Skip to main content

Gujarat's annual agri-festival krishi mahotsav helped big farmers more than small ones: Survey results

Counterview Desk
Two Gujarat based scholars, Amita Shah and Itishree Pattnaik, in a recent study, “High Growth Agriculture in Gujarat: An Enquiry into Inclusiveness and Sustainability”, have found that the Gujarat government’s high-profile annual event Krishi Mahotsav, meant to intensify agricultural growth, was high on propaganda, but low in providing help to the marginal sections farmers. Forming part of the new book, “Growth or Development: Which Way is Gujarat Going”, edited by Prof Indira Hirway and others, the study, based on survey of 876 households in 15 Gujarat districts, found that 16.6 per cent of the large farmers benefited from subsidies, as against 8.3 per cent medium farmers, 7.2 per cent small and medium farmers, and just 1.3 per cent of the landless.
Large farmers (24.7 per cent) were the main beneficiaries of the new seed variety, as against 14.8 per cent medium and 9.9 small and marginal farmers. Then, 9.2 per cent got the benefit of better agricultural techniques, as against 2.6 per cent medium farmers and 2.1 per cent small and marginal farmers. Further, while 8.3 per cent large farmers got the benefit of water harvesting, as against 1.3 per cent medium and 1.5 per cent small and marginal farmers. The survey was carried out in Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Panchmahals, Bharuch, Dangs, Valsad, Surat, Narmada, Navsari, Tapi, Amreli, Rajkot and Surendranagar districts.
The survey found a strange dichotomy: In the irrigated areas, 45.89 per cent of the farmers were found to be “aware” of the Krishi Mahotsav, as against just 14.15 per cent farmers in the non-irrigated or rain-fed areas where no irrigation facilities were available. Similarly, 32.82 per cent of the farmers in the irrigated areas said they “participated” in the Krishi Mahotsav, as against just 2.85 farmers in the non-irrigated areas. The scholars said, “The small farmers had a “relatively low level of attendance in gram sabha organized during the Krishi Mahotsav. The evidence suggests that interaction of the respondents with the state officials as well as scientists was far less than those having reported awareness about the programme.”
Quoting yet another survey which they had carried out in seven Gujarat districts -- Mehsana, Rajkot, Kutch, Patan, Panchmals, Valsad and Amreli – the scholars say, access to recharged bore wells next to watershed development projects, which the government had encouraged in late 1990s, were found to be “clearly tilted in favour of medium–large farmers”. They said, “About 75 and 28 per cent of the medium-large farmers reported access to wells and bore wells respectively as compared to 42 and 11 per cent among the marginal-small farmers.”
While conceding that “irrigated area among the sample farmers increased by 461 hectares during the study period”, there was “a massive expansion of wells (about 5,000) and bore/tube wells (about 2,620) since the beginning of 2000”. But this expansion of the irrigated area was “without corresponding improvement in water use efficiency”, the scholars say, adding, this led to “unsustainable use of groundwater, often through competing extraction of water by farmers in the study villages.” The scholars suggest, only water intensive crops gained.
According to the scholars, “Cotton was found to be the most important crop accounting for about 42–43 per cent of the total cropped area during the kharif season for all the seven districts taken together. Similarly, wheat occupied between 89 and 96 per cent of the rabi area. The proportion has changed only marginally over the project period. Both the leading crops are water intensive, and grown in areas that are otherwise drought and desert prone as confirmed by the very selection of the village/micro watersheds to be covered under the project intervention.”

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.