Yield likely to be 10 quintals per hectare

Growers of Bengal gram (kadale bele) are expected to harvest a bumper rabi crop owing to increase in the area under cultivation as well as timely and adequate rainfall in October-November in major growing areas of the northern districts of the State.

11.18 lakh hectares

Acreage under Bengal gram increased during the rabi season due to shortfall in the coverage of pulses during the 2012 kharif season. Acreage under the crop was 11.18 lakh hectares this season against the normal coverage of 8 lakh hectares.

Area under pulses — toor, horse gram, black gram, cowpea and others, avare and moth bean — was 11.56 lakh hectares against the target of 15.96 lakh hectares during the 2012 kharif season. Most of the crops sown in May and June were destroyed during the vegetation period itself owing to deficit rainfall, officials in the Agriculture Department told The Hindu on Saturday.

Crops sown in a majority of places in north Karnataka districts, except in Gulbarga and Bidar, were destroyed owing to erratic monsoon. The yield of pulses will be around two to three quintals a hectare against six to seven quintals, the officials maintained.

11 districts

Rain that lashed the State in the wake of cyclone Nilam in October-end brightened the prospects of Bengal crop growers. The crop is cultivated mainly in 11 districts of north Karnataka — Bidar, Bagalkot, Belgaum, Bellary, Bijapur, Chitradurga, Dharwad, Gadag, Gulbarga, Koppal and Raichur.

Officials said farmers were expected to get a yield of 10 quintals a hectare owing good vegetative growth compared with previous years. The State’s normal yield of Bengal gram is 6 quintals a hectare.

Moreover, under the Union government’s National Food Security Mission (NFSM), farmers had been provided chemicals and equipment to control pests and diseases affecting Bengal gram plants. Seed of high-yielding varieties, nutrient kits and pest-management kits were distributed under the Accelerated Pulses Production Programme (A3P) in north Karnataka districts for increasing the area under the crop, the officials said.

According to Domestic and Export Market Intelligence Cell of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, growers expected to get Rs. 3,100 to Rs. 3,300 for a quintal of Bengal gram in February, March and April 2013. The Union government has fixed the minimum support price (MSP) at Rs. 2,100 for a quintal.