UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | Crops of Last Resort | 4th August, 2022

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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.


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