As a horticulture boom pushes up farm incomes, here are two key missing pieces

Bagepalli, around 100 km north of the information technology capital of Bengaluru, is a small town close to Karnataka’s border with Andhra Pradesh. An arid area, receiving barely 80 cm of rain annually, the region has historically seen farmers grow a range of hardy millets, groundnut and other crops that can survive these tough conditions. Irrigation is done using water pumped from borewells that run as deep as 1,500 feet. 

These hardships have not put off farmers in the town in Chikkaballapur district, where agriculture is the predominant economic activity. In fact, the farmers have identified an opportunity in adversity. Over the past decade, many farmers in the area have changed their fortunes for the better by growing an assortment of horticulture crops. Carrots, beetroots, fruits such as mangoes and grapes, and flowers such as marigold are spread across farms, some as small as one or two acres. 

Horticulture has a number of advantages compared with agriculture crops. For one, it’s more remunerative. Horticulture can be done on dry and hilly land. Water utilisation is lower and so is consequent risk of crop failure. Unlike large-scale cereal crops, horticulture farms can be much smaller, allowing marginal farmers to boost their earnings from their small landholdings. While horticulture crops require more inputs in the form of fertilisers and so on, farmers often plant two or three crops.....Read more


Source web page: Economic times

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