Gram chana Farming in india

Gram chana, also known as chickpea, Bengal gram or chana, is one of the most important pulse crops in India. It is a rich source of protein, fiber, iron and calcium for human consumption and also serves as fodder for livestock. Gram chana can be processed into split pulse (chana dal) and flour (besan), which are used to make various snacks, sweets and dishes. Gram chana belongs to the Fabaceae family and its botanical name is Cicer arietinum L.

Varieties of Gram chana

There are two main varieties of gram chana based on the size, color, thickness and shape of the seed:

  • Desi gram chana: These are smaller in size and have angular seeds with thick coats. They may vary from tan to black in color. They are mainly cultivated in dry lands of India and Bangladesh. They have high fiber content and low glycemic index (GI), which makes them suitable for diabetic patients. They are also cheaper than the Kabuli variety.
  • Kabuli gram chana: These are larger in size and have round seeds with thin coats. They range from white to tan in color. They are mainly cultivated in Africa, Europe, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chile. They were introduced in India in the 18th century. They have higher protein content and lower fat content than the Desi variety. They are also more preferred by consumers for their taste and appearance.

Some of the high yielding hybrid varieties of gram chana in India are:

AvrodhiDesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
GauravDesiSuitable for late sowing and drought conditions
Uday (KP-75)DesiHigh yield potential and tolerant to wilt
Gora HisariDesiResistant to wilt and pod borer
K-850DesiSuitable for rainfed conditions and resistant to wilt
Pant G-114DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
H-208DesiResistant to wilt and pod borer
Pusa-256DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
Pusa-362DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
Pusa-372DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
JG-315DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
Haryana Chana-1DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
H-355DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
RadheyDesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
C-235DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
G-543DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
Phule G-5DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
C-3DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
B-124B R-78DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
ST-4DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
RS-10DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
RS-11DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases
PUSA-209DesiResistant to wilt and root rot diseases

Climate Required for Gram chana Farming

Gram chana is a winter season crop that grows well under good moisture conditions with ideal temperatures between 24°C and 30°C. It does not tolerate frost, especially at the flowering stage, as it damages the seed development in the pod. It can be cultivated under both irrigated and rainfed conditions. The optimum time for sowing gram chana in most of the northern India is the second fortnight of October, while in peninsular India, it is the first fortnight of October.

Field Preparation and Sowing

The field should be selected in a place that can receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sun in cooler climates, but a bit of afternoon shade in warmer areas. The soil should be nutrient-rich and well-drained. To conserve moisture and control weeds, the soil should be cultivated with a blade harrow attached to a heavy wooden log. Shallow cultivation with a country plow should be done late in the evening for light soil, quite frequently.

The seeds should be treated with fungicides and biofertilizers before sowing to prevent diseases and enhance growth. The seeds should be sown at a depth of 5 to 6 cm and a spacing of 30 to 45 cm between rows and 10 to 15 cm between plants. The seed rate varies from 75 to 100 kg per hectare depending on the variety and soil type. The seeds should be sown in furrows or on flat beds depending on the moisture availability.

Irrigation and Fertilization

Gram chana requires less water than other crops and can withstand drought conditions. However, irrigation is necessary at critical stages such as germination, flowering and pod filling. The frequency and amount of irrigation depends on the soil type, rainfall and climatic conditions. Generally, 3 to 4 irrigations are sufficient for gram chana cultivation.

Gram chana requires less fertilizer than other crops as it can fix atmospheric nitrogen through symbiotic bacteria in its root nodules. However, application of phosphorus and potassium is beneficial for increasing yield and quality. The recommended dose of fertilizer for gram chana is 20 kg of nitrogen, 60 kg of phosphorus and 40 kg of potassium per hectare. Half of the nitrogen and full dose of phosphorus and potassium should be applied at the time of sowing, while the remaining nitrogen should be applied as top dressing at the time of flowering.

Weed Control and Pest Management

Weed control is essential for gram chana cultivation as weeds compete with the crop for nutrients, water and space. Weeds can be controlled by manual weeding, intercultivation or chemical methods. Manual weeding should be done twice or thrice during the crop growth, while intercultivation can be done with a blade harrow or a cultivator. Chemical weed control can be done by spraying pre-emergence or post-emergence herbicides such as pendimethalin, imazethapyr or quizalofop-ethyl.

Gram chana is susceptible to various pests and diseases that can reduce the yield and quality of the crop. Some of the major pests are pod borer, cutworm, aphid, thrips, whitefly and jassid. Some of the major diseases are wilt, root rot, blight, ascochyta blight and rust. Pest management can be done by adopting integrated pest management (IPM) practices such as crop rotation, resistant varieties, biological control agents, cultural practices and chemical pesticides. Disease management can be done by adopting disease-free seeds, resistant varieties, crop rotation, seed treatment, field sanitation and fungicides.

