Water scarcity compels shift in crop pattern

 Incessant decline in groundwater levels in the district has forced authorities to advise farmers thrifty use of water. This, in turn, has led farmers to opt for a change in farm produce.

The number of borewells going dry is increasing by the day, while those that still give water show little signs of surviving for long.

As a result, many agriculturists who grow horticulture crops are leaving their land barren, unattended to.

A few others, in contrast, have preferred to move from growing crops like tomato and potato to cultivating pumpkin, watermelon and pomegranate, which require much lesser water supply. Many farmers in Bangarpet and Malur taluks have already succeeded in this novel venture, and are beaming, proud to show such crops they have managed to grow.

Change in produce

“I had grown pumpkin three years ago. Then, I grew tomato and potato once. Now, with such little water for the fields, I cannot grow either crop. As a result, I returned to growing pumpkin, as it takes far lesser water,” said Hanumegowda, a farmer from Mangasandra in Kolar taluk.

Speaking to the Deccan Herald correspondent and explaining the steps taken by him, Hanumegowda said, “Every row of the tomato and potato crop needs ample watering. Also, the expenditure is high for the crops. About one acre of these two crops requires an investment of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000. In contrast, I need spend only about Rs 10,000 for the pumpkin crop.”

He added that the farmer can also save on transport if the crop is pumpkin. “The vendors themselves come to our farms to pick up the loads of vegetables,” he said, adding, “The rate for one tonne of pumpkin is about Rs 8,000.”

Expertspeak

H Manjunath, assistant director of the Horticulture Department explained that another difference between growing pumpkin and growing tomato was the space taken up by the crops.

“The tomato rows are at a distance of about three feet. The saplings too are planted one-and-a-half to two feet away from each other. Pumpkin is grown in creepers and needs a distance of about three-and-a-half feet between the saplings,” he said.

“The number of gourds is far lesser than the number of tomatoes per sapling, which is another reason for the lower level of water requirement,” added Manjunath.

Grants

The assistant director, who concurred that many farmers in the district were moving towards crops that consumed lesser water, said the Department was already informed that the farmers growing pomegranate required financial assistance.

“There are many farmers in Manighatta in Kolar taluk as well as Tekal, Masti and Kenchapura in Malur taluk who are growing pomegranate. The produce too is expected to be pretty high this time,” he said.

“In the backdrop of the fall in groundwater level in the borewells all over Kolar district, the farmers in the district are shifting from conventional crops to commercial crops. This is definitely a welcome change,” Manjunath opined, adding, “We just hope this will inspire more farmers to take up such options, as it will benefit not just them, but also the district as the pressure on the water supply via borewells will reduce considerably. Agricultural activity, however, will only continue as normal, unaffected.”

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry