THANKS to the good price fetched by arhar (tuar) and the special emphasis by state government on increasing the area under pulses, the area of the crop has increased by over 46 per cent compared to last year in the state.
The crop was sown on 8.5 lakh hectare (ha) compared to average area of about 12 lakh ha. This year, the area has gone up to 13.94 lakh ha, according to statistics provided by Agriculture Commissioner Vikas Deshmukh.
“And, we still have 10 per cent of sowing to go in paddy areas of Vidarbha and Konkan. So, the area under the crop will go further up by a few thousand hectare,” Deshmukh told The Indian Express.
Deshmukh added, “The state government has also been emphasising on promoting pulses by spending over Rs 2,500 crore on a ‘demonstration and distribution’ programme by selecting plots of about 100 ha each in selected villages and providing free inputs to farmers.”
In Vidarbha, the government has been promoting arhar crop on the paddy bunds too as a kind of intercrop since the last few years.
Apart from arhar, moong (green gram) and udid (black gram) sowing has also gone up taking the overall area under pulses from 14.9 lakh ha last year to 23.5 lakh ha. The average area under pulses in the state is 21.82 lakh ha.
“Good price fetched by the crop is the most important factor behind this growth,” Deshmukh added.
The increase in pulses is mainly at the expense of cotton, whose area has come down from an average of 41 lakh ha to 36 lakh ha, Deshmukh said.
The bulk increase — happened in Amravati division of Vidarbha with the average arhar area of four lakh ha — has gone up from 3.91 lakh ha last year to 4.91 lak ha, an increase of one lakh ha. The division, which is the state’s main cotton bowl, has seen a drop in cotton area from 9.5 lakh ha last year to 8.7 lakh ha this year. Soyabean has dropped from 15.35 to 14.30 lakh ha.
Among the crops that yielded area to pulses are also cereals and soyabean, according to Joint Director (Agriculture) S R Sardar.
In Amravati, moong has gone up from 78,000 ha last year to 1.1 lakh ha this year. Comparative udid figures are 54,800 and 1.01 lakh ha.