Harvesting and Yield

Gram chana is ready for harvesting when the pods turn brown and dry and the seeds rattle inside them. The harvesting should be done before the pods shatter and fall on the ground. The harvesting can be done manually by cutting the plants with a sickle or mechanically by using a harvester. The harvested plants should be threshed to separate the seeds from the pods and straw. The threshing can be done manually by beating the plants with sticks or mechanically by using a thresher. The threshed seeds should be cleaned, graded and dried to reduce the moisture content to 10 to 12 percent for safe storage.

The yield of gram chana depends on various factors such as variety, soil type, climatic conditions, irrigation, fertilization, weed control and pest management. The average yield of gram chana in India is about 1 ton per hectare.

Economics of Gram chana Farming

The economics of gram chana farming varies from region to region depending on the cost of inputs and output prices. However, an indicative cost-benefit analysis of gram chana farming for one hectare is given below:

ItemQuantityUnit Price (Rs.)Total Cost (Rs.)
Seed80 kg504000
FertilizerNPK (20:60:40)15003000
Irrigation4 times5002000
Weed ControlManual/Chemical10001000
Harvesting and ThreshingManual/Mechanical15001500
Total Cost of Cultivation12,500

The total cost of cultivation of gram chana for one hectare is estimated to be Rs.12,500. The cost may vary depending on the type of inputs and methods used.

The gross income from gram chana cultivation can be calculated by multiplying the yield and the market price. Assuming an average yield of 1 ton per hectare and an average market price of Rs.5,000 per quintal, the gross income can be estimated as:

Gross Income = Yield x Market Price = 1 ton x Rs.5,000 per quintal = Rs.50,000

The net income or profit from gram chana cultivation can be calculated by subtracting the total cost of cultivation from the gross income. Assuming a total cost of cultivation of Rs.12,500 and a gross income of Rs.50,000, the net income can be estimated as:

Net Income = Gross Income – Total Cost of Cultivation = Rs.50,000 – Rs.12,500 = Rs.37,500

The net income or profit from gram chana cultivation for one hectare is estimated to be Rs.37,500. The profit may vary depending on the yield and market price fluctuations.

Marketing of Gram chana

Gram chana is one of the major pulses consumed in India and has a high demand in both domestic and international markets. The marketing of gram chana involves various channels and intermediaries such as farmers, traders, wholesalers, retailers, processors and consumers. The price of gram chana is influenced by various factors such as production, demand, supply, quality, seasonality, government policies and market sentiments.

The government of India intervenes in the market to ensure remunerative prices for farmers and availability of gram chana for consumers. The government announces the minimum support price (MSP) for gram chana every year before the sowing season to protect the farmers from price fluctuations and distress sales. The government also procures gram chana from farmers through its agencies such as National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and Food Corporation of India (FCI) under the Price Support Scheme (PSS). The procured gram chana is distributed through the public distribution system (PDS) or sold in the open market.

The government also regulates the export and import of gram chana to balance the domestic demand and supply. The export of gram chana is generally banned as it is an essential commodity for domestic consumption. However, some varieties of gram chana such as superior quality kabuli chana are allowed to export under certain conditions. The import of gram chana is also restricted by imposing tariffs and quotas to protect the domestic farmers from cheap imports.

The procurement of gram chana by the government agencies has increased significantly in the 2022-23 rabi marketing season (RMS) due to higher production and lower market prices. According to NAFED data, a total of 25.54 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of gram chana has been procured till June 30, 2022 as against 6.31 LMT in 2021-22 RMS. The procurement of gram chana in 2022-23 RMS was about 19.3% of the total production, while it was only 5.7% in 2021-22 RMS. The procurement of gram chana has benefited about 11.8 lakh farmers across the country.

The MSP for gram chana for 2023-24 RMS has been increased by Rs.105 per quintal to Rs.5,335 per quintal from Rs.5,230 per quintal in 2022-23 RMS. This is a 2% increase over the previous year’s MSP. The MSP for lentil (masur) has been increased by Rs.500 per quintal to Rs.6,000 per quintal from Rs.5,500 per quintal in 2022-23 RMS. This is a 9.1% increase over the previous year’s MSP.

The table below shows the MSP for gram chana and lentil for rabi marketing season 2023-24.

CropMSP for 2023-24 (Rs per quintal)MSP for 2022-23 (Rs per quintal)Increase (Rs per quintal)Percentage increase
Gram (chana)5,3355,2301052%
Lentil (masur)6,0005,5005009.1%

Source: Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)

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