Area under paddy, pulses to be extended in 18 districts

Nagesh Prabhu

The districts have been identified under the National Food Security Mission

Plea made to include Koppal and Bellary districts under rice category

Centre has released Rs. 3.04 crore to the State so far under the mission

BANGALORE: For increasing the production of rice and pulses and to ensure food security for all, the Union Government has selected 18 districts of the State under the National Food Security Mission (NFSM).

The National Development Council (NDC) adopted the resolution to launch the mission comprising rice, wheat and pulses to increase their production by 10 million tonnes, eight and two millions tonnes respectively in the country.

Under the NFSM, the Centre has selected Belgaum, Shimoga, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Hassan and Raichur districts for extending the area under paddy cultivation. The State Government has requested the Centre to include Koppal and Bellary districts under the rice category. It should be noted here that the land under paddy cultivation in Karnataka has declined over the years and cultivation of commercial crops has taken over.

During the last kharif season (2007), 10.12 lakh hectares was under paddy cultivation in the State. The average production of rice in the State is about 2,520 kg a hectare against the national average of 1,913 kg.

For increasing the area under pulses, 13 districts have been selected and they are Bagalkot, Belgaum, Bellary, Bidar, Bijapur, Chitradurga, Dharwad, Gadag, Gulbarga, Koppal, Mysore, Raichur and Tumkur, Agriculture Department officials told The Hindu on Monday.

The pulses include toor, horsegram, blackgram, greengram, cowpea, and “avare.” During the last kharif season, a total of 15.32 lakh hectares were under pulses in the State.

The mission aims to bridge the yield gap in respect of these crops through dissemination of improved technologies and farm management practices. Besides increasing the production of rice and pulses in the State, the mission aims at restoring soil fertility and productivity at the individual farm level; creation of employment opportunities; and enhancing farm profits, to restore confidence among farmers.

The officials said the Centre had released Rs. 3.04 crore to the State so far under the mission. Teams have been formed in each district for finalising the proposals for NFSM – rice and pulses along with agricultural vision for the 11th Five Year Plan period.

A project management team “State Agricultural Management Agency” (SAMA) has been constituted at the State level under the leadership of Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner.

The agency has been set up under the Societies Registration Act to implement the mission at the State and district levels, according to officials.

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