‘Farmers should be trained on marketing and cropping patterns.’
The increased extent of cultivation and sharp increase in production of a few major crops as a result of the State government’s supportive steps has brought both joy and fear, as marketing of such a larger quantity produce would pose a major challenge, stated Minister for Agriculture S. Niranjan Reddy.
Speaking with the officials from the agriculture and marketing departments on the procurement of yasangi (rabi) crops here on Tuesday, the Minister said that it was the government’s duty to educate the farmers on market dynamics and cropping patterns based on market research and assessment.
They had named Ernst & Young, an agency with experience in the region, to assist the government in advising farmers on market conditions and recommending crops with demand in national and international markets.
The Minister suggested further changes in the State’s cropping pattern, urging farmers to increase cotton, groundnut, and red gramme cultivation as the current cropping pattern could cause serious marketing problems in the future. He also stated that the Centre was rumoured to be preparing to delegate some responsibilities related to agricultural marketing and procurement.
Following government advice, he reported that cotton was grown on approximately 61 lakh acres during the 2020 kharif season. It could be raised further because the quality of cotton produced in the state was among the best in the world. Similarly, red gramme was planted on a large scale (11 lakh acres), and farmers earned a higher price than the support price in the open market.
He urged farmers to increase cultivation of superfine varieties of paddy during the kharif (vanakalam) season, as production of common grade paddy was far exceeding demand. Superfine varieties were planted on approximately 20 lakh acres of the roughly 54 lakh acres of paddy cultivated.
The storage capacity, according to the Minister, is now 65 lakh tonnes, and the government is planning to construct another 40 lakh tonnes of warehousing space with the support of the Central Warehousing Corporation.
This yasangi (rabi) season, paddy was grown on nearly 53 lakh acres, with a production estimate of 1.32 crore tonnes. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) was required to procure 80 lakh tonnes, with traders willing to buy an additional 20 lakh tonnes. Another ten lakh tonnes will be consumed and used as crop.
The Minister advised paddy farmers to get their produce by adhering to moisture and chaff quality specifications.