Friday, June 9, 2023

Rajasthan farmers uproot their kinnow orchards in bulk due to the closure of canals

Timely closure of canals for rising temperature and maintenance farmers In Sri Ganganagar district of Rajasthan, there is no option but to sow moong, cluster bean and ki Cotton crops.

“What could we do? The harvest in the last few years was negligible. For the third year in a row both blooms and fruits fell. Due to lack of water, I could not sow anything this year. From now on, I intend to focus on cotton. and wheat. From this year onwards, the cotton and wheat season is already gone, I sowed less water crops (moong and cluster beans), ”Ranveer Jhatwal, farmer of Chak 25ML, told 101Reporters.

Jhatwal was cultivating kinnow on 24 bighas of land for the last 15 years. But last year he uprooted his orchards with 12 bighas, this year he took out the rest.

But Jhatwal is not the only farmer to take such a big step. Many small and big farmers have been doing this in Rajasthan. Heat and lack of irrigation destroyed 80% to 92% of orchards this year, forcing almost every farmer to uproot their orchard, compared to a few farmers who did so last year.

Figures furnished by the Horticulture Department show that out of 11,540 hectares under kinnow, 115 hectares of orchards were uprooted by May 17 and the figure stood at 289 hectares by June 3.

Farmers are continuing to uproot their kinnow orchards in every tehsil of the district.

Keanu’s disillusionment

The gardens made their first appearance in Sriganganagar within two to three years of the construction of the Ganges Canal in 1927. However, in the last two decades, the horticulturists had seen the fruit orchards in the district really blossom. Despite the flourishing of sweet lime, guava, pomegranate, date, gooseberry and lemon, kinnow was their most profitable fruit. While the incentives given by the National Horticulture Mission were a big attraction, their cotton crop suffered heavy losses as a result of the pest infestation, due to which farmers opted for kinnow cultivation. Sriganganagar district alone produces 80,000 metric tons of kinnow annually, a major part of which was exported to China, Russia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia and Bhutan.

Joint director of agriculture (retd) VS Nain, who had earlier served in Sriganganagar, said: “Wheat, mustard and cotton were the crops traditionally grown in this district. But when after caterpillar attacks almost two decades ago When the expenditure on pesticides increased sharply, the farmers got in trouble. They were forced to spray around 30 to 40 rounds of insecticides to save a cotton crop. It was then that they switched to Kinnu. And it made them Did not disappoint; they made substantial profits on every crop. Unfortunately, they have repeatedly damaged and forced them to uproot their orchards over the past three years.”

Mahendra Kumar, a farmer of Chak 25 ml, recalled how he once used to get Rs 35 lakh to Rs 40 lakh annually from his 50 bigha orchard, but he could not break even in the last three years.

“In 2020, there was very little yield, and in 2021, I earned only Rs 5 lakh after spending Rs 7 lakh on inputs. This year, flowers and fruits fell due to severe heat and lack of irrigation. Two years ago, I uprooted 10 bighas; Last year, I uprooted another 12 bighas; This year, I uprooted another 5 bighas of orchard land,” Kumar said, adding that he now intends to grow cotton as the crop from one bigha gives him a Can earn up to Bigha. 1 lakh Rs.

Generally, after planting an orchard one has to wait four years to harvest kinnow and seven years before the best fruit can be harvested. But at present, even farmers who planted saplings two years ago are uprooting their orchards fearing future damages.

Bhupendra Singh, a farmer of Chak 11 ML, had planted his orchard on 9 bighas of land at a total cost of Rs 6 lakh to 7 lakh. He has destroyed his whole garden. With a heavy heart, Singh said, “What is the point of keeping this orchard when I cannot take advantage of it? My neighbor farmer Jagseer Singh also uprooted his two-year-old orchard.”

The extreme heat and lack of irrigation water also forced Ashok Choudhary, a farmer of 24GB village, to uproot his orchard.

“There was no flowering for the last two years. The extreme heat scorched my plants,” Choudhary told 101Reporters.

“Last year, I uprooted 15 bighas of my garden and planted mustard on this land, giving a yield of 5 to 6 quintals per bigha. Recently, I uprooted another 10 bighas. Cotton also proved more profitable for me than kinnow. happened.”

Explaining why uprooting his orchards is his best option, farmer Jhatwal said, “Kinnow crop costs Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per bigha every year. It is a burden when the yield is continuously reduced. ”

The biggest threat is the mercury spike, water scarcity, among others.

Preeti, assistant director of horticulture department Bala Temperatures in March were unprecedentedly high in the previous two years.

“Temperatures between 25 °C and 30 °C are ideal for flowering in late March. But this year the temperature reaches 40 °C, she explained. “Higher temperatures can cause flowers and fruit to drop. This was also the time when canals were closed for repairs, preventing farmers from accessing essential irrigation water.”

Analyzing the situation, VS Nain said that the Water Resources Department should keep in mind the needs of the farmers while closing the irrigation canals for necessary repairs. Presently, they emerge in April-May, when orchards need irrigation water.

Bala said that the rising prices of cotton in the mandis also attracted the farmers towards cotton cultivation. However, the department has advised farmers to be patient “as cotton prices may also be volatile”.

Moreover, kinnow crop failure is not limited to Sriganganagar alone, Rajendra Nain, agriculture officer (horticulture) in the horticulture department, Sriganganagar, told 101Reporters.

High temperatures wreak havoc on fruit trees in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana; Forcing farmers to uproot their orchards in Abohar and Fazilka districts of Punjab and Sirsa in Haryana.

Demand for compensation for threat to their livelihood

When the orchards are uprooted, many industries associated with kinnow are also threatened. There are about 36 kinnow packing and grading establishments in the district, each set up with an investment of Rs 35 lakh to Rs 1 crore. They grade kinnows, apply preservatives to the fruits and pack them for export.

Babu Khan Rizvi, owner of one such wax and grading plant, told 101Reporters, “Destruction of gardens spells disaster for us. If the orchards are uprooted, what will happen to us? Each plant employs around 100 to 150 workers. We will have to pay the price for this to the factory owners and workers.”

In the light of these developments, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) youth wing A memorandum has been submitted to the district administration. BKU (Youth Branch) District Secretary Shivprakash Support “The government should conduct a survey, and fix an amount of Rs 1 lakh per hectare as disaster relief compensation,” stressed.

He said that kinnow growers get only one crop in a year, but the input required is equal to the input required for two crops. Therefore, the administration should give proper compensation.

Claiming that the damage was actually much higher than what was reported by the authorities, Saharan also said that these orchards should be notified under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to be eligible for insurance.

See also:
India enters thunderstorm zone just after heatwave, orange alert issued

IMD forecasts heavy rain in Chennai, adjoining districts

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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