Status of Small Farming Units and Strategies for Their Sustainable Development in India
12 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017
Date Written: October 30, 2017
More than fifty per cent share of agriculture in the total workforce of the country shows that the livelihood of most of the Indian population depends upon agriculture. The Indian agriculture is dependent on large number of small farming units which accounted for 85.01 per cent share in number and 44.58 per cent share in area of the total operational holdings of the country. There were 92.8 million marginal (67.10%) and 24.8 million small (17.91%) holdings out of the total 138.3 million operational holdings in India during 2010-11. The growth performance of agriculture in the country shows that long run and short run productivity growth was higher for food grains as compared to the fruits and vegetables. The maximum production growth was observed in the case of eggs and vegetables. In India the farm business mainly dominated by the crop production. The lion share of the households’ income (more than 75 per cent) of the marginal and small farming units in the leading agricultural states of Punjab and Haryana was contributed by the farm business. The farm specialization increased over the period in Punjab shows the shift towards food grains in general and towards paddy and wheat cultivation in particular. The share of bottom 50 per cent farm households in per capita income (21.6 %) was comparatively on the lower side of the their related share of consumption expenditure (23.7%) highlights the consumption expenditure burden in the farms as compared to the labourers and others in the state of Punjab. As compared to the farms the relative cumulative share of per capita consumption expenditure over income was on lower sides for all others. The agricultural stress was also shown by the farmer suicide cases in India. During the year 2014, the 72.4 per cent of the total farmer suicide cases were observed in the small and marginal farmers in the country. The 59.5 per cent higher cases of suicide in the small farmers over marginal farmers shows worst condition of small farmers as compared to the marginal farmers in India. As compared to the marginal farmers, the population of small farmers were much lesser in number and their per capita income and resource base was on higher side but the higher dependency of the small farmers share on crop income generates comparatively lesser continuous monthly flow of income in the case of small farmers over marginal farmers therefore small farmers feel comparatively more household expenditure stress. Thus there is a need to regulate the relative flow of farm business income of the small farmers into monthly income flow with the help of efficient banking system. The stress of the consumption expenditure can also be mitigated with the help of adoption of farming system approach through increase in the on farm nutritional security. To boost the small farm income and sustainability, to conserve natural resources and increase in agricultural diversity farmer producer organisations can play a vital role. The income and growth disparities were also observed for small farming units. The disparities among agricultural and non-agricultural shows that households’ income skewed towards the non-agriculture income over agriculture income. Therefore continues public sector research and development efforts are required to make a pace in the relative income growth of small farming units with other sections of the economy in long run. Protection and recognition of the small farming units for education and health expenditure can ease the feeling of stress among them.
Keywords: Agriculture, Development, India, Small Farming, Sustainability
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