What the article is about:
- The article talks about perverse policies and other causes that are causing pulses to become an “orphan crop”.
- GS1: Agricultural resources
- GS3: Cropping pattern, Food security
- Paper1: Essay
- The article discusses that why pulses are being sidelined by the farmers and,farmers are shifting towards crops requiring more water and chemical fertilisers.
Area under pulse cultivation:
- Overall pulses are sown till July 29 has increased by 2.9% over the same period of last year.
- But are under the main kharif pulses crop, arhar (pigeon pea) has fallen by 13.5%, while it has risen for pulses of shorter duration i.e. moong( green gram), and urad(black gram).
- In two major pulse growing states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, two- third area has been diverted to soybean and cotton.
Reasons for this shift:
- Prices are primary driver, soybean is trading roughly 50% above its minimum support price(MSP).
- Yields are more or less the same as pulses.
- Bountiful rains have given added boost to shift towards cotton.
Why pulses are important:
- Pulses are valuable protein source for people who’s diet is vegetarian and cereal based.
- Pulses harbour bacteria that naturally “fix” atmospheric nitrogen.
- Their extensive root system keep the soil porous and well- aerated.
Need of hour
- Pulses should become a commercial crop rather than a crop of last resort.
- It requires assured MSP, a stable import policy and breeding of varieties that are of shorter duration.
- The perverse policies needs to be revised so that farmers don’t shift to the water guzzling crops.