0.8 mln ha

Down to Earth - - AGRICULTURE -

pulses stag­nated at 12-14 mil­lion tonnes.The per capita avail­abil­ity of pulses re­duced from 61 g to 37 g in the past 60 years.

The sce­nario has im­proved a lit­tle in the past few years.The pro­duc­tion of pulses has risen from 14.5 mil­lion tonnes in 2008-09 to 19.25 in 2013-14, pri­mar­ily due to the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to strengthen seed pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion,and the con­tin­u­ous in­crease of min­i­mum sup­port price. But this spurt in pulse pro­duc­tion is not enough to meet the de­mand as the im­port of pulses has also seen a rise. In 2014-15, In­dia im­ported 4.58 mil­lion tonnes of pulses, against 3.18 mil­lion tonnes im­ported in 2013-14.

The rea­son be­hind the de­cline in pulses pro­duc­tion in the north­ern states is im­proved ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties,which al­lowed th­ese states to grow wa­ter-in­ten­sive crops, such as rice and wheat. Th­ese crops also give as­sured re­turns be­cause they are pro­cured by the gov­ern­ment.Southern states,which were mostly rain-fed and where ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties are not good, started grow­ing pulses. De­vel­op­ment of heat-tol­er­ant va­ri­eties,such as JG11 (a chick­pea va­ri­ety), also helped. “JG-11 had changed the land­scape of pulses pro­duc­tion in south In­dia,” says A Arvind Reddy,prin­ci­pal sci­en­tist,In­dian Agri­cul­tural Re­search In­sti­tute (iari).An­other rea­son be­hind this shift from north to south was a pest.

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