India: West Bengal farmers shift from wheat to lucrative banana, lentils and maize cultivation

Published Apr 2, 2024

Tridge summary

In West Bengal, particularly in the Murshidabad and Nadia districts, farmers are transitioning from wheat to more lucrative crops such as banana, lentils, and maize due to economic benefits, the threat of wheat blast, and extreme weather conditions. This shift is partly driven by a state-imposed ban on wheat cultivation in certain areas to prevent the spread of wheat blast. As a result, there has been a notable increase in the production of maize, pulses, and oilseeds, with farmers enjoying higher profitability due to greater per-hectare yields and industrial demand. Despite West Bengal contributing less than one percent to India's total wheat production, this move towards alternative crops is not expected to significantly impact national wheat security but could offer better returns for the state's farmers.
Disclaimer: The above summary was generated by Tridge's proprietary AI model for informational purposes.

Original content

West Bengal is witnessing a significant shift in crop patterns. Farmers are increasingly abandoning wheat cultivation in favour of more profitable alternatives. In Murshidabad and Nadia districts, bordering Bangladesh, farmers are cultivating banana, lentils and maize in place of wheat. “I own 3.7 hectares of farmland, and some 0.75 hectare of the land is located between Bangladesh and India border. Traditionally, my family grew wheat but it is not as economically feasible for us any more,” said Montu Mondal, a farmer from Sarkarpura village. Mondal has replaced about 80 per cent of his wheat with banana plantations. One of the major reasons behind the massive shift is a fungal disease that affects the crop, also called wheat blast. The disease was detected in Bangladesh in 2016 and the state government instituted a two-year ban on wheat cultivation in border areas and the two districts in an attempt to ‘starve’ the pathogen. The ban extended till 2022 in the region. Mondal stated ...
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