Ludhiana: Farmer Amrinder Singh has his fingers crossed. An early harvest of wheat this 12 months has given him hope of extra earnings by way of a summer season crop earlier than paddy cultivation begins mid-June. Singh has sown moong (inexperienced gram) seeds over two acres of land at Lakhwal village in Punjab’s Ludhiana district.

Moong often means good earnings however the crop has its personal dangers. It’s severely affected by rainfall, which suggests it must be harvested earlier than the wet season.

“It’s fairly a bet,” mentioned 47-year-old Singh. “Many farmers like me have gone for moong this 12 months as a result of they see satisfactory time for it earlier than the wet season begins. This 12 months, it has been potential due to the early wheat harvest.”

This 12 months, Punjab witnessed wheat harvest on the onset of April, as towards late within the month, which was the development during the last a number of years, authorities officers advised ThePrint.

Moong roughly has a 60-day cultivation cycle, which is why farmers throughout the state noticed it as a great choice to refill the hole between wheat harvest and sowing of paddy. The consequence: Moong cultivation picked up in Punjab this 12 months.

In accordance with authorities information, summer season moong cultivation in Punjab has touched 97,000 acres, virtually double the 50,000 acres recorded final 12 months.

Mansa district in Punjab leads the race when it comes to sowing moong, with a recorded space of 25,000 acres. Moga comes second with 12,750 acres, adopted by Ludhiana (10,750 acres), Bathinda (9,500 acres) and Sri Muktsar Sahib (8,750 acres), in line with authorities information.

This month, an announcement by the Aam Aadmi Social gathering (AAP) authorities in Punjab that it will procure all moong produce at Minimal Help Worth (MSP) added to the hopes of farmers.

Nonetheless, there was criticism in regards to the timing of the message. Had the announcement come earlier, extra would have grown the crop, farmers say. In addition they level out that farmers who have been propelled to develop moong after the announcement have completed so at appreciable danger because of the distinctive challenges of rising the crop.

Additionally Learn: An historical crop helps Punjab farmers struggle local weather change. However sustainability is essential

An assurance from the federal government, however ‘a bit too late’

On 6 Could, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann introduced that the state authorities would procure all moong produce this 12 months at an MSP of Rs 7,275 per quintal, as mounted by the Centre. That is one thing that has not occurred within the final a number of years, and farmers have been virtually solely depending on personal gamers for promoting moong.

Talking to reporters on the time, Mann mentioned that the choice on moong procurement was additionally made with a view to preserve groundwater and enhance soil well being by way of crop diversification.

Mann’s announcement got here with the caveat that farmers must sow paddy of both the PR-126 or Basmati varieties in fields used for moong after its harvest. It’s because these varieties mature extra shortly and devour much less water — a vital issue for Punjab, which has a extreme groundwater disaster.

Punjab, in line with authorities officers and agriculture researchers, is caught up in a deleterious paddy-wheat monoculture that’s taking a toll on the soil and is depleting water reserves.

Additional, in line with authorities estimates, the state produces barely 15 per cent of the full pulses it consumes and procures the remainder from different states. This makes boosting moong cultivation extra essential for the state.

Nonetheless, some farmers have identified that moong cultivation is dangerous enterprise, and that the announcement ought to have been made extra upfront of the wet season.

“The federal government’s announcement ought to have come a lot earlier. For farmers who cultivated moong in early April by wanting on the early wheat harvest, the chance is much less. However farmers who determined to go for sowing moong after the federal government’s announcement, regardless that I don’t suppose there are too lots of them, face an immense quantity of danger,” Lakhvir Singh, a farmer primarily based in Moga, mentioned.

‘Time is the vital issue right here’

Attaining a profitable moong yield may be fairly a problem.

Harvinder Singh, a 40-year-old farmer from Mehlo village in Ludhiana, expressed anguish over how, in the previous few a long time, there was drastic change in climate patterns, which has pushed the standard wheat harvest time in Punjab to late April. This typically doesn’t go away sufficient room for the total harvest of a 3rd crop between wheat and paddy.

Farmers throughout a number of districts in Punjab advised ThePrint how they often domesticate maize and bajra in summer season, however typically must go for a untimely harvest and promote the produce off as animal fodder. “The mid-April to mid-June interval is often an low season for many crops,” Harvinder Singh mentioned.

Some farmers do domesticate moong on a smaller scale in summer season, however with out a lot expectation when it comes to yield as a result of the final part within the cultivation interval typically coincides with rainfall. In such situations, many of the moong crop will get transformed into inexperienced manure, which provides worth to the soil, they mentioned.

Moong crop is thought for fixing soil nitrogen. Even when the yield drops, the advantages of nitrogen fixing of soil transfers to the following crop — which is paddy for many Punjab farmers.

The final time that each Amrinder Singh and Harvinder Singh bear in mind cultivating and promoting moong in a mandi (agricultural produce market) was in 2014. That, too, was a 12 months of barely early wheat harvest, they recalled.

“Getting a profitable moong yield is a giant problem. If it sees the sunshine of the day, it’s at all times good cash. Time is the vital issue right here,” Amrinder Singh mentioned.

Economics of moong

For farmers with their very own land, the enter value of cultivating moong over one acre involves Rs 8,000-9,000. The expense heads embrace seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, and labour. One acre often provides a yield of 5 quintal moong.

Moong is likely one of the 23 main crops for which the Union authorities broadcasts MSPs in an effort to insure farmers towards any sharp fall in costs.

Nonetheless, it’s a coverage measure, which primarily implies that there isn’t a authorized obligation on the a part of the federal government to purchase all crops for which MSP is introduced. There’s additionally no authorized obligation on personal gamers to purchase crops at MSP moderately than the market worth set by demand-supply dynamics.

Moong is one such crop on which authorities procurement is minimal, and farmer say they rely totally on personal gamers for promoting their output.

Whereas the MSP on moong elevated from Rs 6,975 per quintal in 2018-19 to Rs 7,275 per quintal in 2021-22, in line with Union authorities figures, many Punjab farmers advised ThePrint that in years of a great yield they handle to get solely round Rs 5,000 per quintal within the mandi.

By way of earnings, this interprets to about Rs 25,000 for an acre (assuming a yield of 5 quintals), towards an enter value of Rs 8,000-9,000.

This 12 months, the state authorities’s assurance of full procurement of moong at MSP has given farmers hope for increased earnings — in the event that they reach taking the moong to the mandi earlier than the wet season. At MSP, it interprets to round Rs 36,375 per acre for five-quintal yield.

However, due to the dangers concerned, the response to the announcement has been considerably muted.

Manpreet Singh Grewal, advisor to Kisan Membership, a farmers’ collective related to Punjab Agriculture College, advised ThePrint: “Crop diversification is extraordinarily important for Punjab. If the state authorities had made the announcement a month earlier or so, it will have led to extra farmers going for moong cultivation this 12 months.”

(Edited by Asavari Singh)

Additionally Learn: Punjab household beats paddy-wheat development, earns Rs 50L revenue rising mushrooms in 1.5 acre ‘AC farm’



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