Kapurthala farmers lose interest in groundnut cultivation

  • Parampreet Singh Narula, Hindustan Times, Kapurthala
  • Updated: Dec 29, 2014 19:29 IST

Once known as a major groundnut producer, the district does not hold the distinction anymore with farmers confining themselves to cultivation of conventional crops such as wheat and paddy only.

The groundnut cultivation was high in the district in the 1980s, but farmers have lost interest in it since manual thrashing of peanuts involves more labour and work.

Farmers left cultivating groundnut since they were not making much profit from it and switched over to the cultivation of crops such as wheat, paddy, sunflower and potato to make more money.

“During the 1970s, Kapurthala was a major groundnut producer, with the crop cultivated on more than 12,000 hectares in the district. But after 1990s, farmers moved on to other crops,” agriculture field officer Resham Singh said.

He said after 2002, farmers in the district have been avoiding cultivating the crop altogether.

In the neighbouring Hoshiarpur, the crop was sown on 1,600 hectares in 2011-2012, which has now come down to 1,300 hectares in 2013-2014.
Sangrur and Ludhiana were on the top of the list among districts in groundnut production in the 1980s, as the crop was cultivated over 15,000 hectares and 7,000 hectares, respectively. These districts too fare bad when it comes to groundnut cultivation presently.

In 2010-2011, groundnut was cultivated only on 2,200 hectares in the entire state, while the figure was 43,000 hectares during the 1980s. At present, the state imports groundnut from states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra, resulting in an increase in prices of peanut.

Harvinder Singh, a farmer, said they cultivated the crop during the 2000s but later they shifted to growing potatoes.

“If the government starts providing subsidy for groundnut seeds, farmers may again start cultivating the crop,” he said.

Dr Manohar Singh, district agriculture officer, Kapurthala, said, “The government is making efforts to promote crop diversification among farmers and motivating them to cultivate crops which need less water to save groundwater.”

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