Maharashtra may switch from growing chana and wheat to maize and jowar

Maharashtra intends to reduce the area planted to chana and wheat by 27% and 20%, respectively, during the rabi season. Maharashtra is the second-largest producer of chana and the sixth-largest producer of wheat in the nation. As an alternative, it intends to expand the acreage of crops like jowar and maize, which require very little water.

Concerns among farmers in rain-fed areas have intensified as a result of October’s above-average temperatures, low reservoir levels, and potential effects of El Nino on the upcoming winter season. The agriculture department of Maharashtra has planned to plant 21.52 lakh fewer hectares of rabi chana this year compared to the 29.66 lakh hectares of chana sown last year.

In the rabi season of 2023–2024, the state administration intends to cut the area planted with wheat from the 12.28 lakh hectares it was last year to 10 lakh hectares. “Instead of crops, which require more water, we intend to grow more jowar and maize for feed. According to a high-ranking member of the state’s agriculture department who asked not to be identified, wheat requires roughly 4-5 cycles of irrigation, which may not be practical in some regions.

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