How to Increase Pulse Production in India?

Successive governments have done efforts via a variety of schemes to improve pulse production in the country. These include National Food Security Mission on Pulses (NFSM-Pulses), Integrated Scheme of Oilseeds, Pulses, Oilpalm & Maize, macro-management of agriculture, integrated development of 60,000 pulses villages in rainfed areas, minimum support prices to the pulses and so on. However, these schemes have made a slow headway towards addressing the problem.  Some of the efforts which can be done to increase pulse production are as follows:

Development and Promotion of Drought Tolerant varieties

Since pulse crops in India are generally grown in arid and semi-arid areas of the country, there is need to develop more short-duration, high-yielding varieties of pulses, matching the crop maturity duration to soil moisture availability. This would avoid drought stress. Using this strategy, nine fold jump was recorded in Andhra Pradesh in a decade 2000-2009.

However, the availability of better seeds to the poor farmers is a major problem. The accessibility of smallholder farmers to quality seed of improved pulses varieties is constrained by both inadequate demand creation and limited supply.

Using Rice-pulse cropping pattern

A large part of the Indo-gangetic plains used for rice production remains fallow in winter season. The Rabi pulses can be grown in such fallows. Some agricultural universities in India have shown that the short duration pulses varieties can be successfully grown with reasonably high yield in such regions.

Pigeonpea in rice-wheat cropping systems

In the Indo-gangetic plains, the most popular cropping pattern is the Rice–wheat cropping system. The continuous production of cereals has lead to depletion of soil fertility and increased incidence of pests and diseases, and is posing a serious threat to sustainability of the entire rice-wheat cropping system. If legumes are included in the rice–wheat cropping system; it would not only help to restore soil fertility but also reduce other associated problems.

Better Management of operations

There is a need to promote mechanized field operations and effective management of pests.

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