Alcohol may not be good for health, but farmers in Narmadapuram district of Madhya Pradesh are considering it a boon for cultivating pulses. Besides moong, farmers are also using it for turmeric and a few other crops. While farmers vouch for alcohol as a pesticide, agricultural scientists have a different opinion.
Most farmers are using 100 ml of country liquor mixed with 15 litres of water and spraying their crop once after sowing. While most say it is better and cheaper than chemical fertilisers, some farmers even claim it gives a better crop yield.
Premshankar Patel from Nayakheda in Narmadapuram shared his unique recipe for increasing crop yield, mixing a small quantity of liquor with water and spraying it over his crop.
Unconventional? Yes, but he believes it helps.
“It grows well, it produces a good crop… There are benefits,” claimed Mr Patel.
“The cost of spraying pesticide on moong comes to Rs 100-150 per acre, while country liquor costs Rs 10-12 per acre… A little bit of pesticide has to be sprayed for the caterpillars. Spraying is done 40 days after sowing the crop,” said Mr Patel.
Ghasiram from Bichua village says that the technique not only improves the quantity of the yield but also its quality, He mixes country liqour with water. About 50-100 ml of alcohol is mixed with 15 litres of water.
Jitendra Bhargava, who cultivates 30 acres of land in Jamunia Randhir village, said 500 ml of alcohol is consumed per acre, so the cost comes down to a fraction
Pesticides like Corogen, Amida, Acida, Thio, are currently available in the market for moong crop. But they cost Rs. 1,200 to Rs 1,800, compared to country liquor, which costs Rs 100-150. Many farmers are spraying mahua liquor mixed with water, which costs around Rs 80.
But scientists say there is no evidence to show that alcohol use improves crop quality, They feel that at best, it can help eradicate pests.
Dr SB Agarwal, Senior Scientist from Jawahar lal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya said, “There is no scientific research or study to prove alcohol can improve the quality of moong.”
In 2022-23, Madhya Pradesh had received a target of 2,75,645 metric tonnes for the purchase of moong. The state government had procured 3.5 lakh metric tonnes.
Seeing the benefits, farmers have sown moong in more area this time. Around 10.79 lakh hectares in the state are now under moong cultivation, compared to 9.29 lakh hectares last year. The state is one of the key producers of the crop.