Tandrust Punjab Mission, the flagship programme of State government has served its purpose in a big way by successfully safeguarding the soil health through optimising the use of chemical fertilizers, informed KS Pannu, Director Tandrust Punjab Mission.Giving details, Pannu 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 82000 tonnes to 13.75 Lac tons in Kharif 2019. The cumulative reduction in usage of Urea within two years of launch of Tandrust Punjab Mission is 168000 tonnes, said he and added that this has resulted in rendering savings of Rs. 100.80 crores to the farmers.Pannu futher 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 the Paddy crop.
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 a sum of Rs. 82.50 crore in 2019 with total savings by avoiding the usage of DAP being to the tune of Rs.197.50 crore.Generating savings of Rs. 100.80 crores on urea and Rs 197.50 crore on DAP, Tandrust Punjab Mission has managed to successfully retain nearly Rs.300 crore in the farmers kitty coupled with preserving soil health.This reduction in cost for curtailing the use of fertilizer does not include reduction in the cost of labour to add the fertilizer in the fields, said Pannu.Detailing the modus operandi for curtailing usage of chemical fertilizers, he said print media advertisements were taken up on a large scale in the State to make the farmers aware about the advantages of optimum use of fertilizer and electronic media campaign was launched through IFFCO. Besides, a large number of field camps were organized with the farmers and the dealers of fertilizers to ensure that the farmers add only the recommended dose of fertilizers. Moreover, TV and Radio talks were undertaken to achieve the objective. Regular meetings too were held at the State level by Secretary Agriculture with fertilizer companies and district heads of Agriculture Department to monitor the campaign, said he.