Amid the labour scarcity and higher cost woes of farmers in Punjab, at least 17 farmers in the Baddowal village in Dharamkot sub-division joined the bandwagon of progressive farmer Gurjant Singh by adopting mechanised paddy transplanter, which needs mere three persons to plant paddy crop.Gurjant (62), who cultivates paddy on 35 acres, was the first person in his village to have bought the paddy transplanter in 2013 and with the help of his two sons— Arshdeep (20) and Rajpal Singh (25)— successfully managed to transplant paddy seedlings on five acres in a single day, while, generally it takes 20 persons of manual labour to do the same job.He said that before adopting this technology, they used to suffer due to the scarcity of labour and had to shell a hefty amount on their wages. “Including all the expenses of petrol, labour and seedlings now sowing paddy in one-acre costs paltry Rs 700, while the same work used to cost not less than Rs 4500 per acre when we get it done from the labourers,” Gurjant said.He said that moreover, fields sown with transplanters give four to five quintals more yield per acre than manually planted fields.
Divulging the details, Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Moga Paramjit Singh Brar said that to encourage farmers to adopt this technology the Punjab government has been providing a subsidy of Rs 1.40 lakhs on the paddy transplanters.He said that after Gurjant, at least 17 other farmers in the Baddowal village followed him and purchased paddy transplanters. He said that over 800 acres of paddy in this village are now being sown using transplanter.Dr Brar appealed the farmers take maximum benefit of subsidy being provided by the government and use the technology to transplant paddy instead of spending a hefty amount of labourers.Dr Jaswinder Singh Brar, Agriculture Officer Plant Protection (AOPP) said that this paddy transplanter is easy to use and it sows about 33 seedlings per square metre that too in uniform order which result into producing a high yield. He said that manual labour could manage to only plant 17-18 seedlings per square metre.Meanwhile, Block Agriculture Officer (BAO) Dharamkot Sukhdev Singh was also present on the occasion.