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Hyderabad: The State government would focus on cultivation of cotton and red gram as an alternate to paddy during the upcoming Vaanakalam crop season this year. For this, the Agricultural Extension Officers (AEOs) have been directed to conduct field visits, identify suitable lands through soil testing and create awareness among farmers to shift to alternate crops which would be profitable for them.

During the preparatory meeting for the upcoming Vaanakalam (Kharif) crop season chaired by Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy here on Monday, the officials were directed to focus on promotion and cultivation of alternate crops. Apart from cotton and red gram, the government will encourage cultivation of chilli, vegetables and other horticultural crops on a large scale.

To reduce the investment on paddy cultivation, farmers will be encouraged to adopt the sprinkling method where they sprinkle the seeds rather than growing nursery and transplanting the saplings which is expensive as well as labour intensive. Further, measures would be taken to encourage usage of green and livestock manure to improve soil fertility.

Speaking at the preparatory meeting, Agriculture Minister Niranjan Reddy urged farmers to avoid excess usage of fertilisers. As soil in Telangana had phosphorus contents, the farmers were advised to reduce usage of DAP and other fertilisers containing phosphorus. Instead, they were asked to use organic fertilisers which contain phospho bacteria.

The Minister also directed the officials to keep adequate stocks of fertilisers and seeds ready for distribution. He wanted them to conduct soil tests extensively and advice farmers on crops that should be cultivated in those soils as well as use fertilisers only as per requirement.

“The State government is keen to bring a visible change in farm operations in the State and ensure that farmers earn the profits for their hard work. Farmers are requested to sow crops in their lands as per the advice of the Research and Analysis Wing of the Agriculture department,” he added.

Education Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy, Labour Minister Ch Malla Reddy, Rythu Bandhu Samithi Chairman and MLC Palla Rajeshwar Reddy, Agriculture Secretary Raghunandan Rao, Special Commmissioner Hanmanthu, Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University vice chancellor Praveen Rao and others participated in the meeting.

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Author: Howard Caldwell