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Surge in green gram cultivation in traditional belt

The price of green gram this time is expected to reach Rs 9,000 per quintal. However, there is a demand for setting up procurement centres early to prevent distress sales and to remove caps on procurement under MSP.
Last Updated : 14 June 2024, 21:46 IST

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Hubballi: Green gram, a protein-rich pulse, has seen a remarkable surge in cultivation in its traditional belt in the Gadag and Dharwad districts, and its sowing area across the state has remained almost stable. This comes amid growing concern about cash crops being more favoured over food grain across the state. 

Rain-fed black soil areas of these two districts together form around 40% of the green gram cultivation area of the state. Green gram sowing depends on pre-monsoon showers and the initial phase of southwest monsoon.

The pulse is a short-duration crop, with yield for only around 75 days, thus finding favour among farmers.

Conducive weather conditions and increased soil fertility are among other reasons why green gram is widely cultivated in the region.

As a result, after tur, green gram has become a major pulse grown in Karnataka.

“Being a short-duration crop, it helps farmers go for a second crop early. The price is also good and stable. Sowing usually ends by around June 15, as late sowing affects the yield,” said Agriculture Department joint director (Gadag) Taramani G H. 

Green gram cultivation had taken a hit due to drought in 2023 and poor pre-monsoon showers in 2019. Good pre-monsoon showers have created enough moisture, which means several farmers have sowed green gram even before the onset of the southwest monsoon this year. Green gram sowing season is in its final stage now.

Farmer Ashok Neeralagi of Hebasur village, who has sowed green gram, says cultivation costs could add up to Rs 8,000 per acre or more than Rs 20,000 if the land is on lease.

The price of green gram this time is expected to reach Rs 9,000 per quintal. However, there is a demand for setting up procurement centres early to prevent distress sales and to remove caps on procurement under MSP.

“If rain is favourable, we can grow up to eight quintals of green gram per acre, after which we grow Bengal gram in rabi season. We could not sow them last year due to lack of rain,” he said.

The agriculture department projects green gram will be cultivated on 1.25 lakh hectares in Gadag and 67,150 hectares in Dharwad.

With the distribution of seeds and sowing, the state appears on track to meet the goal. From 2016 to 2023, the actual sowing area exceeded the target on the majority of occasions. 

According to agrometeorologist R H Patil, being a leguminous plant, green gram makes the soil fertile, and unlike maize or chilli, allows for the early sowing of the rabi crop.

“Green gram plants survive adversities except waterlogging. The fertiliser requirement is less and it is disease-resistant. Thus, the production cost is low and mechanised harvesting facility is possible, making it less labour-intensive. Hence, it is a relatively assured crop in rain-fed areas. It is a good crop for areas having 400 mm to 800 mm annual rainfall,” Patil added.

The agriculture department has a target of cultivating green gram on 3.99 lakh hectares of land in the state. It expects 1.49 lakh tonnes of production, with an average yield of 380 to 400 kg per hectare. Interestingly, the average yield in the state is highest in the Dharwad district, with an average of 544 kg per hectare.

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Published 14 June 2024, 21:46 IST

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