Govt plans to expand summer-crops area by 50%

New Delhi: The government plans to expand area under cultivation for summer-crops by 50% from 3.4 million hectares in 2020 to 5.1 million hectares in 2021.

“The focus is on increase the output of pulses and oilseeds which require less water and give value addition to food basket,” said a senior agriculture ministry official.

The union agriculture ministry will unveil strategy and planning for enhancing the yield of summer crops, also known as zaid crops, on Friday at the National Conference on Agriculture Summer Campaign.

“The summer crops are planted during March-June every year in 13 states having assured irrigation facilities. This provides an additional income window for farmers during the time after Rabi harvest and before Kharif sowing,” the official said.

He said zaid crops are grown across only 2% of total agriculture land.

“But they help in bridging the deficit in pulses and oilseeds production, reducing the dependence on import,” he said.

As per the agriculture ministry data, the water storage in 128 key reservoirs in the country is 22% more than the 10-year average storage. This will ensure timely irrigation of summer crops which are completely dependent on canalised water. The government has ensured timely distribution of certified seeds, pesticides and fertiliser among farmers.

“Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are the leading states which grow crops during this period. Planting of summer crops specially pulses, improves the nitrogen content of the soil and prepared the land for Kharif planting,” the official said.

He said that the government targets an output of 5 million tonnes of cereals, oilseed and oilseeds together from summer planting.

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“Amid Covid-19, the demand for nutri cereals like maize, bajra, jowar and ragi has gone up in global market. Farmers have an export opportunity for these crops which can give them better realisation. We are encouraging farmers to plant more of nitro cereals as they require less water,” the official said.



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