Aided by good monsoon, paddy transplantation in West Bengal has picked up over the last fortnight.
Delayed monsoon and the resultant dry spell in key paddy producing districts of south Bengal, had led to a dip in transplantation activity in the State. Transplantation is the process of transferring seedlings that are grown in seed-beds into the field soaked with plenty of water.
The West Bengal Government is now hopeful of achieving its cultivation target this year.
The State Government has set a target of sowing paddy on an area of close to 42.9 lakh hectares in 2012-13, up from 41.3 lakh hectares in 2011-12. Bengal produces about 14.5 million tonnes of paddy each year in three seasons — aus, aman and boro.
Typically, the process of transplantation begins within 20-25 days of sowing. Sowing begins in June.
According to a senior official in the State Agriculture Department, as on August 14, the State was able to achieve 100 per cent of its transplantation target in north Bengal.
In south Bengal, the transplantation is close to 70 per cent of the targeted area. This is a significant progress when compared with the scenario till July 27 when transplantation took place in 25 per cent of the targeted area (59 per cent in north Bengal and 17 per cent in south Bengal).
The targeted area of coverage in north Bengal is about nine lakh hectare, while that in south Bengal is close to 34 lakh hectare this year.
“We had set August 15 as our deadline to review the situation. Now with improved sowing, we are hopeful of meeting our target by the end of this month,” the official said.
Close to 603 mm of rainfall between June 1 and August 15 in West Bengal saw the State being categorised as receiving normal monsoon, according to information available on the IMD Web site. The release of water from dams such as DVC, Kangsabati and Mayurakshi, also aided transplantation, the official said.
Delayed transplantation is likely to lead to aging of seedlings which impact crop yield. The State Government is planning to educate farmers to tackle such a situation.
“We have issued instructions to the deputy directors of all districts to provide technical know-how to farmers to counter the problem,” he said.