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Hyderabad: Focusing on cultivation of crops alternative to paddy, the State government will encourage farmers to take up cultivation of cotton, pulses and oil seeds across Telangana during the ensuing Vaanakalam (Kharif) season. In this regard, the State government successfully completed 17 agriculture workshops for farmers across 32 districts from April 25 to June 24.

In a statement here on Sunday, Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy said the alternative crops like cotton, red gram, green gram, black gram, groundnut, sesame, sunflower and other crops, would be good alternatives to paddy cultivation. The government is promoting oil palm with plans to encourage cultivation in about 20 lakh acres.

“The agriculture workshops organised by the government were aimed to give a new direction to alternative crop cultivation in the State,” he said. He stated that the paddy crop cultivation has increased manifold due to enhanced irrigation sources, but the State government was organising the farmers meets to explain to them about the adverse effects of excess paddy production and encourage them to cultivate remunerative crops.

Due to the proactive measures taken by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, the cultivation area has increased from 1.34 crore acres in 2014 to 2.03 crore acres in 2021. Accordingly, the paddy cultivation too has increased from 45 lakhs tonnes in 2014 to around three crore tonnes by 2021. Further, the State government is providing them with financial support under Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima insurance coverage and also free and uninterrupted power supply among others.

The Minister asked the officials to take all measures and organise awareness programmes to farmers at the field level. He wanted the officials to conduct field visits and guide the farmers. He emphasised the need to reduce excess usage of fertilisers which would damage the soil and instead, suggested them to use green manure as well as Phosphate Soluble Bacteria (PSB) among others.

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Author: Howard Caldwell