'5.97 lakh hectares converted to non-agri purposes in 10 years'

Last Updated 13 September 2016, 18:31 IST

Karnataka Agriculture Price Commission Chairman T N Prakash Kammardi said 5.97 lakh hectares of agricultural land in Karnataka has been converted to non-agricultural purposes in the last one decade.

He was speaking to mediapersons after holding a meeting with the officials from Agriculture, Horticulture Departments and scientists of research centres, here on Tuesday.

Kammardi said the commission had conducted a scientific study on shift in cropping pattern in Karnataka and the solution for improving the cropping pattern. The commission will submit its report to the state government shortly. The study has shown that on an average, 60,000 hectare agricultural land has been converted to non-agricultural purposes every year in the state in the last one decade, he added.

He said the commission has conducted a scientific integrated study on the development in farming sector, area of expansion of crops in all the 30 districts in the last 10 years. The report has recommended a few measures to contain the use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes.

Kammardi said there has a been a drastic change in the selection of crops in the past one decade. The area under sugarcane crop has increased by 117%, while that of paddy has been decreased by 11%, ragi too has too seen a downward trend by 25%. The area under arecanut and maize has increased by 40% each. The farmers have shown interest in cultivating arecanut, maize and BT cotton in the last one decade, he explained.

Stating that 5,923 hectare agricultural land in Dakshina Kannada district has remained outside the ambit of farming in the last 10 years, he said the area under horticultural crops has been increased by 17,306 hectares. While the area under arecanut has increased by 9,000 hectares and coconut by 2,127 hectare, the plantain cultivation in the district has increased by 11% and cashew cultivation by 17%. However, the mango cultivation in the district has decreased by 12%, he noted.

Kammardi said monsoon was normal in major parts of the country. Hence, the production of pulses may be better As a result, the price of pulses are likely to come own. But the production is likely to be affected by deficit rainfall, he added.

Normally, the price goes up if there is a decline in production and drops if there is a glut in production.

“But the possibility of both drop in yield and slash in prices are staring at us since several states in the country are bound to see an increase in production due to good monsoon unlike Karnataka, which is reeling under drought-like conditions.

Agricultural produce from such states is bound to arrive in Karnataka’s markets leading to reduction in prices.”

Crops that are likely to be affected by reduction in yield as well as slash in price are paddy and various pulses including tur dal and bengal gram. The commission has written to the government suggesting a need for a close watch on the situation and provide minimum support prices to pulses if their prices drop drastically.

The condition will improve, however, if there is an improvement in rainfall in Karnataka. A meeting to discuss on farmers who grow pulses in the state will be held shortly by the state government, he said. 

The commission hasalso suggested to the state government to constitute Federation of Pulses Growers’ Organisation to protect the interest of pulse growers in the state, on the lines of Karnataka Milk Federation.

(Published 13 September 2016, 18:31 IST)

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