Rain brings cheer to groundnut farmers

The on-going monsoon showers are good news for Gujarat farmers, especially those who grow groundnut in the Saurashtra region. Its 61 per cent rainfall so far is adequate to sow the crop in 14,04,900 hectares.

State agriculture department officials said the region recently sowed 100 per cent groundnuts after two years, which is expected to increase with strengthening of the monsoon in the coming weeks.

Though the sowing is good this year, officials said there has been a decline in sowing since 2007 when the production of groundnut has also taken a beating.

In 2007, the yield was around 1,700 kg per hectare, which has gone down to 1,300 kg per hectare in recent times. The land under groundnut cultivation also shrunk considerably during the period.

Deterioration of land fertility coupled with erratic rains has contributed to the falling groundnut yields, agriculture experts said. They also claim that the quality of seeds used has been poor.

"The groundnuts are smaller in size and some of them turn out to be empty. Over the years, fertility of the land has decreased resulting in bad and low yield," pointed out an official of the state agriculture department.

The department of agriculture’s official data stated that sowing was already completed in 36,59,900 hectare as against the average cultivable land of 36, 15,500 hectare in the region. 

Bajra, sesame, guvar and vegetables have also been sown besides groundnuts due to early monsoon, which has helped widespread sowing in June.

While moderate rain has continued in eight districts in the region, farmers said that the light drizzles are favourable for the crops.

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