Agri Business

Cotton, paddy, redgram gain in Telangana

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on July 05, 2021

Spurious seeds, lack of institutional credit irk farmers

Encouraged by copious monsoon rains and comfortable water levels in various irrigation projects, farmers have kicked off the kharif sowings on a promising note. Cotton seems to be the biggest gainer, followed by paddy, redgram and soyabean.

According to the latest figures available, farmers have sown cotton in 26 lakh acres as against the as-on-date area of 18 lakh acres last year, showing an additional interest in farmers to grow the crop that is projected to have good demand in the domestic and international markets.

While redgram is sown in 3.18 lakh acres so far, which is one lakh acres more than the area sown the same day last year, soya is sown in 1.95 lakh acres so far (1.66 lakh acres last year). Maize is sown in 1.04 lakh acres so far as against 1.26 lakh acres sown the same day last year.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao recently asked the farmers to increase the area of cotton to at least 70 lakh acres (from over 60 lakh acres last year) as the commodity had good demand in the market. He also wanted them to reduce the excessive focus on paddy, while increase the acreage of crops like redgram that have good demand.

“It is likely that cotton will cross the 70-lakh acre mark this kharif. Soya too is likely to gain,” S Malla Reddy, Vice-President of All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), told BusinessLine.

Challenges

He said the farmers are beset with several challenges. “With the loan-waiver payouts to the banks are getting delayed, the farmers are not able to get access to bank loans. Moreover, only 40 lakh farmers out of the total 60 lakh farmers in the State are able to get loans from banks,” he said.

The remaining farmers are being forced to depend on private lenders at exorbitant interest rates. He alleged that the banks are not following a Reserve Bank of India directive that mandated them to give loans to at least 100 near customers every year.

The problem of spurious seeds also poses a serious challenge. “The Government have booked over 250 cases against those who are selling spurious seeds. But no action has been taken,” he alleged.

Additional acreage

With the State augmenting irrigation sources, the total cropped area in the State has reached 1.35 crore acres, prompting the farmers to grow water-intensive paddy in vast stretches. The fact the Telangana’s paddy production topped 3 crore tonnes last year, which is nearly five times more than the State’s paddy output five years ago.

In the just concluded Rabi season, the Civil Supplies Department had procured a record 91 lakh tonnes. Seeing a glut in the market and poor demand in neighbouring States, the Chief Minister asked the farmers to cut the paddy acreage and increase the focus on cotton and pulses.

Going by the initial reports, cotton is going to gain significantly. “But it is unlikely that the farmers will cut down on paddy area. Assured irrigation facilities and income through procurement process will continue to encourage farmers to grow paddy,” a farmer’s leader said.

The cotton area, which used to be around 42 lakh acres three years ago, continues to grow in the State. The area went up to 54 lakh acres in 2019 and 60 lakh acres in 20120.

Published on July 05, 2021

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