Hyderabad: Farmers in Telangana are avoiding paddy production even during the current kharif season as a result of the Centre’s restrictions on buying paddy from the state. Farmers now favour cotton over paddy. As a result, the state’s paddy average has drastically declined in Kharif.

Kharif season starts on June 1 and ends on September 30. As per data obtained from the agriculture department till July 6, farmers in Telangana sowed paddy crops over an extent of 1,31,136 acres against 2,30,955 acres on July 6 last year. The total crop sown area for paddy for entire kharif in the state is 42,04,280 acres and the normal area till July 6 should be 2,36,238 acres. The current crop sown area for paddy is almost half of normal area indicating farmers reluctance to sow paddy.

Contrarily, cotton was sown over a vast region totaling 31,86,635 acres as of July 6 compared to the normal area of 31,83,670 acres as of that date.

However, the cotton crop area was slightly higher at 33,94,194 acres on July 6 last year. But still, it is much higher when compared with paddy crop area of just 1,31,136 acres this khairf. Farmers are shifting to Soyabean, sunflower, redgram, greengram, blackgram, maize, and millets crops.

The Centre started imposing restrictions on paddy procurement from the state from the recent rabi season  by stating that it will not procure boiled rice which is usually produced in Telangana during rabi.

However, the state government procured rabi paddy on its own from April 15 to June end this year by spending nearly Rs 10,000 crore and offered to supply raw rice to Centre by bearing the losses incurred on account of milling raw rice instead of boiled rice. But, the Centre stopped raw rice procurement from Telangana from June 7 this year citing irregularities in rice mills during milling. The rice stockpiles have been deteriorating in rice mills for the past one month with no procurement from the Centre.