Wednesday, February 20, 2013

With less water around, sugarcane growers switch over to fruits, vegetables

 Farmer Srinivas of Kelanakuppe Panchayat
seen harvesting watermelons at his farm.  

Scarcity of water combined with shortage of power has dealt a double whammy on farmers, forcing several of them in the region to switch to fruits, vegetables and flowers, as they can get quick returns and also water requirements are minimal.

According to Horticulture Department officials, the number of sugarcane growers has come down in Mysore district and hundreds of farmers in the region have switched over to growing fruits, specially watermelon, muskmelon, tomato and vegetables like brinjal, cucumber, and flowers, depending on the climatic condition of the regions.

Its has become a herculean task to provide water for sugarcane and have to wait for a year to realise profit. But now the same can be got within two months by growing watermelon, muskmelon, tomato, brinjal,” says farmer Lokesh of Varuna Hobli, who has switched over to horticulture from growing cane just a year ago.

Another farmer Srinivas of Kelanakuppe Panchayat, Varuna Hobli said,that "in our region around 80 per cent of farmers have stopped harvesting sugarcane. I had cultivated sugarcane in 15 acres of land, but since last year I switched over to cultivate fruits, vegetables which yielded a turnover of Rs 20 lakh this year." Srinivas is presently growing watermelons and tomatoes in the 12 acres plot and the same are harvested alternately every month, giving him good returns.
Puttegowdana Village Varuna Hobli Cluster President and Farmer Rajbuddhi said that several farmers in the region are growing melons and getting handsome money, depending upon the market price. Rajbuddhi who also maintains a nursery has sold around 6 lakh saplings of melons and tomatoes over the past 9 months.

Another farmer Nagaraj who owns 4 acres of land is also growing fruits and vegetables at his plot for the first time and has witnessed good returns. He is already preparing for a second harvest.

Adoption of latest methods

Thanks for the Comprehensive Horticulture Development Programme, introduced by Horticulure Department following drought, which has brought cheers on hundreds of farmers, even when state is witnessing severe drought.
Several farmers in the region have adopted latest techniques like high density plantation, Trench plantation, mulching technology where farmers can now plant around 200 saplings, which was earlier restricted to a mere 60 per acre. Accordingly the corresponding yield has also increased to more than 30 tonnes in place of just 10 tonnes earlier.
Meanwhile to promote farmers, Horticultre Department is providing subsidy to these farmers under Programme. Department Deputy Director HM Nagaraj said that measures have been taken to educate farmers about what crops could be grown so they can reap profit. “We have asked farmers to compulsorily adopt drip irrigation to avoid wastage of water, and adopt mulching technology to get good yield."

About 14 Cluster's and Producer's society have been formed in the District (2 clusters in every taluk). Under the cluster, farmers are growing papaya, mango, Chikoo, roses, banana, vegetables and fruits.

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