OTHER STATES

Farm productivity goes down in State

Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: The State government may have boasted of having supplied more debts, tractors and fertilizers to its farmers since 2001 hoping to bring some visible change in agricultural fields. However, contrary to the expectation, the productivity has gone down over the years.

If the latest State Agricultural Statistics is to be believed, productivity of food grains in 2001-02 was 1,232 kg. per hectare, while it was estimated to be 1,213 kg. per hectare in 2006-07.

If farm inputs are analysed it speaks a different story. The quantum of credit made available for crop production during the year 2001-02 was Rs. 754 crore while the volume of debt got tripled by last year at Rs. 2,494 crore.

Mechanisation

Similarly, the State government claimed that the farm mechanisation in the State was picking up by making use of funds available from agricultural policy and Centrally sponsored schemes.

In 2001-02, as many as 102 tractors were sold to farmers which went up to 1,247 last year. The number of power tillers in 2000-01 increased from 822 to 2,974 in the corresponding period.

Agriculture Department also claimed that private irrigation sources were developed in the State with loan from National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development. During six years 5,531 shallow tube wells were increased to 6,866. Overall private irrigation units were given boost from 6,328 to 69,404 in the same period. Power consumption has also been consistently going up over the years. Even fertilizer consumption has also been intensified from 36 kg. per hectare to 49 kg. per hectare during the corresponding period. Despite the farm mechanisation and sea changes in management of farm inputs, the productivity could not be enhanced.

Former State Information Commissioner and environmentalist Prof. Radhanmohan termed it a dangerous trend.

“Research outputs in universities have not been taken to agriculture field. The agriculture extension service has largely been defunct in the State,” he said.