Baisakhi: Celebrating the Harvest of Punjab
Baisakhi is here and 7.8 million hectares of Punjab farmland are adorned with farmers in colourful clothing celebrating their harvest festival. People in a joyous mood dancing to the tunes of the traditional dhol in their immensely popular dance style – Bhangra! This is truly a time of much cheer in the food bowl of India.
Baisakhi marks the harvest festival of Rabi crops in the northern region of India. And Punjab, which has played a pioneering role in Indian agriculture, leads the festival celebration.
Punjab’s primary Rabi crops are wheat and barley, which are considered the staple food for every home in India. Our country is the second largest producer of wheat and close to 43% of this is grown in Punjab.
So how do the farmers of Punjab manage it?
Over time, farmers in Punjab have rightly invested in farm mechanization. The state is home to 11% of India’s tractors – that is one tractor for every 9 hectares of cultivated land in Punjab. Tractors can greatly enhance farm productivity when it comes to tilling the land, sowing and harvesting the crop.
Agriculture Machinery Service Centres (AMSCs)
Small-holding farms make up a significant portion of Punjab’s farmland and owning farm machinery for small-scale farmers is difficult. But the state has several Government-aided AMSCs which allow farmers to rent farm machinery at the time of sowing and harvesting and providing even micro and small-scale farmers access to mechanisation.
Irrigation and Power
Irrigation is crucial to the growth of grain crops. It can take anywhere between 500 to 4000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of Wheat. But with over 95% of irrigated farmland in the state, Punjab makes an ideal location for growing grain crops.
Accessibility to continuous power lends a unique benefit to the irrigation efforts. Farms in Punjab have the highest power supply available. The average power supply of Punjab farms is 2.6kW/ha, almost 70% more than the country average. Power supply enables farmers to run heavy machinery required for threshing, winnowing and milling the grain.
In India, we consume over a 100 million tonnes of wheat in a year, and the crop plays a vital role in managing food security of the country and in our daily meals. From delicious phulkas to sandwich bread, wheat is an essential part of our diet no matter which corner of India we hail from. It is the harvest of Punjab that makes it all possible.
Let us all wish the hard-working farmers of Punjab a Very Happy Baisakhi!