Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is one of the most important oilseed crops cultivated across India. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana are the top eight states in the country in terms of production and area under cultivation.
In Telangana alone, groundnut is cultivated in the districts of Nagarkurnool, Wanaparthy, Gadwal and Mahabubnagar. It is estimated that Mahabubnagar district alone has over 1 lakh acres under cultivation. Small and marginal farmers contribute this significant rise in cultivation to the excellent schemes and initiatives of the central government. Farmers are now able to procure quality seeds, fertilizer subsidies, technology – based cropping patterns and drip irrigation from the various central government offerings.
This has particularly helped the farmers of Wanaparthy who have been cultivating their world – famous groundnuts for centuries using traditional farming techniques. Wanaparthy is renowned for its export – quality aflatoxin – free groundnut that is in great demand both in India and across the world.
The last 9 years specifically has seen a phenomenal rise in the quality and overall production per hectare that has helped farmers earn record prices per quintal for their groundnut produce. The timely intervention by the central government has resulted in the establishment of a much – needed groundnut crushing and processing plant that will sort and grade groundnuts and manufacture value – added products like cold – pressed groundnut oil, peanut butter and Wana chikki.
The processing unit has seen large orders from the state government, industries and domestic users. Their pure unrefined groundnut oil is now sold in supermarkets across the country. The groundnut pulp residue is highly nutritious and used as fodder for cattle. Locals say that the milk production has gone up in dairy animals due to this residue pulp.
As groundnut is a rabi crop, a research station would go a long way to develop new varieties of groundnuts that are both high – yielding and pest – resistant. It would be great to have several oil processing units close to the lands to enable farmers to sell their produce directly to these units and save on transportation costs.
Farmers are being encouraged by the central government to intercrop groundnut with cash crops like oil palm and the aromatic Krishna lemongrass that will substantially increase their annual income.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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