Big jump in soyabean area in Vidarbha
** Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti who had been advocating food crops instead of cash ones. Pulses like moong and urad help boost soil fertility while jowar, bajra provide food security to farmers. But ignoring all this, cash crops are still preferred," Tiwari lamented.**
NAGPUR: Amid reports of drought-like situation prevailing in 102 of the 355 talukas in Maharashtra with even sowing not taken up for kharif crops, Vidarbha region is faring better. Good rains in last one week have brought cheer to farmers. In Amravati division, of the 32 lakh hectares of cultivable land sowing was completed in 98% of the area. In Nagpur division, it has just crossed 70% mark, official sources said on Friday.
Surprisingly, soyabean cultivation has taken a big jump in western Vidarbha's districts of Yavatmal, Akola, Amravati, Washim and Buldhana - from last year's 7.93 lakh hectares to 12.9 lakh hectares this year. However, according to farm activists, shrinking area of food crops like jowar and bajra and also pulses like moong and urad is a cause of concern.
Amravati divisional joint director of agriculture Ashok Lokhande confirmed that soya crop area had gone up substantially this season. "This could be mainly because of the delayed rains. Soya crop is shorter duration of around 100 days. While cotton takes over 150 days for harvest. Early returns and high price of around Rs4000 a quintal that soya now commands could have gone in its favour for farmers who normally keep shuffling between the region's two main crops.
"Overall kharif situation is very good in Amravati division which has received its average rainfall in June as well as July," said Lokhande. In fact, heavy rains early this year, according to preliminary reports, caused damage to crop in 19,000 hectares and eroded soil in 20,746 hectares," said the senior officer. He also noted that while area under tur dal was constant at 3.80 lakh hectares, that under urad and moong had shrunk. More remarkable was shrinkage in jowar area from 4 lakh to 2 lakh hectares this time and that of bajra from 9700 hectares to a mere 2500.
"This mass shifting to soya driven by commodity exchange could cause problems later as the commodity price is sure to drop to around Rs2000 at harvest time three months from now," said Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti who had been advocating food crops instead of cash ones. Pulses like moong and urad help boost soil fertility while jowar, bajra provide food security to farmers. But ignoring all this, cash crops are still preferred," Tiwari lamented.
In Nagpur division, of the 18 lakh hectares total cultivable land, sowing has been completed on 12.25 lakh hectares. Here, there is an increase in cotton area, up from expected 2.11 lakh hectares to 4.3 lakh hectares. Soya has been sowed on 5.10 lakh hectares compared to 6.28 lakh hectares last year. Tur has been sowed in 1.52 lakh, slight increase from last time. More rains are needed for paddy transplantation, said an official.