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Andhra Pradesh - Vijayawada Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Shunning paddy, mango no big deal

G. Ravikiran

Plea to promote crops which consume less water As water-starved paddy and mango crops fail, farmers turn to custard apple and sapota


VIJAYAWADA: With paddy and mango failing farmers, crops like custard apple and sapota are increasingly suggested as a viable alternative as they consume less water and withstand high temperatures.

In the post-Alamatti situation, farmers are being asked to realise the changed scenario in which water no longer comes at their beck and call unlike before. It is seen as no longer a good proposition that local farmers should continue to grow paddy simply because it is the region's staple food and being traditionally cultivated.

"When there is no water, there is no point in sticking to paddy. Everybody knows it cannot survive without water. It is time we go for rain-fed crops and other alternatives," says M. Lakshmi Prasad, convener (agriculture), Krishna Industrial & Agricultural Exhibition Society.

Ryots conscious

There is an urgency that the Government develop effective strategies to promote and encourage crops which consume less water, he feels.

In Krishna district, some change-conscious farmers have started cultivating custard apple and sapota for a few years now. These crops are being cultivated in over 1,000 acres in Mylavaram, Agiripalli and Nuzvid.

Subsidised seed

Though the extent of cultivation has not crossed 1,000 acres, there has been a good response and experience of farmers has been encouraging.

These crops are doing well while paddy and even mango have not helped the farmers' community. "This is only because custard apple and sapota can sustain themselves in hot, humid climates.

With general climatic conditions becoming hot here, these are the most preferable crops," observes Dr. Prasad.

Having noticed the importance of helping farmers, the Exhibition Society has chalked out plans to provide subsidised seed varieties of these alternative crops to needy farmers.

The crops being listed for this kind of encouragement are custard apple, sapota and amla varieties also.

As of now, farmers in Nuzvid and Agiripallli area are purchasing seed from private nurseries located in Kadiam, Railway Kodur and other areas. They are also depending on varieties developed at a research centre located at Sangareddy.

It is also suggested that traditional paddy farmers in the district should turn towards jowar and maize in a big way if they are not to face a major problem in future.

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