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Government pushes for zaid crops to mitigate Kharif deficit

The recent focus on zaid crops has paid off well as area under cultivation during this period has been on rise since last few years. As compared to kharif sowing which is being done across 107 million hectare, zaid planting, mostly pulses, is done across less than 2 per cent of that area.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 18, 2020, 10.37 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: The government plans to mitigate the deficit in pulses production during kharif season through a strong push for short duration zaid crops, which are sown between February- June, intervening period between Rabi harvest and Kharif sowing.

“We are targeting to plant mainly pulses like urad and moong across 4.9 million hectare - up by 75 per cent from last year’s acreage of 2.8 million hectare. Reports of crop damages of pulses have come from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka due to excessive rains and floods. We are encouraging farmers to use the fallow land for zaid crops,” said a senior agriculture department official.

According to the trade body, India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), there will be an estimated 30 per cent shortfall in moong production and 50 per cent in urad production. The government also expects a drop of 10 per cent in the pulses production this year from target of 26.3 million tonnes.

The recent focus on zaid crops has paid off well as area under cultivation during this period has been on rise since last few years. As compared to kharif sowing which is being done across 107 million hectare, zaid planting, mostly pulses, is done across less than 2 per cent area only. During Kharif and Rabi, pulses planting is done across 12 million hectare and 14 million hectare respectively.

“In 2017-18, 2.1 million hectare were sown which went up to 2.8 million hectare last year and now we expect to touch 4.9 million hectare. Since many farmers had bad kharif harvest, they are likely to plant pulses for zaid,” he said.

The zaid crops need dry weather with availability of irrigation facilities for a good harvest. The planting for shorter duration crops starts from February and last till April so that the land gets ready again for kharif sowing in June after monsoon sets in.

“Due to good rains, the water storage in 120 major reservoirs is 155 per cent more than last year – an ideal situation for irrigation based zaid farming. Also, cultivation of legumes like pulses between Rabi and Kharif sowing restores nitrogen in the soil – vital for fertility,” he said.

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