Jagatsinghpur Nov 15 (Localwire) Thousands of farmer in Odisha’s Jagatsinghpur district are reportedly losing interest in groundnut cultivation and instead confining themselves to conventional crops like paddy, green and black gram.
Sources said total 86,850 hectares land are used in the district for paddy cultivation. After paddy cultivation during Kharif season, the same land is used for Rabi crops like green gram, black gram and groundnut.
During 1980s, nearly 10,000 hectares of land was used for groundnut cultivation. Many farmers from Naugaon, Kujang and few from Tirtol, Jagatsinghpur produced huge amount of groundnut crop and earned remarkable profit.
But, at present, only 4000 hectares of land are used for groundnut cultivation.
Lack of awareness, non supply of groundnut seeds at subsidy rate, distress sale of groundnut, purchase of groundnut seeds from open market at higher rate, negligence and indifferent attitude of agricultural department officials to promote cultivation have forced farmers to switch over to cultivation of other crops like paddy, green gram, black gram, sugar cane, sunflower and potato to make more money.
Out of eight blocks, Naugaon was a major groundnut producer and the socio-economic condition of local farmers had also improved with huge profits they made from their produce. But now, farmers of this block too have moved on to other crops for making more profit.
Local farmers told Localwire that 25 kg seeds are required for cultivation of groundnut on one acre land to produce eight to ten quintal per acre. But as of now, production has reduced to four to five quintal, incurring huge loss to the farmers.
Pramoda Kumar Charan Swain, a farmer from Korua, said: “Earlier, the agricultural department supplied groundnut seeds at subsidized rate. But they have stopped the subsidy since last five years. Hence, local farmers have to purchase groundnut seeds at higher rate of Rs 70 to Rs 80, while its actual rate is Rs 30 to Rs 40.”
“I have spent Rs 17,000 to Rs 20,000 per acre against an income of only Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000. It was a huge loss,” he added.
Other groundnut growers echoed him. They said distress sale of groundnut because of no procurement of it after its production, non supply of its seeds at subsidy rate by the government, supply of demonstration seeds to ruling party leaders instead of real farmers free of cost are among main reasons behind farmers opting for other crops.
“If the government starts providing subsidy for groundnut seeds, farmers may again start cultivating the crop,” the farmers said.
Pertinently, the department had received 119 quintal groundnuts towards demonstration on 4000 hectares of land in 2016, 120 quintal demonstration seeds in 2017, while majority of the farmers have not received these seeds free of cost.
Now that it’s almost time for planting of Rabi crops, not a single kilogram of groundnut seeds has yet reached the local agricultural department for free distribution.
District agricultural officer Ashok Kumar Mohanty said he is aware of the situation. “ The department is taking all efforts to promote crop diversification among farmers and motivating them to cultivate crops which need less water to save groundwater. he told LocalWire”