Hyderabad: With the Food Corporation of India (FCI) deciding not to procure paddy in ‘Yasangi’ (summer) season, authorities in Telangana are urging farmers to go for alternative crops.
Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar has urged the seed companies to procure and stock adequate quantities of seeds for alternative crops like pulses and oil seeds.
Kumar on Sunday held a meeting with seed companies as per the instructions of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Representatives of 36 seed producing companies attended the meeting. The Chief Secretary urged the seed companies to make available adequate stocks of the seeds to farmers. Officials have said that crops like groundnut, green gram, black gram, Bengal gram, caster, bajra, sesamum and oil seeds have good potential in the state during Yasangi.
All the District Collectors will hold a meeting on Monday with Agriculture and the Horticulture Department officials and scientists to discuss alternative crops in view of the decision by FCI not to procure paddy during the next summer season. Awareness will be created among farmers on alternative crops in the Yasangi season through 2,603 ‘Rythu Vedikas’ in agriculture clusters. Intensive campaign will be conducted from October 27 to 29 at cluster level on alternative crops with farmers and Agriculture Extension Officers.
State Agriculture Minister S. Niranjan Reddy had claimed last week that due to the Telangana government’s persistent efforts, farmers across the state were taking up alternate crops on a large scale. He said sufficient seed stocks have been made available at the field level.
The state government has consistently been encouraging farmers to take up cultivation of alternate crops based on market demand and not focus only on paddy cultivation. The Minister told a review meeting that majority of the farmers were opting for pulses and oil seeds. Peanut and chana dal seeds are being available in adequate quantities in tune with the demand. He claimed that compared to the past, farmers were much more interested in cultivating millets, castor oil, sesame and mustard.
Telangana, which is the largest producer of paddy, is facing a significant challenge in initiating a change in cultivating pattern following the FCI decision. The state produces 1.5 crore tonnes of coarse rice every year (in two seasons). An estimated 21 lakh farmers in the state grow paddy.
Officials point out that the state is already facing problems in paddy procurement during the current ‘Vanakalam’ (rainy season). The Centre’s decision not to procure more than 25 lakh tonnes of boiled rice has come under criticism from the state.
Civil Supplies Minister, Gangula Kamalakar has alleged that the Centre is discriminating against Telangana in procurement of boiled rice. He claimed that the Centre procured 1.13 crore tonnes of boiled rice from Punjab.
During Vanakalam, paddy is being cultivated on 55 lakh acre in the state and authorities expect a yield of 1.40 crore tonnes. However, FCI is willing to purchase only 60 lakh metric tonnes.