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 Agriculture
 
India's duller green belt
Business Standard, India Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Farming in east India is suffering. There are many reasons for the farm sector’s below-par performance in the eastern region of the Indo-Gangetic plain. The significant ones among them are the pattern of demographic changes, discrimination in the allocation of central developmental resources and poor market support. The government’s intervention in agricultural marketing to provide price support through official procurement also seems to discriminate against the eastern region. More than 80 to 90 per cent of total market arrivals of wheat in Punjab and Haryana were picked up by government agencies at minimum support prices, writes Surinder Sud in Business Standard.

The Indo-Gangetic plain is known as the cradle of the Green Revolution. But this is true only of the region’s north-western part. Its eastern part remained unaffected for a long time despite being better endowed with basic natural resources for crop growth, such as fertile land, water and sunshine. The north-western part is largely semi-arid.
 
There are many reasons for the farm sector’s below-par performance in the eastern region of the Indo-Gangetic plain. The significant ones among them are the pattern of demographic changes, discrimination in the allocation of central developmental resources and poor market support.

A publication by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) titled “State of Indian Agriculture — The Indo-Gangetic Plain” provides a detailed analysis of factors related to agriculture in this key food bowl. It reveals that in Punjab and Haryana, high agricultural growth was accompanied by an increase in the pace of urbanisation and reduction in population pressure on agricultural land, but this was not the case in Bihar and West Bengal. The share of urban population increased by 10 per cent in Punjab and 11 per cent in Haryana in the first three decades after the Green Revolution. In Bihar and West Bengal, on the other hand, the urbanisation rate has been almost static.

... ...

The government’s intervention in agricultural marketing to provide price support through official procurement also seems to discriminate against the eastern region. More than 80 to 90 per cent of total market arrivals of wheat in Punjab and Haryana were picked up by government agencies at minimum support prices. However, hardly any wheat was procured from Bihar till recently. Similarly, in the case of rice, Punjab accounted for an official procurement of over 80 per cent and Haryana more than 50 per cent. But there was no such procurement in Bihar. “This shows a strong regional concentration of government intervention in selected few states, and the farmers of Bihar were denied the support they deserved,” the report points out. The justification offered for this lack of adequate marketable surplus does not hold ground.

...

His voice needs to be heard.

This article was published in the Business Standard on Tuesday, January 11, 2011. Please read the original article here.
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