Is Agriculture in Gujarat on a Different Growth Trajectory?
29 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 10, 2012
Gujarat's approach to agricultural development is in every sense unique; the 9 % growth rate in the sector testifies the same. Can this be replicated in other states in India? Perhaps, much of it can. Water availability and particularly through indigenous and ingenuous water harvesting systems in arid and semi-arid areas holds the key; this could be run as a people -- led & government supported initiative. Leveraging the support of community-based organizations/civil society organisations (CSO) can be useful to set the momentum. This government led and CSO supported endevaour can make see change in the lives and livelihoods of farmers. Water harvesting needs to be followed by water conservation systems, which could be directed through appropriate incentivisation and public policy.
While the water harvesting systems upfront enabled provision of much needed life saving irrigations, the later (water conservation through micro-irrigation systems) could enable greater sustainability of the water conservation measures. While the watershed approach is a more technical, intricate and time consuming measure, the Gujarat approaches have showcased that such subtle, in situ water harvesting can also be a very effective, sustainable and replicable endeavor. Provision of government led, participative extension and mass contact programme like Krishi Mahotsav is a very successful initiative. This approach besides fulfilling the primary role of taking “lab to the land” can win the hearts of the people, regain the faith of the people in the system and above all, enable the research and extension to get more practical orientation and exposure to their initiatives -- “ Krishi Mahotsavs” have also proven that there are many takeaways for the researchers as well. Jyotigram Yojana looks the least likely to be replicated because it abandons the free-but-unreliable rural power that many regard as vote-winners in most states. Further, some states may prefer large irrigation projects to small water-harvesting ones, since bigger projects translate into more visible impacts and bigger things to few!! In fact Gujarat has learned to provide the real kick-starters to high growth agriculture by making water available on its parched lands…. It's time others take notice!!
Keywords: farm, livelihoods, water harvesting, water conservation, co-management of electricity
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