One of the most famous cash crops of Western Maharashtra is Waghya ghevada. Grown extensively in North Koregaon taluka of Satara district, this rajma was first cultivated in 1950 by the late Kashinath Mahajan who bought seeds of this variety from a trader in Pune. This variety soon became popular with the locals and was called Waghya which in Marathi means tiger as the rajma bears red stripes resembling those of a tiger.
Known as ‘Koregaon Rajma’ or ‘King Rajma’, this crop is grown by approximately 20,000 farmers in more than twelve thousand hectares of land in Satara district. The agro-climatic conditions (medium black well-drained fertile soil, less rainfall and perennially drought prone conditions) are suitable for growing Waghya rajma.
The tilling of the land begins in May followed by harrowing and levelling. Seed sowing by seed drill is done in mid-June as the weather becomes cool and cloudy in Koregaon. It is sown in the Kharif season and generally, seeds from the previous year’s stock are selected.
Flowering starts normally after 30 – 45 days of sowing. Green pods mature in 70 days, pods with greyish coloured stripes are seen at 80 days and beans turn yellow with red stripes on maturity. Harvesting is done only when the pods turn brown in colour. The harvested crop is dried for 2 – 3 days in the sun and threshed by machine. Clean and good beans are preserved for the next year.
Waghya ghevada beans are sweeter than other varieties of rajma and has high nutritional value. The beans are faint pink in colour with red lines and are called ‘Bamani Pik’. There is another hybrid variety called ‘Varun’ which does not bear red stripes but is equally popular.
Fresh beans are normally consumed in the cold season as it increases body temperature. This leguminous crop improves soil condition by fixing atmospheric Nitrogen. Straws of this crop as well as the skin cover of the dry pods are used as fodder for domestic animals. Dry leaves and roots are used as organic matter to improve soil fertility.
Waghya ghevada is in great demand in Maharashtra as well as in North India. This indigenous variety has tremendous agricultural potential because it is cultivated under the dry farming technique. It is good for crop rotation and is a drought resistant variety.
Waghya ghevada received the Geographical Indication Tag (GI) in 2016.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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