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Summer Crop Sowing is a Top Priority for Tribal Farmers

One such model is traditionally available in Rajasthan's tribal belt, where traditional farming techniques have been modified to create a more sustainable model.

Shivam Dwivedi
Tribal Farmers of Rajasthan in his field
Tribal Farmers of Rajasthan in his field

Farmers' distress in India is at an all-time high; therefore, it is critical to look for a model that can help them increase their profit while also improving soil productivity. One such model is traditionally available in Rajasthan's tribal belt, where traditional farming techniques have been modified to create a more sustainable model.

Aside from the Rabi and Kharif seasons, which every farmer looks forward to, the tribal belt of Rajasthan is also known for the Zaid season.

This season falls between the previous two; crops are grown from February to May, which not only meets the nutritional needs of the soil but also provides an additional source of income for farmers who would otherwise migrate in search of work.

During the Zaid season, tribal farmers primarily cultivate pulses such as moong and urad. According to Jayesh Joshi, Secretary Vaagdhara, a Banswara-based civil society, these crops meet their nutritional needs because they are high in protein, and the residue is used as animal fodder.

"For a good harvest, the Zaid crops require dry weather and the availability of irrigation facilities." Planting for shorter-term crops begins in February and continues through May, preparing the land for Kharif sowing in June after the monsoon arrives. The zaid crop will improve the physical condition of the existing soil by increasing modulation in accordance with the principles of pulse crops," he says.

Joshi stated that the government must ensure irrigation facilities and supply for this crop, protect the crops by establishing a system involving Panchayat by which stray cattle would be kept away from the crops, ensure purchase at the MSP at harvest, and most importantly, ensure supply of quality seed.

Dr. Pramod Rokadia, an agriculture scientist, echoed the same sentiment, stating that Banswara and neighbouring districts are well-known for three crop seasons, with Zaid being one of the most important due to its importance in traditional farming.

Zaid crops help to maintain soil fertility; legumes bear their seeds in pods, and much of the nitrogen they require is produced by bacteria in nodules on their roots fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Legumes are high in protein and thus essential for meeting nutritional needs. Farmers are using their land and water reserves to grow profitable crops this year, including a few pulses, he said.

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