Jamtada (Jharkhand), Aug 25 : Farmers in Jharkhand are geared up to diversify into commercial cultivation of chillies as they anticipate better profits from its cultivation.
The farmers are increasingly shifting to chilly cultivation as a major crop after a huge success of pilot project of cultivation of hybrid chilli in the region that was launched by an NGO in a bid to make the farmers financially viable.
The farmers have been cultivating vegetables like Brinjal and potato, but the yields have been poor, mainly due to insufficient irrigation facilities, leaving farmers impoverished.
However, with an NGO initiating cultivation of hybrid chilly for better remuneration, farmers look forward to happier days ahead.
"We started cultivating crops like brinjal and potato, but we did not benefit much. After getting information about the hybrid seeds, we cultivated that. When we used to cultivate brinjal and tomato, the crop used to get damaged. We have now started sowing chillies which does not get damaged," said Bhola Prasad Mahto, a farmer.
The project was started on a small plot of land and the NGO claimed to produce about 40 kilograms of chillies every alternate day.
The cultivation of hybrid chillies has some added on advantages. Its cultivation doesn't require large amount of water and is easily cultivable in semi-arid soils.
"Here the soil has three layers. The upper crust is very sandy. The middle crust consists of humus and the third layer has rich cultivable soil. We are using all the three layers since the introduction of the hybrid seeds," said Shiv Thakur, an agricultural scientist.
Moreover, the stray cattle shirk to eat the crop, so the farmers don't need to put fences around their fields.
Farmers traditionally used to cultivate brinjals, but because of the lack of proper irrigation the crop did not sustain well. With the initiative that the NGO has taken the people are slowly adapting themselves to the cultivation of this commercial crop.
The farmers, who have already shifted to chillies cultivation, are reaping a rich dividend that promises to improve their living.