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State Agricultural Polity

 

The majority of the land in the State is owned by Small and Marginal farmers, practicing subsistence agriculture and at present they have very little connection with the market. The farmers are also hampered by a low level of capita formation, coupled with very low availability of credit. The level of mechanization, fertilizer usage and irrigation in the State is also very low, which is preventing the farmers from increasing their Average Yield of their land as well as improving the cropping intensity. This is the reason that although of late the State has managed to become self-sufficient in rice production, there is still a significant shortfall in the production of Wheat as well oilseeds and pulses, a gap which is showing an indication of increasing rather than decreasing. Further, as rice is the main crop of the State, in the present scenario of depressed prices of rice coupled with low Average Yield, low cropping intensity and a lack of diversification as well as the possible adverse impact of the new WTO Agreement on Agriculture, the future of the farmers of the State does not look positive. Considering the above, diversification of Agriculture into other crops while undertaking measures to improve Average Yield of rice as well as lowering costs of production are an urgent need for the farmers of the State.

 

 

Objective

 

Keeping in mind the above mentioned constraints of the Agriculture Sector in Assam and in inconsonance with the National Agriculture Policy the Government of Assam wishes to lay down the following Policy Objectives, in the Agriculture Sector -

  1. The Agriculture and allied sector grows at the rate of 4 p.c. per annum for the next decade to provide food security and to improve nutritional intake of the people of the State as well as significantly decrease the population below the poverty line.

  2. To increase the Average Yield of all major crops, particularly that of rice, wheat, pulses and oilseeds.

  3. To increase the cropping intensity in the sector through increase in irrigation facilities as well as giving a boost to mechanization in the State, to make it at par with the rest of the country by the end of the 10th Plan.

  4. To diversify into other crops, specifically wheat, oilseeds and partly pulses as well as improve our production of horticultural crops.

  5. As the bulk of the population in the State lives in the rural area and most of the people are dependent on agriculture and allied sectors for their livelihood, the Government sees this sector as the engine for growth of the economy in the long run and wishes to treat the agriculture sector as an area of maximum employment generation in the State.

  6. It should be recognized that increased cropping intensity and improvements in Average Yield and production for the market can only be sustained if the links of the farmers to the market are good, the market infrastructure well developed and the farmers gets a remunerative price for their produce. It will be the endeavour of the State to develop marketing and processing infrastructure by focusing on development of rural roads, apni mandis, terminal markets, and district level markets for agricultural produce as well as to focus on value addition of agricultural produce in the State essentially through facilitating private enterprise in the food processing sector. The development of a marketing infrastructure and value addition has tremendous potential for developing the economy of the State, considering the strategic location of the State and the potential markets, which exist for our produce in neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and in parts of South East Asia.

  7. Since the resources at the disposal of the State are limited, the endeavour will be to converge the resources available under various government schemes like JGSY and PMGSY, etc. to ensure that funds are spent keeping in view the long term growth of the agriculture and allied sector in the State.

  8. The State has a remarkable human resource in Field Management Committee, which have been functioning as an Extension Wing of the Agriculture Department. They shall be further strengthened and developed to function as a SHGs to further strengthen the extension activities in agriculture. They shall also function as focal points for disbursal of agricultural credit and as entry points for extension activities of other allied sectors like livestock and fisheries. To ensure that the growth in agriculture is sustainable economically, environmentally and socially.

 

Strategy for Agriculture Sector

 

Short Term : The State intends to raise the Average Yield of all crops in Assam primarily by ensuring increase in irrigated area through the use of Shallow Tube Wells and increase in mechanization through power tillers and tractors, availability of good quality seeds and fertilizers and other inputs in the market by encouraging private enterprise as an better co-ordination in research and extension activities. This would increase the cropping intensity in the State and will also result in high yields, as has been witnessed through the interventions made through STWs in the State. In those areas where STWs are not feasible, the State would focus on appropriate strategies of better utilization of surface water, to ensure that agricultural growth is not limited on this account. Further it is also recognized that modern day agricultural practices have become increasingly reliant on more and more use of pesticides, which not only increase the cost of production but also are also extremely harmful and have an adverse impact on the environment. Keeping this fact in mind the State shall propagate Integrated Pest Management practices to ensure that this growth in agriculture is environmentally friendly.

 

Medium Term : Assam today is predominantly a rice producing state and it is recognized that even in the future the bulk of the agricultural land will continue to be under rice. However, in the past few years, it has been seen that there is a surplus of rice production and the price of rice has become quite depressed, leading to distress selling and hardship to the farmers. In such a scenario it is now imperative that agriculture in the State is diversified and this over dependence on one crop be reduced. While continuing with Rice production, the aim is to give special emphasis to production of wheat, oilseed and pulses, where the State is deficient and also lay stress on the growth of the horticulture sector especially through value addition as it would lead to an increase in area under horticulture crops, where Assam has a comparative advantage over the rest of the country.

 

Long Term : Our aim is to be at par with the rest of the country in all key indicators of agricultural growth, especially Average Yield, cropping intensity, levels of irrigation and levels of mechanization and a market leader in the production and value addition of those horticulture crops where we have a comparative advantage. The State intends to promote value addition by encouraging private players to set-up food processing industries in the State through development of our infrastructure and marketing network for our horticulture produce and having a industrial policy, which is particularly attractive to entrepreneurs. This would encourage industries from outside the State to invest here, thereby ensuring that agriculture and allied activities as well as related industries become the main source of employment generation for the State.

 

       
   

 
 

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