Farmers in MP to grow less soybean, more pulses this kharif
Soybean, the ‘dream crop’ of farmers in Madhya Pradesh, seems to be losing sheen. For the first time in decades, farmers in the state are set to reduce soybean cultivation area and replace it with pulses this kharif season.indore Updated: May 27, 2016 15:00 IST
Soybean, the ‘dream crop’ of farmers in Madhya Pradesh, seems to be losing sheen. For the first time in decades, farmers in the state are set to reduce soybean cultivation area and replace it with pulses this kharif season.
Madhya Pradesh accounts for 53% of soybean production in the country, as per government statistics.
However, farmers are now shifting to other crops because of 10% drop in soybean prices in the past two years, erratic rains and pest attack.
“Soybean cultivation area will come down this kharif season as farmers have been suffering crop damage for the past two to three years. We expect farmers to increase the area under pulses,” state agricultural production commissioner PC Meena told HT.
The state government has increased the target area under kharif crop — including oilseeds, paddy, pulses and maize – this year to 132 lakh hectares from 126 lakh hectares in 2015 season. However, area under soybean, which was cultivated on about 59 lakh hectares last year, is expected to fall by more than 5%.
Farmers are expected to partially shift to pulses such as tuar and urad as their prices are ruling high. Farmers start cultivating soybean and pulses, which are rain-fed crops, in mid-June after the arrival of southwest monsoon.
The crop was introduced in the state from the USA in the 1980s and became very popular with the farmers in Central and West India. Apart from MP, soybean is also grown in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Mukund Patidar, a farmer in Rau near Indore, said he would partially switch to tuar as he did not earn much from soybean last year. While Patidar was lucky to make some profit, many farmers incurred losses as soybean crop was damaged due to erratic monsoon and pest attack.
“The soybean prices have come down. There has been no research in soybean to develop new seed varieties, and the plant attracted a number of diseases that farmers cannot control through pesticides,” said former agriculture director GS Kaushal.