By admin       2016-09-02

Sep 1, 2016 - AHMEDABAD: With the prices of tur dal and other pulses going through the roof, nowadays their rates range between Rs155 and Rs180 a kg, farmers in Gujarat are increasingly choosing to sow pulses. The land area in which tur, urad and other pulses are sown in the state has risen by around 60% from last year. This year, the area in which pulses have been sown is 6.499 lakh hectares while last year this was 4.14 lakh hectares. Not just pulses but land area sown with groundnut, an oilseed crop, has increased in the state. After several years, farmers are again showing interest in groundnut farming. Officials in the agriculture department said that farmers are leaving cotton and now moving back to their traditional favourite, groundnut, or turning to farming of pulses. The are several reasons for the increase in cultivation of pulses. The Union government has increased the minimum support price (MSP) for dals by Rs 200, from Rs 4,300 to Rs 4,500 per quintal. Further, delayed sowing because of the late arrival of rains has also made farmers switch to pulses. In Gujarat this year, groundnut has been sown on 16.33 lakh hectares against the 10-year average acreage of 13.93 lakh hectares. This indicates that the area sown with groundnut had increased 117% the land area in which the crop was sown earlier. Last year, groundnut was sown on only 12.94 lakh hectares. Simultaneously, cotton has shown a declining trend. This year, cotton was sown on 23.82 lakh hectares against the 10-year average average of 28.21 lakh hectares. This represents just 84% of the usual cotton average. Sanjay Gadhiya, a farmer from Gadhada village in Paddhdhari taluka of Rajkot district, said that he had gone in for early sowing of cotton but later realized that the crop had been infected with pink bollworm. "I decided to remove the undeveloped cotton crop and replace it with tur and soyabean. I have removed the cotton crop from all the 12 bighas. The reason for going in for tur and soyabean is that they they fetch good price in the market. I wanted to make up for the earlier loss," Gadhiya said. R K Siyani, professor of agriculture economics at Junagadh Agriculture University (JAU), said that farmers are opting for pulses because they get good prices for their crops compared to cotton for which the minimum support price is low. "Farmers have realized that pulses fetch better price. Also, the relatively late sowing this year also favours pulses," Siyani said. VP Chovatia, director of research, JAU, said the farmers always go in for crops whcih fetch good returns. "In cotton, farmers have been suffering huge losses for the past two years because of pink worm. Also, the support price for dal and groundnut is much higher that cotton's," Chovatia said.

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