Absence mechanization, Bengal Gram losing land in Bijapur

BIJAPUR; 06 Feb: The cultivation of Bengal Gram, one of the major crops the district is dwindling gradually in the district owing to the lack of modern harvesting machines.

The absence of mechanization has been affecting the crop as around 40 of cultivation has declined over the years in the district.

A few years ago, in the Rabi season around 70 percent of the farmers used to prefer Bengal Gram, 10 percent Jowar and remaining 20 percent other crops including wheat. But, now, minimal percent of farmers are preferring Bengal Gram during rabi. The Bengal Gram is a 90-day crop, where farmers have to invest between Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 per acre.  

With lack of availability of modern harvesting machines in the market and denial from labours to work at the time of garnering because of acidic content in the plant, which might lead to derma related health issues, farmers are avoiding to sow the Bengal Gram. These issues have become a big headache to the farmers as the profit will be of a smaller amount.

Shantgouda Gulbal, farmer and a resident of Talikoti pointed that, “The main reason behind opting other crops over Bengal Gram is because it brings a lot of problems at the time of harvesting. We have no other options other than harvesting manually. When we look for laborers for harvesting, they demand high wages compared to normal days. This increases the financial burden on us,” said a farmer.

According to the department of agriculture, “In 2020-21 rabi has been sown in over 50,000 hectares, which is nearly 40 percent lesser compared to previous year. In 2019-20 over 85,000 hectares Bengal Gram was sown in the district. A couple of years ago the Bengal Gram was sown in over 1 lakh hectares.”

Rajashekar Williams, Joint Director of the Department of Agriculture, said that, “The farmers are opting Toor over Bengal Gram from the last couple of years. The labour shortage and non-availability of harvesting equipment are the two main reasons for the declining Bengal Gram crop in the region. We are putting efforts to increase the area but farmers are preferring tur dal and other crops as they are less burden to them,” said agriculture officer.

 Price Crash

While the farmers are busy in harvesting the Bengal Gram with making necessary preparations to send the produce to the market but the price drop has come as a shocker to the entire community. A month ago, the Bengal Gram was priced at Rs 4,800 to Rs 5,000 per quintal. Now, the price has been reduced by Rs 1,000 per quintal. 

Ramangouda Patil, a farmer said that, “Because of good rainfall the crop was better compared to last year. When we thought we could make a good income by selling our produce but the price down has shocked and forced us to postpone our plans of marketing. Along with announcing minimum selling price the government has to procure Bengal Gram to save the farmers,” urged Patil

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