By admin       2019-02-11

Once known for being a haven of the lesser-grown millet crop, Zahirabad has seen a record-decrease in millet production in recent years. The lack of government support for the millet crop has led to an overturn in sowing practices of the region in the last decade.In 2008, farmers in Zahirabad area irrigated millets in 4,359 hectares against 310 hectares of cotton. At present, farmers have irrigated cotton in 5,890 hectares against millets in a meagre 150 hectares.​ Small-scale scale farmers of over 75 villages of Jharasangam, Raikode, Nyalkal and Zahirabad mandals were engaged in cultivating millet. In particular, the Deccan Development Society (DDS) encouraged the dalit women farmers of the area to cultivate millets and was quite successful initially. DDS also tried to tell the outside world about the importance of millets by inviting celebrities to various festivals organised to celebrate the crop. “Farmers are struggling because the government neither announces a minimum support price for millets nor allots purchasing centres for the crop. In addition, farmers don’t get seeds on credit from the traders,” says Cherukuri Jayasree, director of the DDS. She also said that millets are much more rich in nutrients and the government should set up purchase centres. Mohammad Akhtar Hussain from the area told Express, “Only few farmers began to cultivate millets in the village and rest of the farmers sowed cotton. As a result, birds would often eat up the grains.”The cultivation of millets and cotton in Raikode mandal was equal and currently, cotton is being irrigated in 10,787 hectares against 98 hectares of millets. Farmers irrigated millets in 2,960 hectares against 473 hectares of cotton in Nyalkal mandal in the past and now, farmers irrigate cotton in 6,640 hectares against 400 hectares of millets.

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