India: New crop pattern for drought-hit districts

The state government is promoting crop patterns suitable to drought-hit Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, and is roping in agriculture research council and universities to provide crops with shorter life-cycle to sustain agriculture in the dry belt.

According to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, “Along with soil health card, we are emphasising on district-wise crop pattern to ensure higher yields and better renumeration for farmers. New experiments had become inevitable in the wake of growing financial investments with no assured returns making agriculture a risky venture.”

Apart from corrective steps, the agriculture department, along with research centres are working with groups of farmers to take up short-cycle crops suitable to the soil, and regulate water usage, he said. Adopting scientific methods would help minimise financial risks in the agro-sector.

Horticulture crops account for 17.63 per cent of national production. The eight diverse agro-climate conditions, like make in Maharashtra a suitable destination for horticulture mission. It includes fruits, flowers, tuber crops, aromatic crops, spices, and medicinal plants.

According to a report from the agriculture ministry, “Total area under horticulture approximately works out to 2.5 million hectares with production of 17.5 million metric tonnes. State has highest grape production (60%); guava (13%); sweet orange (49%); strawberry (87%), banana (14 %) and mangoes 21 % among others. Vegetables can cover 600,000 hectares with estimated production up to 8.5 to 9 million metric tonnes. Floriculture, making inroads under protected ambience, has covered 260 hectares.


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