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PUSA-44 paddy variety

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 

Context: The Punjab Chief Minister has announced a ban on the cultivation of the PUSA-44 paddy variety starting next year.

  • PUSA-44 was developed in 1993 and gained immense popularity among Punjab’s farmers, covering 70 to 80 per cent of the state’s paddy cultivation area due to its high yield.

 

The reasons behind the ban on PUSA-44:

  • Extended Maturity Period: PUSA-44 has a longer maturity period, requiring around 160 days to mature, which is approximately 35 to 40 days longer than other paddy varieties.
  • Water Conservation: Punjab faces severe groundwater depletion, and the government aims to conserve one month of irrigation water by banning PUSA-44.
  • Stubble Burning: PUSA-44 exacerbates the problem of stubble burning in Punjab. Its harvesting just before the ideal time for wheat sowing (typically at the end of October) leaves a limited timeframe of 20 to 25 days for stubble disposal before wheat sowing.