From existential farming to nation’s best, Telangana transforms its agricultural landscape

Denied its share of river water and an opportunity to flex its wings for take-off, the farming sector in the Telangana region suffered for decades in silence

From existential farming to nation’s best, Telangana transforms its agricultural landscape

HYDERABAD: Denied its share of river water and an opportunity to flex its wings for take-off, the farming sector in the Telangana region suffered for decades in silence.

The newborn State has fast-tracked agricultural development by attending to every single need of the farmers empowering them to achieve the unimaginable.

Telangana State, which was a barren land a decade earlier, has now become a lush green state increasing production of all major crops.

A farmer-centric economy

Telangana was an agrarian economy with more than 60 percent of the rural population depending on agriculture and allied activities such as animal husbandry, fisheries and horticulture. The Gross Value Added (GVA) by the agriculture and allied sectors has increased by 186 percent since 2014, making it a significant contributor to the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP).

The production of total food grains in 2020-21 was 1,274.5 tonnes which was an increase of around 60 percent since 2015-16. Paddy production in the State has surpassed all its past records. Rice accounted for 80 percent of the total foodgrain production in 2020-21 and the production of rice has increased by 70 percent since 2015-16.

Telangana surpasses Andhra

When compared with the data from the sibling State of Andhra Pradesh, the production of rice in 2015-16 was 60 percent higher there than in Telangana. However, in 2020-21, the rice production in Telangana surpassed the production in Andhra Pradesh by 23 percent.

Yasangi record

Telangana has scaled a new high in the cultivation of Yasangi (Rabi) crops as they are raised on a record extent of nearly 69.24 lakh acres in the agriculture year of 2022-23, including paddy on about 53.71 lakh acres, which was also a record.

The previous record for the Yasangi season was in 2020-21 when the total extent was over 68.14 lakh acres and that of paddy was 52.79 lakh acres

Integration of IT

The Center has lauded the state for integration of IT into agriculture and also acknowledged that Telangana State has created many milestones in Agriculture progressively and showcased best practices, especially highlighting the Crop Booking Enhancement for monitoring the crop data validations and crop health status and also Online License Management System (OLMS) for fertilizers, seeds and pesticides.

Agriculture inputs

For Vanakalam (Kharif) 2023 season, 23.09 lakh metric tonnes of fertilizers were allotted, saving farmers from standing in long lines. During 2013-14, as many as 5.59 lakh quintals of seed with a subsidy value of Rs 76.71 crore was allocated. During 2021-22, 1.76 lakh quintals of green manure seed was distributed with a subsidy value of Rs 63.69 crore benefitting 3,26,927 farmers.

During 2022-23, a green manure seed plan has been prepared to distribute 1.66 lakh quintals for an area of 13.60 lakh acres with a subsidy value of Rs 71.46 crore benefitting 3.33 lakh farmers. For 2023-24, the total quantity of seed available in the state is 22.50 lakh qtls which could cover an area of 182.32 lakh acres

Uninterrupted power

One of the most significant Government schemes that have contributed the most in Telangana is the 24/7 free power supply and lift irrigation projects

Lift irrigation projects

Irrigation projects contributed to the increase in crop yields and overall land under cultivation. As of 2023, there were 27 lakh borewells in Telangana and the lift irrigation projects have reduced dependency on borewells.

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) aided in the increase of groundwater levels, rejuvenation of failed wells and ponds, improvement of vegetation in barren lands, and creation of micro-climate.

Rythu Bandhu

The scheme was not implemented in 2013-14. After the formation of the State from 2018-19 to 2022-23 for ten seasons 65,00,588 farmers benefited with an amount of Rs 65,190.32 crore, through the e-Kuber platform and IFMIS platforms.

Rythu Bima

The farmer insurance scheme was not implemented by the erstwhile governments. From 2018, the Telangana Government paid a total premium on behalf of the enrolled farmers. An expenditure of Rs 5,383.83 crore was incurred for payment of premiums toward enrolled farmers. Since 2018, 99,297 deceased farmer families were supported by payment of an insured amount of Rs 4964.85 crore at the rate of Rs 5.00 lakh per family.

Crop Loan Waiver

During 2014-15 an amount of Rs 16,144.10 crore was waived off benefitting 35,31,913 farmers at the rate of Rs one lakh per family. In the first phase, an outstanding loan amount of up to Rs 25,000 was waived off to the tune of Rs 408.38 crores benefitting 2,96,571 farmers.

In the second phase, an amount of Rs 798.99 crore was credited to 2,46,038 farmers’ loan accounts. An amount of Rs 6,385 crore was approved in budget estimates for FY 2023-24 implementation of the scheme.

Farm Credit

Credit is one of the most important inputs laying emphasis on timely and adequate credit support to the farmers, particularly small and marginal farmers enabling the adoption of the latest technology for improved productivity and crop production and thereby income levels.

During 2014-15 an amount of Rs 18,419 crore was disbursed benefitting 27.82 lakh farmers while during 2022-23, an amount of Rs 46,617.01 crore was disbursed benefitting 56.41 lakh farmers. For the year 2023-24, an amount of Rs 1741.91 crore was already disbursed as of date.

Farm Mechanisation

During the 10 years before Telangana was formed an amount of Rs 490.96 crore was spent on farm mechanisation benefitting only 10.64 lakh farmers. After the formation of Telangana from 2014-15 to 2017-18 an amount of Rs 951.28 crore was spent benefitting 6.71 lakh farmers over seven years.

Given a strong need for promoting farm mechanisation the Government has allocated an amount of Rs 500 crore for the year 2022-23 under State Sector Schemes (SSS).

Rythu Vedika

In all 2601 Rythu Vedikas were constructed with an amount of Rs 572.22 crore. Around 1,11,140 training camps were conducted so far in Rythu Vedikas to create awareness about crop diversification, alternate crops, and remunerative crops benefiting 23,25,767 farmers in 12,769-gram panchayats

These platforms are useful for meeting the farmers, agriculturists, members of the farmers’ coordination committee, and scientists of the village. Rythu Vedikas are provided with books with the latest information on agriculture and allied subjects.

Comprehensive cleansing of land records

From September 15 to December 31, 2017, the Government successfully conducted a revenue special drive across the state. Purification of land records was done as a revenue village unit.

In the case of 94 percent of land in rural areas, the special drive has brought clarity. New pass books were issued by Dharani and the Rythu Bandhu Crop Investment Assistance Scheme was fully implemented.

Rythu Bandhu Samitis

Rythu Bandhu Samitis have designed activities to help farmers at every stage, from the time of sowing of seed to securing them a remunerative price for the crop. 1,61,995 farmers joined the Rythu Bandhu Samitis formed in 10,769 villages of the State.

Agro Rythu Seva Kendras (ARSKs)

More than 950 Agro Rythu Seva Kendras were functioning for the supply of agriculture inputs including fertilisers.

A proud profession

Agriculture in Telangana has come a long way since the state’s formation in 2014. Agriculture remained a significant contributor to Telangana’s economy and has the potential to further drive inclusive growth and development in the state. The current and planned initiatives of the Telangana Government in the agriculture sector were aimed at making agriculture a profitable and proud profession.

Research Inputs: Mani Deepthi Elluri

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