Guar, a versatile crop with industrial uses and export potential, has transformed economic status of large number of farmers in Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.
Low input cost and high yield are encouraging farmers to cultivate drought tolerant legume guar seed. Different varieties developed by the Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur had given an edge to the farmers of these two states. It has now become a cash crop due to more than 150 guar gum industries operating in India to consume any amount of guar seeds produced.
In Haryana alone, the production of guar seed has increased four folds since 1991 to 2007. The production of guar seed in Haryana has increased from less than one lakh tones during 1991-92 to more than four lakh tones in 2007-08. The productivity also increased from 600Kg/ ha during 1992-93 to 1200 Kg/ha at present. The high yielding and short duration varieties developed by Haryana Agriculture University, Hisar has helped them to increase in yield with low input cost.In Andhra Pradesh, a large number of farmers are adopting guar seed towards stabilizing their livelihoods. Almost no fertilizer inputs and limited disease infestation are encouraging farmers to adopt guar for improvement in productivity and profitability.
Research carried out by the Regional Agriculture Research Station, Triupati of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University shows that Guar can be more productive in light soils under low and uncertain rainfall situations in Andhra Pradesh. Comparison of cost and returns shows that Guar can be grown as profitable and viable alternative crop in low and uncertain rainfall areas with Benefit-Cost ratio of 1:1.14 as against groundnut with B.C. ratio of 1:0.47.
Unlike groundnut crop, where seed alone costs Rs 1800-2000/acre, the seed cost and entire cost of cultivation of guar, pulses and millets ranges from Rs 2000-2500/acre. Even in case of total failure of rains there will not be much loss to the farmers.
(Source: NAIP sub project on Mass Media Mobilization, DIPA)