Red gram on paddy bunds boosts ryots income in Telangana

He said that before the advent of KLIS waters, they were cultivating only rain-fed crops, but now they are cultivating commercial crops such as carrots and vegetables along with paddy.
Nagarjun take stock of red gram grown on the bund of a paddy field in Siddipet district
Nagarjun take stock of red gram grown on the bund of a paddy field in Siddipet district

SANGAREDDY: An innovative agricultural approach has surfaced in the wake of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation (KLIS) waters, promising additional benefits to farmers cultivating paddy crops.

Nagarjun, an enterprising agricultural  extension officer, has championed the practice of cultivating irrigated dry (ID) crops on the bunds of paddy fields in the Siddipet Assembly constituency. This pioneering strategy not only ensures extra income for farmers but also nurtures the soil’s fertility, optimising conditions for robust paddy growth.

Previously confined to cultivating ID crops before the advent of KLIS water, Nagarjun foresaw the detrimental effects of continuous mono-cropping on soil health. Introducing the concept of inter-cropping, he recommended growing red gram on the bunds. This dual-purpose approach not only enriches the soil but also fulfils household red gram needs. 

Initially, many farmers did not show much interest, but after seeing one or two farmers getting up to 1.5 quintals of pulse which helped them make extra money after keeping a part of it for domestic consumption, they too changed their mind.

At present, farmers are cultivating red gram as an inter-crop in about 80 acres. A farmer in Lakshmidevipally Ramachandram said that red gram is growing well and also strengthening the bunds.
He said that before the advent of KLIS waters, they were cultivating only rain-fed crops, but now they are cultivating commercial crops such as carrots and vegetables along with paddy.

“In the beginning, we used to grow red gram but its cultivation came down lately. The agriculture department officials suggested that he cultivate red gram on the bunds of his paddy field. When we did, we found that the yield of red gram was good. I sold a quintal of red gram in the market after keeping enough for my household needs,” he said.

Ramachandran said that the red gram crop is an additional income for them. Farmers from Narayanaraopeta, Banjarupally, and Upperpally villages are cultivating red gram crops on bunds now. “Red gram leaves, when they fall into the fields, become mature and increase soil’s fertility,” he said.

Nagarjun said that once in every three to four days he inspects the fields and suggests if any precautions need to be taken. “The cultivation of ID crops has come down due to the farmers focusing only on growing paddy and vegetables for the last three to four years, which will cause a shortage of pulses in the future in this area,” he said.

The ID crop grown on bunds of the farmlands reduces the intensity of wind blowing across. This would help the paddy field as sometimes winds carry the spores of the fungi which may infect the crops. He said that the farmers should always look for alternative crops since growing the same crop over and over again would soon erode the soil of its nutrients and make it less fertile.

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