Farmers are queuing up for purchase of pigeon pea (tur) seeds in Karnataka’s Kalaburgi, the major growing region of the pulses variety in the South. Short duration varieties such as GRG-811 and GRG-152, that are resistant to diseases such as wilt and sterility mosaic virus, are in great demand attracting the interests of farmers even from neighbouring States.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Kalaburgi, which started sales of these disease-resistant varieties, developed by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Raichur, from May 27 has notched up sales of ₹1 crore on a single day on Tuesday. With the price trend in tur being bullish, the acreage under the pulses variety is set to rise in the key growing regions.

Farmers queuing up for disease reistant variety of tur seeds at KVK Kalaburgi ahead of the sowing season

Farmers queuing up for disease reistant variety of tur seeds at KVK Kalaburgi ahead of the sowing season

“There is a massive demand for pigeon pea seeds right now. KVK Kalaburgi has hit a milestone by selling 60 tonnes of pigeon pea seeds worth over ₹1 crore on a single day,” said V Venkatasubramanian, Director, ICAR-Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Zone 11, Bengaluru.

Acreage to expand

Raju Teggelli, Senior Scientist and Head of KVK Kalaburgi, said the improved varieties are popular as they are of short duration and are resistant to wilt and sterility mosaic virus. KVK Kalaburgi had increased the production to about 110 tonnes from previous year’s 40 tonnes. “Over the past three days, we have sold most of the seeds on good demand,” he said. Pigeon pea seeds are sold at ₹179 per kg in a 5-kg bag, up from ₹159 per kg last year.

Teggelli said the tur acreage will likely expand in the adjoining districts of Kalaburgi such as Bijapur and Yadgir this year.

The sowing of pigeonpea is yet to start on a full scale as most of the key growing regions have received scattered pre-monsoon rains. “The area may rise this year, but prices of inputs such as seeds and fertiliser have gone up. The government should provide some support to the farmers to deal with the rising inputs” said Basavaraj Ingin, President of Karnataka Pradesh Red Gram Growers Association.

The Karnataka Agriculture Department is targetting an acreage of 15 lakh hectares for tur in the kharif 2024-25 cropping season. In the last kharif season, the area under tur in Karnataka was 13.63 lakh hectares. Erratic rainfall and the spread of wilt had impacted the tur output last year in Kalaburgi.