Cultivation of horticultural crops in dryland areas of Raichur district has increased in recent years. Farmers who have raised crops have been reporting bumper harvest and are encouraging others to take to horticultural cultivation.
In recent years, cultivation of horticultural crops such as lime, sweet lime (mosambi), banana, pomegranate, sapota and mango, in addition to some vegetables, has become lucrative in a number of border villages of this arid region.
Except for Raichur taluk, the other four in the district have irrigation facility. Sindhanur, Manvi and parts of Raichur taluk are covered by the Tungabhadra Left Bank Canal (TLBC), while Lingsugur and Deodurga taluks have benefited from the Narayanpur Right Bank Canal (NRBC) of the Upper Krishna Project.
Raichur taluk falls under the tail-end region of NRBC. A major portion of cultivable land in the taluk will get irrigation facility only when the NRBC is extended further from its existing 95th-km stretch to the tail-end region (157th km). But the extension work proposed under Scheme ‘B' has been pending for a long time and it is not known when the Government will implement it.
However, abundant groundwater and a vast area under red soil all along the banks of the Tungabhadra and Krishna in Raichur taluk has encouraged farmers to take up cultivation of horticultural crops.
Among the crops, the cultivation of lime, sweet lime and mango has been taken up on a large scale at Yapaldinni, Palavaladoddi, Dongarampur, Ganjalli, Kalavaladoddi, Atkur, Buradipad, Katlatkur, Kadagamdoddi, Chandrabanda, Singnodi and Wadavati in Raichur taluk.
Sweet lime is in demand in the market, and it is exported to Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. In the past five years, the crop has been grown on 2,500 hectares in these villages, and 25 per cent of the total area has benefited with subsidy from the National Horticulture Mission. Varieties such as “Jambura” and “Rangapuri” are sought after, especially for export. The cultivation of sweet lime has also brought smiles on the faces of farmers.
Shivaramareddy, a marginal farmer at Palavaladoddi village, who has grown sweet lime on three-and-a-half acres of land, said that although sweet lime took five years to mature, it continued to provide fruit for around 20 years.
The crop required minimum application of fertilizer and pesticides and cultivation costs were lower. He said the crop raised on his land was mature and had started yielding fruits since last year. Mr. Shivaramareddy said he had given out his land on lease to a Hyderabad-based fruit vendor for Rs. 1 lakh an acre. He expects a net income of at least Rs. 1 lakh after meeting all his annual expenditure.