In a drought-stricken country where a majority of farmers still rely on lentils for their staple crops, some farmers are resorting to growing beef and beans instead.
This is the case of Nandu Singh, an elder of Kurukshetra village, in Uttar Pradesh’s Meghalaya state, who has been selling lentils in the village for years.
“My family had used to buy the lentils from the market for about two or three rupees, but we have no money.
Now we have to sell them to pay our rent,” Singh said.
With the drought hitting the state hard, many farmers have started planting beans in their fields.
This is a good opportunity for farmers like Singh, who are facing a tough time.
A drought-hit farmer from the village sells lentils to his neighbours to buy his rent.
The lentils are being sold in the markets of neighbouring districts in Uttar and Bihar, Singh said, adding that they have been growing in the fields of the village since the last few months.
“We have started buying the beans for Rs 5-10 from the farmers in our neighbourhood.
They are not doing it because they are in the midst of a crisis.
But now they are thinking of buying them,” he said.
The beans are not only important for the farmers but also for the locals who are getting ready for the next crop.
“It is a new way to eat lentils,” said a farmer from Nalgonda village in the district.
The farmer, who declined to be named, said that Lentils are a staple in his village and the demand is growing.
“When the crop is sold, it will help the farmers get enough money to pay their rent and other bills,” he added.
Ranjeet Bhatt, another farmer from Thane in Uttar, said, “Lentils are our main food.
The money earned is helping us feed our family and give our children a better start in life.”
This is not the first time that lentils have been used for food in the state.
Earlier this year, farmers from a small village in Uttar state sold lentils on the market to get enough cash for their monthly rent.
In 2014, the government announced a special scheme for farmers that would provide cash grants of Rs 2,000 per hectare to the poor farmers and Rs 10,000 for farmers who are in debt.