13,408 hectares of land in the State are fallow; Agriculture department looks to increase production through scientific measures
PANJIM: Nearly 35 per cent of the total fallow land in Goa comprises cultivable waste land, with the State Agriculture Department embarking upon a major project to reclaim this land to make it arable. Nagpur-based ICAR-National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS&LUP) has identified 13,408 hectares of fallow land in the State.
Contract farming, rice intensification system and mechanised paddy transplantation are the focus areas of the department, which is working towards increasing the State’s agriculture production giving a boost to farmers, through scientific methods.
Fallow land in Goa equals to 10.3 per cent of the area used for food crops. Of the total fallow land, cultivable waste land (CWL) is spread across 4781 hectares, followed by 4707 hectares of current fallow land (CFL up to 2015) and 3920 hectares of fallow land other than the current fallow land (FLOCFL).
As per data available from the State Agriculture Department, Tiswadi tops the list with 3732 hectares of fallow land, which also accounts for 1491 hectares of CWL. This is followed by Bardez (3118 hectares) and Salcete (2352 hectares). Both talukas also have large amounts of CWL, while Salcete has 876 hectares, Bardez has 794 hectares of such wasteland.
Sattari taluka has the lowest area under fallow, land that is 74 hectares. However, almost 80 per cent of the land is CWL.
“The study has indicated that 35 per cent of the fallow land is cultivable waste land, which can be brought under cultivation after taking up basic things like de-weeding,” Agriculture director Nelson Figueiredo told Herald. The State currently has 30,000 hectares of land under paddy cultivation.
“There are various reasons for large tracts of fallow lands and CWL. The prime reason is that farmers today find paddy cultivation to be less profitable. Hence, our focus is now on to make paddy more profitable by reducing cost of cultivation, cost of labour and get high yields,” Figueiredo said.
He said that the basic challenge before State government is to make paddy cultivation a profitable venture so that farmers get back to their fields. The State has been working on increasing paddy yield by using technology, for which subsidies are offered for buying agricultural machines. “It is time to move ahead with agriculture by employing new scientific method,” he stated.
Explaining in brief, the director said that under contract farming, they are encouraging farmers having fragmented farms to join hands thus covering larger tracts of farm land and reducing the cost of cultivation and giving proper yield.
During times when labour is dear, paddy growers can reap extra benefits to the extent of 50 per cent for an individual grower and 60 per cent to the community, by adopting mechanised transplantation techniques and also use effectively the waste land for paddy cultivation, director explained.