Hyderabad: Telangana is all set to cross another milestone with the gross production value of agriculture and horticulture crops in the State for the current 2020-21 crop year expected to touch the Rs 1 lakh crore, up by Rs 10,942 crore from the 2019-20 figure of Rs 89,058 crore.
The State witnessed a whopping 2.09 crore acres being brought under cultivation during the combined period of Vaanakalam (Kharif) and Yasangi (Rabi) seasons. The total area under cultivation for a year increased by over 50 per cent within a short span of seven years, from 1.4 crore acre in 2014-15 to 2.09 crore acres in 2020-21. There is an increase of 21 lakh acre in total crop sown area this year when compared to 1.88 crore acre in 2019-20.
Agriculture Department officials attribute the increased cultivation area as well as the resultant increase in gross production value largely to improved irrigation facilities and various other schemes like Rythu Bandhu being implemented by the State government for farmers.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown too played a role in the sudden surge in the cultivation area. People who own agriculture lands and had lost other source of income shifted to crop cultivation as it was one of the primary occupations that were allowed to function even during the lockdown period to ensure that there was no shortfall in foodgrains,” a senior official from the department told Telangana Today.
It may be recalled that the State had set a record of sorts in crop sown area during this Yasangi season with the area under cultivation increasing to 65 lakh acres. Paddy alone is being cultivated in nearly 50.5 lakh acres which is expected to result in an yield of 1.25 crore tonnes for the Yasangi season. Paddy production during the Vaanakalam season was around 1.3 crore tonnes this year with a total crop sown area at 1.44 crore acres. The total paddy production this crop year is estimated at 2.55 crore tonne, and Agriculture Department officials say the current paddy cultivation in the State was the highest for Yasangi (Rabi) season anywhere in the country.
Interestingly, farmers in the State are slowly but surely shifting from paddy to alternative crops. Following the instructions of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, agriculture officials are focusing on encouraging farmers to grow alternative crops especially horticulture like vegetables, fruits, and spices to diversify crop cultivation rather than solely depending on paddy, cotton and other traditional crops. They have set a fresh target to increase the cultivation of horticulture crops from existing 12.5 lakh acres to 66 lakh acres over the next five years.
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