Telangana set to advance kharif and rabi sowing of paddy

The Government of Telangana has asked farmers to advance planting in both the fall and spring seasons by 3-4 weeks so that they do not face problems due to untimely rains or hailstorms during harvest time.

It is perhaps the first country to consider pushing rice seeding in the wake of climate change affecting agricultural production.

Recently, the Telangana Cabinet recently formed a sub-committee chaired by Minister of Agriculture S Niranjan Reddy to study the feasibility and come up with a set of recommendations on how to do so. This is probably the first such attempt by any state government in the country to attempt to introduce sowing seasons.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandraskar Rao reiterated the proposal to proceed with sowing at the district collectors’ meeting held in Hyderabad on Thursday.

“Sowing should be completed between May 25 and June 25. Likewise, you should start Rabi’ sowing by November 15 and compete in the following 2-3 weeks,” he said.

This, in turn, would help advance harvests by a month. “This will help farmers protect themselves from sudden rains and hailstorms during the harvest period, which cause huge losses,” said the Prime Minister.

Country selection

Official sources in New Delhi said states are free to decide on sowing crops as agriculture is a matter of the state. However, Punjab and Haryana have banned rice sowing before June 1st to ensure that farmers do not run out of depleted groundwater resources.

On the other hand, analysts see this as a political move so that the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samiti Party does not face any problems in the event that rains or floods affect the rice crop when the northeast monsoon blows during the month of October.

Telangana assembly elections are scheduled to be held during the end of the year. Another political angle to it is that in case Telangana again faces problems with rice procurement by Food Corporation of India (FCI), BRS can play into the elections, analysts said. Last year, Telangana had problems purchasing rice as the center said it would not buy parboiled rice from the state.

Irrigation is key

“It is a good thing if the sowing is offered before the arrival of the monsoons, provided that the land is provided with irrigation facilities for germination of the seeds. It has been observed that in many years, the latter part of the season becomes drier as compared to the first period. Said a senior rice breeder at the Indian Research Council Agricultural: “If sown in July, the crop does not get water in the latter part of the season in the rainfed area.”

Just introducing the sowing period will not help. It must be accompanied by better technology. “For example, CR 801 and CR 802 are rice varieties that can survive without water for 22 days after germination and these climate-smart varieties must be certified,” the scientist said.

R Jagadeeshwar, former Director of Research at Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Early Khareef farming was already in vogue in areas like Nizamabad where farmers use boryol water for irrigation. “Technologies are available. Direct sowing of seeds (instead of planting nurseries and planting them later) would be an ideal way to advance agriculture. A large number of farmers are doing this in Khammam and Nalgonda districts,” he said.

Another scientist, speaking on condition of anonymity, opined that it (the seed offering) may not be appropriate for all regions of the country. “It is suitable for areas under proven irrigation facilities,” he said.

Two successive waves of heavy rains and hailstorms from February to April this year caused severe damage to crops in the state.

On his part, Rao asked district collectors and officials in the Ministry of Agriculture to take action to make farmers aware of the need to bring forward the sowing and harvest seasons by a month. There was a misconception among farmers that crop growth would not be healthy if sown during the winter season.

He said farmers can now rely on abundant groundwater, 24-hour good energy and promote seed cultivation. The state has come up with irrigation projects like Kondapuchama Sagar Reservoir and Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Project.

Farmers concern

However, farmers are not entirely convinced of the idea. Not all parts of the state have bankable groundwater. “The monsoons don’t come until late June or mid-July,” said S. Malla Reddy, leader of Telangana Rithu Sangam. business line.

“If you go for early spring sowing, the crop growth will not be at the optimal level. Generally, farmers prefer to go for spring sowing after January 15th.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister said that there is a misunderstanding among farmers that if rice is harvested in November during the month of NovemberYasangi (Spring) The fibers will not grow because of the extreme cold, this is not true. The Ministry of Agriculture must educate farmers in this direction and take the necessary arrangements so that the cultivated crops are not damaged due to sudden rains and the grains are not wet.

Grain quality

Another reason for the government to promote agriculture in the spring season is the issue of rice disintegration during rice milling. Due to the high temperatures in late March and April, the grains become brittle, which negatively affects the conversion rate (the amount of rice converted into rice after milling).

With the brittleness of the grains and the less amount of rice they get, mill owners prefer to go for parboiled rice. However, the center has made it clear that it will not purchase parboiled rice because it does not have enough takers in the country.

This issue has, in fact, sparked a political row between the Republika Srpska government and the BJP government. The center said that it will only take raw (white) rice, not boiled rice, in this procurement season.

The Telangana government’s decision is seen as a move to make farmers harvest crops in the month of March itself, so that the conversion rate of paddy to paddy will be higher. This is the second time in three years that the Telangana government has tried to interfere with the sowing process.

In May 2020, the Government of Telangana said it would decide which crops farmers would grow in the state as part of its efforts to make farming more profitable through scientific farming, based on market demands. But nothing was heard from her in 2021 after Telangana ran into trouble helping farmers sell their produce.