Recently during a research field visit in Punjab, I came across a very enterprising farmer who had been into commercial agriculture for a long time and the first market outside Punjab where he’s set-up cold storage facility is in Gujarat, a state he had only good things to talk about.
Later on I came to know more about the initiatives by Gujarat government which has now set up 67 cold storages, 22 ripening chambers, 16 hi-tech nurseries and seven tissue culture laboratories for better post-harvest management and marketing management.
Even though the agriculture growth at national level in India has suffered very badly, in the last 5 years, Gujarat has registered a very impressive growth in agriculture, about 11% against India’s average of ~4%, thanks to the positive measures initiated by the State Government and good weather. The story does not end there, nor has the State been sitting on these laurels: the State’s growth rate in agriculture scaled further up to 16.63% during 2010-11 from the average growth rate of 10.67% during the last decade (2001-2010).
The Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in 2009 lauded the State’s agriculture sector.
On behalf of the Government of India, President Pranab Mukherjee and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, also recognised the achievement by conferring the Krishi Karman Commendation Award for higher production of food grains (2011-12).
Besides, Gujarat also won the National Productivity Award of National Productivity Council of India for higher agricultural development for three years (2001-2, 2004-5 and 2005-6).
These are some of the facts that should open the eyes of skeptics who still have some doubts about Gujarat’s success story.
Now, Gujarat ranks first in India in the production of cotton, groundnut and castor crops.
- The net area under cultivation increased from 108 lakh hectare in 2001-2 to 145 lakh ha in 2010-11.
- The network of banks through their 6,638 branches has provided agricultural credit to the tune of Rs. 31,612 crore as on December 2011, and played a pivotal role in the growth of agricultural sector of the State.
- Gujarat now plans to set up 12 more agricultural colleges to give an indirect boost to agricultural production.
Recognizing that horticultural crops are crucial driving forces for sustainable agricultural development in Gujarat, the State Government has made it a major thrust area of development for the last five years.
- In the last 5 years the area under horticulture cultivation increased from 9.69 lakh hectare to 14.04 lakh hectare
- Production of horticulture produces from 98.48 lakh metric tonnes (MT) to 180.17 lakh MT.
- Infrastructure like potato cold storages, with over 12-lakh tonne capacity, and onion de-hydration units, constituting three-fourths of the capacity in India, have become a major driving force for development of such crops.
- Gujarat is also the largest producer of seed spices like cumin, fennel and isabgul, with the largest market yard support.
- Spices and Isabgul processing is another sector to have developed well in the State.
- Gujarat contributes more than 90% production of fennel in the country.
- Farmers’ efforts have made Gujarat proud as the State has the highest onion productivity in the country (25 metric tonnes per hectare) and also potato (28.81 MT/ha).
- Productivity of the potato and onion in Gujarat is now the highest in the country.
- Gujarat’s onion de-hydradation industry is the biggest in India as 80% of the country’s onions, about one lakh tonnes, are de-hydrated here.
- The contribution of horticulture crops in the farm income has also increased from 16% (Rs 6,543 crore) to 18 per cent (Rs 11,870 crore) in the last five years.
- Diversified climatic condition is suitable for a large number of horticulture crop species. Mango, sapota, banana and kagdi lime are the main fruit crops, whereas crops like papaya, pomegranate and date palm are among the emerging crops of Gujarat.
With a proactive Government intervention, higher budgetary allocation and State-level initiatives, horticulture has boomed in Gujarat. Trends of precision farming (banana), cluster cultivation approach (mango, banana and pomegranate), use of drip and mulching (papaya and melon), use of tissue culture plants (banana, dates and flowers), greenhouse cultivation (Dutch roses, Gerbera, capsicum, tomato, chives in 200 acres), net-house cultivation (capsicum, tomato, cucurbits and leafy vegetables), have emerged as new initiatives on a large scale in recent years.
Along with this, farmers have adopted end-to-end approach as the infrastructure for post-harvest management; packaging, grading, cold storage, ripening chambers and marketing have been established.
- The quality of the farm produce and post-harvest handling have improved considerably, resulting in export of commodities like mango, mango pulp, banana, pomegranate, chives, capsicum, lime and vegetables. De-hydrated and canned vegetables, pulp, juices, pickles and sauces and ketchup are important processed food products of the State.
- Gujarat contributes substantially in onion and potato production in India
- Gujarat ranks second in banana and tomato production, third in pomegranate, guava and lime.
- This horticulture revolution has been made possible by green and net houses. Subsidy has been provided for erecting 649 green houses and 2,638 net houses wherein rose, gerbera and capsicum are cultivated for value addition. Gujarat now has the highest productivity and quality in banana by using tissue culture technique and drip irrigation. The production increased up to 65 tonnes per hectare.
- The high quality production of pomegranate in Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Patan and Kutch districts has opened up the scope for their export.
- Until the year 2000, Gujarat was seen as a drought-prone State lagging behind in agricultural production. Water management measures commenced by the State Government have transformed the water challenge into an opportunity. Government efforts to check wastage and draining of rain water by preparing small reservoirs have increased the ground water level.
- During the last 10 years, 8,248 village reservoirs have been deepened, 55,382 farm ponds have been prepared and 7,516 border ponds set up.
- Besides, 4,59,400 hectare area covering 7,10, 662 farmers has been provided with supplementary irrigation.
- Availability of more fodder due to these measures has also increased milk production by 20-30% in Gujarat.
- Gujarat wins against malnutrition (niticentral.com)
- AGRICULTURE AND FOOD MANAGEMENT IN INDIA (Overview) (cseindiaportal.wordpress.com)
- Gujarat’s Agricultural Miracle (gujagriculture.wordpress.com)
- Gujarat’s agriculture is growing at 11% (gujagriculture.wordpress.com)
- CLSA Report Notes Gujarat’s Success in Agriculture. (gujagriculture.wordpress.com)
- Energising Gujarat – Energy Is Synergy (gujaratecoadvancment.wordpress.com)