This year farmers have preferred cultivation of commercial crops to food grains in Yadgir district. Most of the farmers have already sowed crops such as cotton, chilli and sugarcane instead of paddy, green gram or groundnut.
Almost 92 per cent cultivation in the district has been completed. According to the Agriculture Department sources, the target set for cotton sowing this season was 49,500 hectares, but as on August 30 the cotton was sown in 57,676 hectares. Earlier, most of the farmers used to grow paddy as two rivers as Krishna and Bhima flow in the district.
Although the cultivation of paddy was banned in the Krishna command area, several migrated farmers from Andhra Pradesh cultivate paddy violating the government order. Excessive use of water in the upper parts of the canal leading to deprivation of water to the farmers in the tail-end areas had prompted the government to ban the paddy cultivation in the Krishna command area.
However, various reasons seem to have worked together in making local farmers drift away from paddy cultivation in the district in the recent years. Due to insufficient water release into the Narayanpur reservoir, most of the farmers could get only one crop due to shortage of water in the canals.
Moreover, this year too, the paddy sowing was delayed and second crop would be difficult, the farmers explained.
The price fall of paddy, tur, and green gram during the harvesting season has also influenced farmers to shift to commercial crops. During 2010, commercial crops were grown only in 28,180 hectares.
However the cultivation area of commercial crops shot up to 54,330 hectares in 2012. This year it could cross 70,000 hectare, the official sources said.
The statistics available with Agriculture Department clearly indicated a paradigm shift from food grains cultivation to the commercial crop cultivation in the district in the past couple of years.
Apart from key factors like availability of water, yield and profit, shortage of agriculture labourers could be another key reason for the shift in the district. But even now the farmers have to transport the cotton they grow to Raichur market for selling.
Cotton has been fetching good price, but the farmers of the district have to spend much on transportation.
The textile park proposed to be set up in the district may lessen the burden of cotton transportation for the farmers in the coming years.