'Rainfed farmers are the most neglected'
-The Hindu Business Line
Need to do more R&D in rainfed agriculture and bring in more policy perspective: Ashok Dalwai
Even though rainfed agriculture contributes to 60 per cent of the value of agriculture GDP of India, there is a clear-cut bias towards irrigated areas when it comes to public investment in agriculture in the country.
This neglect, together with unsuitable programme design, has ensured that potential of rain-fed areas remains unrealised, a conference was told here on Thursday.
Difference in income
And this is reflected in the income of farmers too. “While farmers in irrigated areas earn 60 per cent of their income from agriculture, their counterparts in rainfed areas earn only 20-30 per cent from farm-related activities,” said Ashok Dalwai, CEO of the National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), while addressing a national convention on revitalising rain-fed agriculture.
“If we need to make agriculture a viable proposition in the country, there is a need to do more research and development in rain-fed agriculture and also to bring in more policy and marketing perspective,” Dalwai said.
“While the average yield in rain-fed areas is about 1.1 tonnes per hectare, that in irrigated areas is about 2.8 tonnes per hectare,” said the NRAA chief said.
Despite all these, rain-fed areas contributed significantly to the country’s food production. They account for 89 per cent of millets production, 88 per cent of pulses, 73 per cent of cotton, 69 per cent of oilseeds and 40 per cent rice production in the country.
Besides, rain-fed areas support 64 per cent of cattle, 74 per cent of sheep and 78 per cent of goat population in the country.
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