Telangana has 55% of population depending on agriculture and among them 75% are small and marginal. With average landholding just over 1.00 ha and 66% income coming only from cultivation, significant changes in the farming models are essential. Telangana is highly monocropped with paddy, cotton and maize (84% are under these crops in kharif and paddy maize occupy 73.5% in rabi)
a. Reduce the area under paddy by over 40% in Kharif and up to 50% of area Rabi. in the remaining paddy area shift to short duration varieties, dry/aerobic/SRI/SRT paddy models with increase in soil organic matter. doubling cropping of paddy should be banned. A study done by CSA in 2019 shows that per net GHG emissions from a hectare of paddy in AP and Telangana are 30.76 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and this is double compared to the emissions from one ha of organic SRI/Aerobic paddy. One acre of paddy consumes about 60.00 lakh lits (1000 acres consumes 0.2 tmc of water).
b. Reduce area under Cotton over 40% and completely avoid area under Herbicide Tolerant Cotton (currently it is illegally grown in over 20% of cotton growing area). This is particularly important in districts like Adilabad where drylands, shallow soil, slopy terrains are high.
c. In districts like Vikarabad where red gram monocropping is high and has led to increase in soil borne wilt. Crop rotation need to be promoted.
d. By reducing area under long duration crops like cotton and redgram and reducing paddy area under rabi significant additional area can be brought under additional cultivation for growing short duration pulses like blackgram, greengram, oilseeds like sesame, sunflower, safflower and vegetables.
e. establishing processing and storage facilities in clusters will help the farmers to make a shift. FPOs can be involved in the process.
f. Incentives and regulations can be effectively be used to promote this shift. Government should not succumb to political pressures but should make this shift happen, else farming would be in deep crisis.
f. have targetted approach to reduce chemical fertiliser use. Telangana has the highest cost of production for many crops.
g. Other very important policy measures are to restrict the ‘Rytu bandu’ to cultivators (owner or tenant or assignee) only and improve access to credit, insurance and other subsidies provided by the government.
h. there is great scope for promotion of livestock in the state which needs fodder, feed, water, health services etc. this should be accounted for when planning the cropping patterns.