Other States

Bundelkhand’s drought-hit farmers told to cultivate oilseeds

Officials are educatingBundelkhand ryots on thebenefits of growing sesame. File photo  

To help farmers recover from successive crop losses in drought-affected Bundelkhand, the Uttar Pradesh government is encouraging them to increase the cultivation of oilseeds, especially sesame (til), in the coming Kharif season.

The State has increased subsidy on oilseeds. The government will now provide farmers a grant of Rs. 1,500 per quintal in the Kharif season (sesame, groundnut and soyabean) and Rs. 800 per quintal in the Rabi season (rye, mustard, rapeseed and linseed). The grant will be applicable to all species of oilseeds ageing 15 years. Relaxing the norms in Bundelkhand, a government spokesperson said the grant payable on oilseeds would not be limited to 50 per cent.

Additional subsidy

In all seven districts of Bundelkhand, officials are holding ‘ghostis’ (small meetings) to educate farmers about the benefits of cultivating sesame. As farmers feared that increase in production will bring down the price, last season the government introduced an additional Rs. 80 per kg as subsidy on the crop, said Joint Agriculture Director Pankaj Tripathi.

“We are telling farmers to not restrict sesame production for industrial use. They can also use the produce at home, as fuel — to prepare items such as puri or paranthas,” Mr. Tripathi said.

It becomes even more viable for farmers to grow sesame in view of the menace of “Annapratha” prevalent in the region. Annapratha is an age-old tradition in Bundelkhand where farmers let loose their cattle, especially the unproductive and pregnant cows, to graze freely.

“Our latest videography of fields has shown that the “anna” cattle do not eat sesame. They find it bitter. It is a safe crop to grow,” Mr. Tripathi told The Hindu.

To further promote sesame, ‘til laddoos’ would be introduced in anganwadis and mid-day meals, he said.

Abandoning cattle

Regular droughts over the years have worsened the “Annapratha” as distressed Bundelkhand farmers are even more inclined to let loose their unproductive animals. The situation has aggravated due to the drying up of waterbodies, depletion of forest covergrazing areas.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 6:39:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bundelkhands-droughthit-farmers-told-to-cultivate-oilseeds/article8633958.ece

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