Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI: With the kharif sowing season badly hit by delayed and deficient monsoon rains, the Centre has advised States to go in for moisture conservation for rabi and adopt water-saving technologies such as zero tillage and intercropping.

On Saturday, at the State Chief Secretaries’ Conference, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh advised States to go in for oilseeds and pulses plantation as part of advance rabi preparations.

Parts of Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, and Assam have been affected.

For rabi, Punjab and Haryana have been advised to adhere to the recommended time frame for the sowing of wheat. Both the irrigated States have been asked to take concerted steps for conservation of water. Punjab farmers could sow taramira in September as an early rabi crop. Himachal Pradesh farmers may grow rabi maize in hills and wheat in plain/valley areas.

Bihar, which is one of the worst-affected States, has been asked to go in for medium to late varieties of wheat, pulses like chickpea and maize as the major rabi crops.

Jharkhand, the other State that has a majority of districts affected by deficient southwest monsoon, has been advised to grow niger and toria in fallow uplands during September 2009. In addition it could plant pulses.

Uttar Pradesh has been advised to go in for rabi pulses and wheat as the main crop in western parts with special attention to adequate soil moisture conservation measures as well as zero tillage technologies for sowing. In eastern U.P., the ridge and furrow intercropping system could be adopted for rice with pigeon pea for conserving moisture. Medium to late varieties of wheat may be adopted in this region, besides short duration pulse crops.

Moisture conservation

In central U.P., moisture conservation measures must be strictly followed to undertake assured rabi crops such as wheat and pulses. In Bundelkhand region, farmers must go in for suitable moisture conservation measures as a prime activity and chickpea could be taken as a rabi crop.

Maharashtra, a rabi sorghum region, has been advised to go in for better crop management through ridge and furrows and compartmental bunding, particularly in the Sholapur region. For Vidarbha, cultivation of chickpea and safflower has been recommended during rabi. In Marathwada, farmers have been advised to undertake moisture conservation measures and to sow traditional rabi crops.

In the rich Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, farmers have been advised to go in for wheat and chickpea. In eastern Madhya Pradesh, wheat (variety Sujata), mustard (Pusa Bold), chickpea (JG-315) linseed (J-23), safflower (JSF-1), and barley (K-605) should be promoted. Chhattisgarh should go in for rice fallow pulses.

Rajasthan has been asked to take steps to sustain micro watershed development and rainwater harvesting, while Gujarat farmers could go in for sowing wheat and pulses in a planned manner.

Orissa farmers could sow pulses as the main rabi crop. Seeds of recommended variety should be made available well in advance, while Jammu could take wheat as the main rabi crop.

For the black soil area of Andhra Pradesh the recommendation is sowing of rice fallow areas with chickpea during rabi.