Creating a brighter future
Through the use of regulatory farming, Telangana is working to empower and enrich its farmers as it works towards becoming the ‘Rice Bowl’ of India
A survey conducted by the Government seems to have decided that a majority of farmers are in favour of regulatory farming in Telangana. This is a good augury. The Government which has already announced its policy in favour of this will stand in support of farmers. Agriculture will abundantly benefit through regulatory farming leading to the creation of over Rs 1 lakh crore worth of wealth and wealthy farmers.
The existence of Telangana and its 65 lakh farmers are intertwined with agriculture besides having many who indirectly depend upon it. This unorganised sector was neglected in the united AP government as a result of which farmers suffered enormously in the past. After the Telangana state was formed thanks to umpteen welfare measures taken by the Government, the situation improved to a great extent.
The Telangana Government has made several attempts to bring in a much-desired change in the farm sector, and it is still doing work in this direction. The Government is solving every problem of the agriculture sector in the State one by one. Major irrigation projects are getting completed. By next year monsoon season, water will be visible everywhere. There is round the clock quality power supply to be had as well.
CM KCR has reinforced through various platforms that much more needs to be done to improve their lot and make agriculture not only mere remunerative but highly profitable. This would ensure that Telangana is shaped into the 'Rice Bowl' of India. Towards this direction CM envisaged a new agriculture policy.
This presupposes, in the words of CM KCR, that the practice of every farmer preferring the same crop should be done away with. The main reason why farmers are not getting a competitive price for their produce is that they are cultivating the same crops. Henceforth, the Department of Agriculture will suggest the kind of crop to be grown in a particular field in a regulatory manner. They will also identify the suitability of the soil for a particular crop that would lead to better yield in a given season.
The State's past regimes did not bother about the agriculture sector. Now the situation has drastically changed in the State. Water for irrigation is reaching every nook and corner of the State. Due to a 24-hour power supply, cultivation is taking place under the borewells too.
Even for those who habitually prefer paddy, the scenario is that the farmers are going in for the coarse variety, as the cultivation period is less whereas the majority of people only eat the fine variety of rice. This variety has great demand in other states and countries too. Now that there is sufficient provision of water facilities for irrigation, farmers should cultivate more of the fine rice variety.
Telangana Sona rice brand is developed by the Telangana agriculture scientists. This variety of rice is good for diabetes patients. Agricultural experts have identified this as a sugar-free variety of rice. The glycaemic index percentage is low in the Telangana Sona variety.
Groundnut, red gram and oil palm have great demand in the market. Also, we should identify other such crops. Then it has to be decided to what extent the land available can be used to grow these crops. Fruits and vegetables are scarce in the State. It requires a detailed study on what percentage of the lands should be used to cultivate them. However, there should be an attitudinal change among the farmers to cultivate the crops which are in demand in the market and which are in tune with the eating habits of the people.
The Government has now firmly decided that paddy should be cultivated in a regulatory manner beginning with this monsoon season. CM KCR reiterated that the endeavour was to get the farmers Rythu Bandhu support and to make them get a competitive price for their crops. He declared that only by cultivating the crops that have demand in the market would the farmers would get a good price. He said that the Agriculture Department and Agriculture University will guide the farmers in this regard.
Last year in the State during monsoon, paddy was cultivated on about 40 lakh acres of land. This time also it is proposed that paddy should be cultivated on the same extent of land. Last year, cotton was cultivated on 53 lakh acres. This year it would be increased to 70 lakh acres. Red gram was cultivated on 7 lakh acres last year. This year it would be on 15 lakh acres. Soya bean, turmeric, chilli, vegetables and other such crops like in the last year, would be cultivated in the same extent of land. Farmers producing a variety of seeds should continue their efforts.
It is felt that maize cultivation is not beneficial during the monsoon and hence should not cultivate during the season. Maize can be cultivated during rabi. Those cultivating maize during the monsoon will be switching over to cotton and grams. It is desirable if the farmer is cautious about paddy varieties. It is advisable to cultivate those varieties, which have demand in the market like the Telangana Sona variety. Cluster wise farmers' conferences to create awareness among farmer about the regulatory farming methods are being organised to explain the vision of the Government.
The Government has further decided to set up Seed Regulatory Authority in the State. Since it was decided that crops, as identified by the Government, would be cultivated, seeds of the crops identified by the Government would be sold.
Against this backdrop, there should be a change in the use of fertilisers and pesticides. Since farmers have no proper knowledge on the matter, they should also be informed that crops which use more fertilisers will not have any demand in the international market.
The writer is the Chief Public Relations Officer to the Chief Minister of Telangana. The views expressed are personal