Largely available in winters only, the poor man’s almond groundnut may now remain in circulation round the year in the state.
For the first time, farmers in the state will try their hands at growing summer groundnuts from the coming season beginning March.
The agriculture department will not only motivate and train farmers for this task but also partially bear the cost. Administrative approval to the project has already been accorded a few days ago.
At present groundnut, a kharif crop, is sown in July and harvested in October-November. The zaied (summer) crop will, however, be sown in March and harvested in May-June.
“We are going to promote, for the first time, the summer cropping of groundnut with a view to increasing crop intensity to help the state increase production of oilseeds and also help farmers to take an additional short-term zaied harvest between March and June,” director agriculture DM Singh told the Hindustan Times.
The department has, however, decided to cultivate summer groundnut only as a pilot scheme in 12 districts and grow the same on a larger scale in many more districts depending on the initial results.
Firozabad, Mainpuri, Aligarh, Etah, Kannauj, Farukhabad, Kasganj, Etawah, Auraiya, Kanpur Nagar, Lucknow and Hardoi are the districts which have been identified for the cultivation on only 25,000 hectares of land.
Significantly, of the Rs. 32,000 cost that comes on cultivating summer groundnuts per hectare, farmers will get Rs. 10,000 subsidy from the state government as an incentive. “Apart from this, we will also impart training to farmers and give demos on cultivation,” said additional director (oilseeds) SK Pandey.
Pandey said there would be no problem in cultivating groundnut in summers because it grew beneath the ground and was not much affected by the summer heat. “But unlike kharif groundnut, the farmers will be required to do frequent irrigation here,” he pointed out.
At present, kharif groundnut is cultivated in state’s around 45 districts, the total production being 0.92 lakh MT in 2011-12. One hectare of land produces 10 quintals of groundnut.
Apart from practising cultivation of summer groundnut, the agriculture department is also going to put more focus on intercropping, that is cultivation of pulses along with sugarcane.
“These measures will increase farmers’ income and also increase production of pulses and oilseeds, an area where the state is deficient and has to depend on imports to meet its requirement,” claimed Singh.