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Haryana diversifies agriculture

The Haryana agriculture department is all set to achieve its target of diversification of agriculture without any help from private players, in contrast to Punjab, where the state government opened its doors for the corporate sector to indulge in contract farming.

The state government has taken the initiative to increase the total area under cultivation for oilseeds and pulses. A senior official of the agriculture department told Business Standard that the department has fixed a target of 80,000 hectares under the kharif pulses (moong, urad, moth and arhar).

According to him, prior to this the maximum area under kharif pulses was 78,000 hectare in 1967-68 in the state. The area for oilseeds has been dwindling consistently since the Minimum Support Price for wheat and paddy was launched. In 2004-05, the total area for wheat was 23.22 lakh hectare and for paddy it was 10.28 lakh hectare In 2005-06 it was 23.08 lakh hectare for wheat and 10.52 lakh hectare for paddy.

The state government has been offering various incentives to farmers like seed replacement, training of farmers, providing gypsum at 50 per cent cost to increase sulphur content in the soil and under ground water pipe line at 25 per cent cost limited to Rs 5,000 per system, with a maximum ceiling of Rs 30,000 per beneficiary.

The target for 2006-07 has been set at 10 lakh hectare for paddy and 22.50 lakh for wheat. So approximately 1.60 lakh hectare has been earmarked for the cultivation of non paddy and wheat commodities. The department is keen on persuading the farmers to go in for oil seeds and pulses, as they require less irrigation than wheat and paddy. “These crops need only 2-3 irrigations and natural rain whereas paddy and wheat require double the amount of water,� said the official

The pulses would be grown in an area of 80,000 hectare in the districts of Bhiwani, Hissar, Sonepat, Jhajjar, Sirsa and Faridabad. Oil seeds would be cultivated in an area of 14,400 acre in the districts of Sirsa and Jind. According to an official of the Haryana Agriculture Marketing Board, the APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Act) was applicable in Haryana.

The state assembly has sent the Bill on contract farming for the approval of the president. Once the Bill is implemented, the state’s farmers would benefit immensely. Many corporates are keen on foraying into contract farming in the state.

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