He was addressing the 5-day zero budget natural farming workshop at Kufri near Shimla by the State Agriculture Department under the guidance of Padam Sri Subash Palekar.
The state Agriculture Department has set up seedling hubs under farm mechanisation that are efficient in transplanting paddy seedlings with the help of transplanter machines.
According to sources in the department, each seedling hub consists of ‘trays’ in which paddy seeds are sown and seedlings are prepared on mats that can be set on a paddy transplanter machine for sowing in rows automatically. Each machine costs around Rs 3 to 3.20 lakhs along with trays. About 50 per cent of the cost is funded by the state Agriculture Department. As informed by sources, each of these machines can transplant paddy seedlings in one bigha in 20 minutes and one such hub can cover more than 100 acres in a season.
The method is economical as the cost of transplanting is less than rupees 1200 per bigha, half of manual transplanting and production is higher as row distance is fairly maintained, according to official sources. The farm machinery is said to have gained much popularity and is considered efficient after ‘Power Tillers’ and ‘Combine Harvesters’ shaping agriculture technology used by farmers. As reiterated by official sources, several thousand such seedling hubs have been set up across West Bengal in recent years