December 8, 2021 5:55:10 am
GRAM IS emerging as the crop of choice of farmers this Rabi season as the cultivators have sown the pulse crop in 8.25 lakh hectare — the highest acreage for any crop so far this Rabi season.
The surge in acreage comes in the backdrop of Centre increasing the minimum support price (MSP) of chana to Rs 5,230 per quintal, good market prices of this crop last year and regular procurement by the government over the last five years. As per the latest data released by the state agriculture department, farmers have sown gram or chickpea in 8,25, 872 hectare. It is more than 177 per cent of the last three year’s average acreage of 4.66 lakh hectare (lh) and more than 1.5 lakh higher compared to 6.60 lh sowing area reported during the corresponding week last year.
It is also marginally higher than the last season’s total sowing area of 8.19 lh, the data shows, with at least three more reporting weeks to go in the season.
The 11 districts of Saurashtra region account for 6.66 lh or around 80 per cent of acreage of this crop so far this year. Eight districts of central Gujarat region have reported gram (also called chana) sowing in 90,700 hectare (ha) followed by 57,900 ha reported from six districts of north Gujarat.
Within Saurashtra, Rajkot has emerged as the single largest chana district with a sowing area of 1.08 lh followed by Amreli and Junagadh with 99,400 ha and 95,500 ha respectively.
Data suggests that the surge in chana acreage is coming apparently at the expense of wheat whose acreage stands at 7.51 lh or just 63 per cent of last three year’s average area of 11.89 lh. The largest drop in wheat acreage is reported from Saurashtra where farmers have planted this crop in 3.15 lh as compared to 3.96 lh during this time of the year last season. Junagadh is a traditional belt of wheat and coriander but acreage of these two crop is lagging at 65,700 ha and 22,000 ha respectively.
Acreage of cumin seeds, another important Rabi crop of the state, is also low with area under this spice crop reported to be only 2.37 lh or merely 55 per cent of the last three year’s average of 4.34 lh. The largest drop is again being reported from Saurashtra where the acreage stands at 1.58 lh so far this season as compared to last year’s corresponding figure of 2.36 lh.
North Gujarat, an important belt of cumin seeds, has also witnessed a slide in the acreage of this spice seed crop with its acreage standing at 54,600 ha as of now as compared to last year’s corresponding figure of 90,900 ha.
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