India’s youngest state Telangana has achieved the turnaround in agriculture by almost doubling the agriculture production and the area under cultivation during last seven years.
Officials say this could be possible due to completion of several irrigation projects, revival of tanks, 24X7 free power to farmers and Rs.10,000 financial assistance to farmers towards input costs per acre annually.
In 2014, when Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh, the area under cultivation in Telangana was 1.41 crore. The same has now gone up to 2.10 crore acres during the combined period of Vaanakalam (Kharif) and Yasangi (Rabi) seasons.
The agriculture yield has doubled from 2.05 crore tonne to 4.11 crore tonne during the same period.
According to official figures, Paddy was cultivated in 34.97 lakh acres in 2013-14, and this has gone to 1.04 crore acres in 2020-21. The procurement of paddy by the government has gone up from 24.30 lakh tonnes in 2014 to 1.11 crore tonnes last year.
The government claims that state has become rice bowl of the country.
The fact was highlighted during Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan’s customary address to the joint session of both the houses of state legislature on Monday, the first day of the budget session. She said Telangana has become Annapurna or food provider to the country.
Last summer, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) procured 1.15 crore tonnes of paddy all over the country. Of this, 64 lakh tonnes, that is about 56 per cent was procured from Telangana alone,
Paddy production during Vaanakalam was around 1.3 crore tonnes and during Yasangi it is expected to be 1.25 crore tonne, the highest for any state in the country during Rabi season. Thus the paddy production for the year is estimated to be 2.55 crore tonnes.
The area under cotton cultivation has also gone up from 41.83 lakh acres to 60.54 lakh acres. The cotton crop then accounted for only 18.45 lakhs of tonnes annually, whereas now, it accounts for 37.62 lakh of tonne annually.
The figures of last seven years show that the state has made tremendous strides in both area under cultivation and production. From a bottom rank once, it now ranks among the top states in the country.
To cater to the growing requirements of the state, the state also expanded marketing and godowns facilities. The number of markets has gone up from 150 to 192. The capacity of godowns today stands at 24.73 lakh against 4.17 lakh tonne in 2014.
The state is also on course to cross another milestone with the gross production value of agriculture and horticulture crops for 2020-21 crop year expected to touch the Rs 1 lakh crore. The figure for 2019-20 figure was Rs 89,058 crore.
Agriculture department attributes the increase in cultivation area and production to improved irrigation facilities with completion of new irrigation projects, revival of tanks under Mission Kaktiya and other measures like round-the-clock free electricity and Rythu Bandhu scheme under which every farmer is being paid Rs.10,000 per acre every year towards input costs.
The total crop sown area has increased by 21 lakh acre compared to 2019-20.
An official said the increase in sown area and production over last one year could also be because of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown as people who own agriculture lands shifted back to their primary occupation after losing other sources of income
To prevent farmers from losses due to glut in the market, the authorities are encouraging them to go for alternative crops rather than relying totally on paddy, cotton or other traditional crops. The department has set a target to increase the cultivation of horticulture crops from existing 12.5 lakh acres to 66 lakh acres over the next five years.
Officials say Mission Kaktiya played a key role in augmenting irrigation facilities. Under this programme, the government took up revival of 45,000 tanks constructed during Kakatiya dynasty. This has resulted in the raise in the ground water levels.
According to data released by the Centre recently, out of 549 well analysed in the state, ground water increased by 91 per cent in 498 Wells.
The government embarked upon construction of major and medium irrigation projects. Kaluwakurty, Nettempadu, Bhima, Koil Sagar, Devadula, Mid Manair, Yellampally, Singur, Kinnerasani, Palem Vagu, Kumaram Bhim, Mattadi Vagu, Neelvayi, Jagganathpur and other projects works were completed on a fast track. Kaleshwaram, Palamuru-Rangareddy, Dindi, Sitarama Lift Irrigation project are nearing completion.
The government claims that Telangana region which was once a permanent address for famine and drought is now transformed and shaped as an excellent agriculture-based state.