the experts, informing that the interested farmers can contact the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) for the training.

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