As the total cropped area increased significantly, Telangana is all set to see a record output of over one crore tonnes of paddy in the rabi season.

For the 2020-21 agricultural season, the total paddy output would be 2.5 crore tonnes as kharif, too, saw a significant increase in area.

In the rabi season, the paddy area went up to 52 lakh acres, going up by one-and-half times the normal area of 22 lakh acres. “This could yield about one crore tonnes, taking the total output in the two seasons to 2.5 crore tonnes. At 52 lakh acres, the State tops in paddy area in the season,” B Janardhan Reddy, Secretary (Agriculture), Government of Telangana, told BusinessLine.

The paddy area went up by three times ever since the State was formed in 2014. “From, 35 lakh acres in two seasons in 2014, the paddy area crossed the one-crore acre milestone this year,” he said.

crop regulation

The State, which has experimented with regulated cropping system in the 2020-21 agricultural season, asked the farmers to grow paddy on 50 lakh acres on assured irrigation facilities.

The farmers, however, didn’t pay heed to the diktat on maize. While the Government asked them not to grow maize at all, they went ahead and grew the crop on 4.5 lakh acres against the normal acreage of four lakh acres.

Though it procured the maize output as a ‘one-time gesture’ in the kharif, the Government told the farmers it was not going to buy maize in the rabi.

Uncertainty over procurement

There, however, is uncertainty with regard to procurement for the rabi season. The State had indicated that it might not procure paddy (and maize) this time as a fallout of the introduction of the new Farm Acts.

The State procured all of the kharif output (paddy and maize) from the farmers in their respective villages to help them overcome the logistics issue during the lockdown.

“The Government has indicated that it is not going to open procurement centres this season. They are saying the output is going to create a record but there is no mechanism for farmers to sell their produce,” S Malla Reddy of Telangana Rythu Sangham said.

He said the problem with the rabi rice was that the State had to sell the produce to other States.

“We don’t consume the rice that we produce in the rabi. The kharif output itself is sufficient for us. We export about 10 lakh tonnes of rabi rice to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Bangladesh. We need to focus on showing marketing channels to farmers to clear the stocks,” he said.

Diversify, says Govt

Though it has decided to do away with the State-mandated cropping system from next year, the Government wants the farmers to factor in the demand for different crops, while going ahead for sowing in the upcoming kharif season.

“They should keep an eye on the demand-supply equation vis-a-vis different crops and grow the crops that are in demand,” Janardhan Reddy.

Instead of focusing on paddy more, they need to look for alternatives such as pulses, vegetables and fruits to make better use of the additional irrigation facilities that the State had created.

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