Agriculture experts say that due to sowing of high yielding varieties of bajra and good rains last year. the production shot up. Since bajra is a rain fed crop and is sown between June 25 and July 15. Moreover, the Haryana Agriculture University (HAU) has helped in introduction of new hybrid varieties to the farmers which are high yielding, a senior agriculture official told FE.
The HAU has developed 12 better yielding varieties of bajra crop suited as per the changing conditions. Bajra is mainly grown in Bhiwani, Narnaul, Rewari, Sirsa and Jhajjar. Demand of the crop has increased due to its nutritious value over the past few years. Bajra ranks third in foodgrain after wheat and rice in India.
Sharing the production figures, the official further said, in 2008-09 Bajra was cultivated over 6.13 lakh hectares and the production was 10.87 mt. Whereas the production dropped to 9.32 mt in 2009-10 with an area of 5.85 lakh hectares. And in 2010 the acreage has also increased to 6.61 lakh hectares with an increased production of 11.75 mt. The productivity of the crop has also been varying between 18.41 quintal/ha in 2007-08 to 15.93 quintal/ha in 2009-10 and 17.78 quintal/ha in 2010-11.
The department of agriculture in the state has also assigned field officers who guide the farmers about the right methods of cultivation and using various inputs for higher production. Keeping in mind the average of the last three years the department expects bajra to be sown over an area of 6.10 lakh hectares and the production to be around 10.98 lakh hectares. The agriculture official further said, The minimum support price for bajra in 2010 prevailed at R880 per quintal. We have proposed that the MSP be raised to R1,075 per quintal for the coming season. The decision is expected soon.
The HAU scientists are carrying out research on the extension of bajra production technology. They feel that use of new technology in bajra crop could enhance 30% foodgrain production.