Khammam: Agriculture officials in Khammam district as also those across Telangana State are finding it difficult to propose a better alternative to paddy as an ideal crop for farmers.
The irony is that the official call against paddy cultivation came at a time when plenty of water is available in Khammam district as a result of the completion of various projects like Mission Bhagiratha and the Bhakta Ramadasu Lift Irrigation Project and a good flow of water from the NSP left canal. Paddy is a water-intensive crop.
There is a chance of extending irrigation water to every acre in Khammam and Bhadradri-Kothagudem districts after the completion of the Sitarama Lift Irrigation Project.
There is no alternative proposal in the annual crop list for a crop that requires a lot of water, like paddy. Paddy is being raised in almost all the mandals in Khammam district over an extent of 2.60 lakh acres.
The Mission Bhagiratha has increased the ayacut in various tanks and minor irrigation projects.
Khammam horticulture officer G Sandeep said, “Converting paddy fields into palm oil or banana plantation is not an easy task. It requires three years to change the crop pattern. The paddy fields have to be tested whether these will be good for raising palm oil plantations. Further, providing infrastructure such as seedlings is not an easy job. India does not have the seedlings and is importing this from Indonesia and Malaysia”
The Telangana government has discouraged farmers from cultivating maize since 2019. Farm officials are advocating cotton now. Some of them are planning to shift cultivation to chilli.
An official in the agricultural department recalled the video conference meeting of Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekawat recently with officials of irrigation, agriculture and horticulture of all states. “The Central minister ridiculed state officials when they referred to the completion of various irrigation projects in Telangana.”
The Union minister asked them what and where was the crop pattern plan for Telangana when the Centre was asking it not to raise paddy. The Union Minister has also referred to a call he made to chief minister KCR while he was in New Delhi on the issue of rice lifting and expressed the Centre’s inability to lift boiled rice from the state. The farming officials and irrigation officials of Telangana were stunned at this.”
Maharashtra is being considered as the best in the matter of implementing the best pattern of crops, and this is followed by Tamil Nadu.
Devarapalli Harikrishna, a software engineer cum farmer said, “Telangana has to go for a new-look on its crops and it should be evolved after studying the benefits of cultivation of various crops and their demand world-wide. Palm oil can be the best alternative and Soyabeans can also be a good crop. Other alternatives too should be explored because of the availability of water in Khammam as well as Telangana with the completion of various irrigation projects.”...