Hyderabad: A 53-year-old farmer’s confidence to be different from others is yielding results besides encouraging other ryots in Sangareddy to shift to the cultivation of alternative crops. Agriculture officers have been appealing to farmers to cultivate alternative crops insted of paddy. Unlike many farmers, Maashetti Havappa from Chapta B village of Kangti mandal in Sangareddy shifted to alternative crops.
“Initially, I too was not confident but I took up a pilot project of cultivating Sesamum as the second crop in Yasangi. The move yielded results as I reaped good profits,” said Havappa. Agricultural extension officer G Santosh had indeed made efforts to convince Havappa to switch over to Sesamum.
Havappa, who owns five acres, raised Sesamum as the second crop in Yasangi in 10 guntas and earned a profit of about Rs 13, 275. Next year, he took up Sesamum cultivation as the second crop in Yasangi covering 20 guntas and his profits shot to nearly Rs 28,000. In 2020, he took up the cultivation of Sesamum in one acre and earned a profit of Rs 52,000 as the yield was about 480 kg.
“With paddy cultivation, the profit was anywhere between Rs 22,000 to Rs 25,000 per acre depending on the yield. This time, I will go for sesamum cultivation in three acres. It is more profitable,” Havappa said. Save for the initial work such as tilling and sowing seeds, there is not much effort required later for alternative crops, except for watering, he says adding that farmers do not have to try anything new and can cultivate crops using traditional farming practices.
The prime difference between cultivating paddy and other alternative crops is input cost and labour involvement. While the input cost per acre for cultivating Sesamum is about Rs 4,900, it would be about Rs 22,000 to Rs 27,000 depending on the area and climate conditions, he explains. Apart from an input cost, the labour required for cultivating paddy is very high, when compared to cultivating Sesamum. For paddy cultivation, the effort for tilling, puddling, seed sowing, fertilisers, irrigation and harvesting is very laborious, he says.
Cultivating pulses and oilseeds can be very profitable in lands, which are predominantly rain-fed. For small and marginal farmers, taking up alternative crops will help in reaping good profits, informs Havappa. Another striking aspect is the cushion to store stocks post-harvest. Unlike paddy, farmers can store pulses and oilseeds stocks even at their houses. Influenced by Havappa, farmers in the neighbouring villages of Chapta K, Babulgaon, Tadkal and others are now planning to take up Sesamum cultivation as the second crop during the ensuing Yasangi season. “About a dozen farmers in the neighbouring villages have decided to take up Sesamum cultivation. I am guiding them based on my experiences,” he said.
Apprehensions of farmers
Despite the input cost for cultivating pulses and oil seeds being less compared to paddy and other crops, many farmers are hesitant to take up cultivation of alternative crops.
During interactions with farmers, most of them expressed doubts over demand for these crops in the market. Lack of awareness is another factor, says G Santosh, Agriculture Extension Officer from Tadkal cluster, Kangti mandal of Sangareddy. “However, we are creating awareness among farmers and clearing their apprehensions on all issues, including marketability and seeds availability. This apart, farmers are being trained on taking up alternate crops using best farming practices,” he said.
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