CHANDIGARH: The wheat yield in Punjab is under a cloud. Farmers are tense as the most popular wheat variety – HD 2967 – appears set to give a low yield this year as seed germination is at least 40 per cent less than usual.
Sources said the HD 2967 variety has approximately covered 50 per cent of the 35 lakh hectares under wheat cultivation in Punjab this year. Till last year, it used to cover roughly 75 per cent of the area.
With the wheat sowing season -- October to November 20 – ver, farmers have been complaining that germination of HD 2967 seeds was 30-40 per cent less, so a bumper yield was unlikely.
“This year, we sowed this seed but germination was less than 60 per cent. I contacted the agriculture officer of my area as I had bought four quintals of seed from PUNSEED, a government firm,” said Avtar Singh Sandhu, a farmer from Qadian.
He said that after his complaint, a three-member team from PUNSEED and a four-member team from the agriculture department visited his fields. After a recce, they apparently told him he had been supplied old seeds, which was why germination had been poor, and that he would be compensated for his losses.
Sources said the issue was taken to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh by Congress leader Amardeep Singh Cheema. After this, the state agriculture department has an inquiry.