The Haryana state government is set to encourage farmers to shift away from cultivating the water-guzzling paddy crop on two lakh acres this year.
JP Dalal, Haryana’s Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, explained to The Indian Express that the government would roll out an incentive of Rs 7,000 per acre to farmers who cultivate maize, cotton, pulses and horticulture crops instead of paddy.
This monetary benefit will be provided under the ‘Mera Paani-Meri Virasat’ campaign, which aims to reduce the massive usage of water that is otherwise required in paddy fields.
Moreover, the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government will provide an insurance cover amounting between Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 per acre to cultivators who decide to substitute paddy with fruits and vegetables for a small premium.
There is a massive opportunity for the development of horticulture in Haryana as 60 per cent of its area falls in the national capital region (NCR), which could further facilitate the delivery of fresh fruits and vegetables to Delhi residents.
Farmers will also be motivated to grow pulses like urad, moth bean and moong as these products tend to attract lucrative prices in the market.
The ‘Mera Paani-Meri Virasat’ initiative was launched in 2020, and it targeted reducing the area of land used to cultivate paddy by one lakh acres last year.