The drugs and narcotics grown in Sholapur district comprise tobacco and betel-leaves. They together occupied an area of 1,707 acres in 1961-62, 1,194 acres in 1964-65, 1,122 acres in 1967-68 and 407 hectares in 1971-72. Table No. 10 gives the taluka-wise area under drugs and narcotics in Sholapur district from 1961-62 to 1971-72. Of tobacco and betel-leaves, tobacco is grown all over the district whereas betel-leaves are grown in all the talukas except Pandharpur, Sangola, Mohol and Mangalwedha. Akkalkot taluka had the largest area under betel-leaves in 1967-68.

Tobacco: Tobacco (tambakhu) occupied an area of 299 hectares in 1971-72 in the district, of which Akkalkot taluka accounted for 45 per cent. Table No. 11 gives the taluka-wise out-turn of tobacco in the district from 1961-62 to 1971-72.

Tobacco crop thrives well on rich alluvial soils. Dry climate and low rainfall, are suitable for the good growth of tobacco leaves. The seed is sown in specially prepared seed-beds by the end of June or first week of July. After one and a half months, the seedlings are transplanted. The transplantation is done when the seedlings have four leaves and are about four inches in height. They have to be protected carefully from the caterpillars. The crop requires liberal manuring. The crop matures within five months. Only well-flourished leaves are maintained and the others are nipped off. At the time of harvest the plants are cut and dried in the Sun. A decoction of hot spices like lavang, ale, etc., is spread on the leaves which are kept under a heap of soil for some days. Tobacco is usually purchased by the wholesale merchants of tobacco in the district.

Betel-leaves: Betel-leaves (Vidyachi pane, nagvel pan) occupied an area of 372 acres in 1967-68. Comparatively larger areas of this crop were found in the talukas of Akkalkot, South Sholapur and Barshi. It is a vine grown in light red soil with much manure and continuous irrigation. The vine generally lasts for fifteen to twenty years. Each betel garden, called pan mala, generally covers about an acre of ground. The vines are trained up on slender hadga, pangara, shevri and bakan trees planted in rows one to four feet apart and having leaves only at the top. The whole garden has to be sheltered from wind and Sun by high hedges or screens of grass or mats. The vines begin to bear in the third year, are at their best from the fourth to the thirteenth year, and under favourable circumstances, go on yielding till the twentieth year. Every year in March, April and May, the upper half of the vine is cut and the lower half is coiled away and buried above the root under fresh red earth and manure. Portions of the garden are thus treated in rotation so that those cut first are ready to bear before the last are cut. A betel-leaf garden requires considerable attention throughout the year in respect of weeding, watering, killing of insects and pests and picking. The vine is irrigated only by well-water. It is said that canal-water does not suit its growth. Betel-leaf is chewed by all classes of people with betel-nut, lime and catechu and sometimes with tobacco and aromatics like cloves, cardamom and nutmeg.