Gujarat records highest decadal agricultural growth rate of 10.97%
ET BureauJul 16, 2011, 06.37am IST
NEW DELHI: Gujarat has recorded the highest decadal agricultural growth rate of 10.97% in the period 2000-01 to 2009-10, shooting past Maharashtra and leaving many other front-running agricultural states behind. and pulverising the 4% growth target set by the Central government for the farm sector in recent Plan periods.
An ASSOCHAM study holds that Gujarat recorded the highest agricultural growth in real terms (at Compound Annual Growth Rate or CAGR) among 15 non-special category states. Second among the A listers of farm sector growth is Maharashtra, which showed a growth of around 10.50% in the last decade. Chhatisgarh is another surprise, ranking third at 6% growth (CAGR), getting past Orissa which ranked fourth at 5.28% CAGR. Andhra Pradesh, considered among the traditionally forward Green Revolution agricultural states, only registered a 5.2% CAGR comparitively.
The study credits the frontrunner farm growth state with key measures including marked increase in key agricultural investment areas including irrigation, a dedicated power grid to ensure power supply to the farm sector and the use of state of the art farm technologies, topped up with a committed leadership. Asscoham secretary general D S Rawat asserted in Ahmedabad “Innovative and efficient management of state’s groundwater resources is a major turning point in Gujarat’s agricultural miracle which has converted barren lands into fertile farms thereby raising yields and resulting in fall of cultivation costs.” .
The study contends that in Gujarat, some 15 lakh ha of arid and semi arid lands have been converted to farming as a result of uncoventional and innovative water use methods, leading to higher crop output. Reasonably good rains through the decade along with rising Central MSP for crops which spurred higher acreage under key cash crops such as Bt Cotton added to marked farm sector growth.
Countrywide, agriculture in seven sizeable states (Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa), many of which are water stressed to boot, grew faster than 4.0% between 2000-01 and 2007-08, even including the relatively bad agricultural years of 2008-09 and 2009-10.
The achievement in the farm sector by the top five states is all the more striking, analysts say, given that in the past 60 years agriculture has only recorded an average growth rate of 2.7% per annum. The rate only improved very marginally over the last three decades to above 3%, much lower than the 4% target set in successive recent Five-Year Plans.
The study says that – given that irrigation is a major bottleneck in the primary sector – other states have to emulate Gujarat and focus on small, minor irrigation projects. In addition, dedicated power supply to the farm sector, sound extension services and adoption of technology in sectors such as seeds, expansion of cash crops into reclaimed arid land etc would boost farm sector growth.