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for all defence aspirants plicy bias against rainfed agricultural area -NCA ACADEMY

Policy bias against rainfed agricultural area

Recently, a new rainfed agriculture atlas was released by revitalising rainfed agriculture(RRA) network highlighting the policy biases that are making farming unviable for many in these areas.

Key points

There has been negligence toward rainfed areas which is leading to lower incomes for farmers in these areas.

Flagship government schemes, such as seed and fertiliser subsides and soil health, cards, are designed for irrigated areas and simply extended to rainfed farmers without taking their needs into consideration.

Further farmers in rainfed areas are receiving 40 % less of their income from agriculture in compassion to those in irrigated areas.

Even though rainfed agriculture contributes to 60 % of the value of agriculture GDP of India, there is a clear -cut bias towards irrigated areas when it comes to public investment in agriculture in the country.

The neglect, together with unsuitable programme design, has ensured that the potential of rainfed areas remains unrealized.

In terms of procurement over the decade between 2001-02 and 2011-12 ,the government procured 5.4 lakh crore cereals ,which are grown in rainfed areas, only had 3,200 crore worth of procurement in the same period.

Flagship government schemes, such as seed and fertiliser subsides and soil health cards, are designed for irrigated areas and simply extended to rainfed farmers without taking their needs into consideration.

Rainfed agriculture

A region is classified as rainfed if assured irrigation is provided to less than 40 % of its net sown area.

Rainfed farming is classified on the basis of adequacy of soil moisture during cropping season into:

Dryland farming: practised in regions which receive less than 75 cm of rain a year. Crops :these regions grow hardy and drought -resistant crops such as ragi, bajra moong, gram and guar (folder crops).

Wetland farming: practised in regions which receive more than 75 cm. Crops: these areas grow various water -intensive crops such as rice, jute and sugarcane and practise aquaculture in the freshwater bodies.

Rainfed agriculture occupies more than 50 % of the country ‘s net sown area and accounts for nearly 40 % of the total food production. Some of the rainfed agriculture states are Maharashtra, chattisgarh ,Karnataka, kerala, Mizoram, Manipur etc.

The rainfed lands suffer from a number of biophysical and socio-economic constraints which affect the productivity of crops and livestock. These include low and erratic rainfall, land degradation, low level of input use and technology adoption low draft ,low level of input use and technology adoption low draft power availability.

Way forward

A more balanced approach is needed, to give rainfed farmers the same research and technology focus, and production support  that their counterparts in irrigation areas have received over the few decades.

In the long run, cash incentives and income support like the PM-KISAN scheme announced in the interim budget 2019 are better than extensive procurement as they are inclusive in character and doesn’t distinguish between farmers in one area or another ,growing one crop or another.

Along with income support to help farmers through the current crisis, it is now the time to design better-structured interventions for the future.

Like the ease of doing on business, ease of doing farming should be done on the parameters of seeds, soil, water in rainfed areas to make agriculture attractive in the long term.

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