Chandigarh, July 17 : Prompted by the success in curtailing fertiliser usage in the kharif crops, 'Tandarust Punjab Mission' will now focus on restraining the usage of urea, a senior functionary said on Tuesday.
The usage of Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertiliser in the kharif crops has come down by 29 per cent.
Mission Director K.S. Pannu said a strategy of "awareness, motivation and compliance" would be adopted to make farmers aware of the bad effects of excessive use of urea in kharif crops.
"Goaded by the lust to get more yield or in a bid to keep up in race of quantum of fertilisers used by fellow farmers or simply due to ignorance, farmers tend to use nearly twice the required quantity of urea in the fields.
Instead of two bags per acre of neem coated urea recommended by PAU (Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana), farmers are using three to five bags," Pannu said.
He said during the kharif season, paddy is sown in 30.65 lakh hectares in agrarian Punjab and controlling the use of urea could result in saving nearly Rs 200 crore.
"Urea consumption registered for the same is about 10 lakh tonnes which is 3.15 lakh tonnes over and above the recommended quantity," the director said.
"The excess urea adversely affects the soil health by increasing the toxicity.
It makes the crops susceptible to diseases and above all it burns a hole in the pockets of the farmers by increasing the input cost," he said.
"Tandarust Punjab Mission aims at putting Rs 200 crore being spend on excess urea purchase, back into the farmers kitty," he added.
He said an extensive awareness campaign would be undertaken where farmers would be guided about the optimal usage of urea.
This would be followed by motivational interactions and field visits to the farms of progressive farmers adhering to the advice of the experts.
Lastly, strict compliance with the norms via laid down guidelines will be ensured, Pannu said.
Punjab contributes nearly 50 per cent food grains to the national kitty despite having just 1.54 per cent of the country's geographical area.