He invested around R10,000 mostly on the seed, pesticides, irrigation and labour. With the current market price of summer moong in Itarsi falling in the range of R4,500 to R5,000 a quintal, Uki expects a return of more than R50,000 on an average yield of 4-5 quintals an acre.
Till last year, Uki used to keep his field fallow after the wheat harvest for the kharif season, which starts in June-July.
Tulsi Ram, another farmer from the adjoining Pipaldhan village, has sown summer moong for the second year in a row in his four-acre land, switching between rabi and kharif seasons to supplement his income. The harvesting of short-duration moong has already started in many districts of Madhya Pradesh.
State agriculture department officials told FE that because of irrigation facilities available from the nearby Tawa reservoir and virtually disease-free nature of the crop, several farmers from Hoshangabad, Harda and Betul districts of Madhya Pradesh are switching to summer pulses, promoted under the National Food Security Mission for the past two years.
Under the NFSM, the farmers are provided with seeds and pesticides at 50% discount, besides access to quality seeds. NFSM aimed at increasing pulses production by two million tonne (MT) during 11th Plan period.
PK Vishwakarma, joint director, farmers welfare and agriculture department of Hoshangabad district said that in 2012, only 12,000 hectare of land was slotted for summer moong, but now more than 46,000 hectare or about 16% of agricultural land in the district is under the short-duration pulse, which is providing good returns to the farmers. Others districts such as Harda and Betul have 31,000 hectares and 345 hectares respectively, under green gram cultivation this year.
This short-duration crop has helped farmers take up three crops in a year and has boosted their income in the last two years. We will be soon notifying orders for collection of production data of green moong, which was not done till now because of lesser areas under cultivation, said Rahul Jain, collector, Hoshangabad. Usually farmers take up two crops, mostly wheat in the rabi or winter season, and paddy or soyabean in the kharif season.
Agricultural scientists said earlier green gram used to be cultivated as part of the kharif season and many times excessive rainfall used to impact the crop yield. However, the summer moong uses the soil moisture present after the wheat harvest and needs little irrigation during its two-month crop cycle.