Skip to main content

Gujarat's 5 year foodgrains growth 3.27%, cotton 2.45%, oilseeds (-) 2.71%

By Rajiv Shah 
An analysis of the data for the last one decade, from 2003-04 to 2012-13, suggests that Gujarat agricultural growth remains highly volatile, despite efforts by a group of economists to suggest the trend has been reversed.
Ever since their paper in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW, December 29, 2009), “Secret of Gujarat’s Agrarian Miracle after 2000”, which a group of scholars, Tushaar Shah, Ashok Gulati, Hemant P, Ganga Shreedhar, R C Jain wrote to “prove” how annual growth rates of nearly all major crops significantly accelerated after 2000 compared to before, Gujarat agriculture is being projected as a “model” for other states to follow. The scholars said in the paper, as for wheat and pulses, the growth rate “nearly doubled, and, in cotton, it jumped over 3.5 times”, insisting, “The coefficient of variation for all crops and crop groups has been lower in the period after 2000 than before”.
Much water has flown down the Narmada river, which claims to have provided irrigation facilities to large parts of Gujarat, ever since the well-researched paper was penned. Ever since, there have been scholars who have continued to praise Gujarat’s growth model over the last decade. These include Prof Ravindra Dholakia of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, and Prof Bibek Debroy of the Centre for Policy Research, Delhi. There was another group of scholars – M. Dinesh Kumar, A. Narayanamoorthy, OP Singh, MVK Sivamohan, Manoj Sharma and Nitin Bassi — from the Institute for Resource Analysis and Policy, Hyderabad who in their still unpublished but widely circulated paper, “Gujarat’s Agricultural Growth Story: Exploding Some Myths” argued how wrong scholars could go when they take a bad agricultural year as base to prove a high rate of growth.
The Hyderabad institute scholars say, the ‘growth’ observed after 2002 is “nothing but a good recovery from a major dip in production occurred during the drought years of 1999 and 2000”, adding, “Criticality of rainfall for Gujarat to sustain its agriculture production has even gone up as compared to the pre-green revolution period.” Whatever increase has taken place in 2000s is because of several years of good rainfall, which “remarkably improved groundwater recharge, increased the storage in surface reservoirs throughout the state, and improved soil moisture conditions.”
Foodgains: Decadal trend
They particularly point towards how “reduced pressure on aquifers for irrigation due to availability of water from surface reservoirs”, especially the Narmada canal in South, Central and some parts of North Gujarat “reduced irrigation water requirement for crops due to improved soil moisture regime”. All of it together helped increase the replenishment of groundwater recharge, and made a “positive impact on groundwater balance, making more water available for subsequent years.”
It is against this backdrop that they warn, “Agriculture has become highly vulnerable to the occurrence of meteorological droughts”. The warning now proving to correct three years after they wrote the paper, following drought-like situation in 2012-13, whose advanced estimates, made available by Gujarat’s agricultural department, suggest that for all major crops there was a sharp drop in agricultural output.
Scanning through the figures, one finds that Gujarat suffered a setback both in the total area brought under cultivation and also production. The area brought under paddy cultivation came down by 15.90 per cent and paddy production went down by 16.03 per cent. Respective figures for wheat are 22.28 per cent and 23.01 per cent, jowar 29.03 per cent and 17.14 per cent, bajra by 28.52 per cent and 33.56 per cent, groundnut by 23.25 per cent and 72.10 per cent, and cotton by 16.25 and 16.34 per cent.
Oil seeds: Decadal trend
These figures should come as a shocker to the writers of the EPW paper, who had tried to find several “stabilising influences” which allegedly helped increase agricultural output between 2000 and 2009. In their view, it was Gujarat government’s “unconventional initiatives in managing the groundwater economy”, initiated in late 1980s and accelerated under the BJP governments under Keshubhai Patel as well as Narendra Modi. “The scheme performed best in Saurashtra and Kachchh regions”, they say, adding, the places where large number of checkdams were set up helped improve groundwater, Saurashtra-Kutch and North Gujarat, output her hectare increased by 43.6 per cent and 35.5 per cent, respectively. This was against an output increase of around 30 per cent in South and Central Gujarat, where Narmada waters are available for cultivation.
The argument was later stretched by Prof Dholakia in a working paper to point towards how volatility in Gujarat agriculture, resulting from excessive dependence on rains, considerably went down during the last decade compared to earlier decades. In fact, he suggested, volatility in Gujarat agriculture has lately come down so much that it has become less than the all-India average, and a major reason has been that the farmer has been getting a better price for his agricultural produce (click HERE). The high growth trajectory, which these scholars say they have witnessed vis-à-vis Gujarat – around 10 per cent on an average – took place at a time when there was enough rainfall, on one hand, and incomplete Narmada canal network began being used by farmers by pumping out waters straight from the canal, on the other.
However, a calculation of figures suggests that over the last one decade, between 2003-04 and 2012-13, suggest that the growth rate of Gujarat agricultural production is not without huge volatility.
Crop-wise figures show that that for the five years between 2003-4 and 2007-08, oil seeds agricultural production grew on an average by 11.56 per cent per annum, but slipped into minus (– 2.71 per cent) in the next five years (2008-09 to 2012-13). For cotton, the average production per annum increased by 19.09 per cent between 2003-04 and 2007-08, but dropped to a mere 2.45 per cent in the subsequent five years – 2008-09 to 2012-13. And for food grains, the average production per annum increased by 6.29 per cent between 2003-04 and 2007-08, but went down in the following half decade, 2008-09 to 2012-13, by 3.27 per cent. While the year 2012-13 was the worst, volatility, as the adjoining charts would illustrate, was there during the entire decade (2003-04 to 2012-13).
Area and production in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12
Even the per annum decade from 2003-04 to 2012-13 was quite low, much lower than what scholars arguing in favour of Gujarat “model” of agricultural growth have suggested. Thus, the decadal average for oil seeds production was 3.63 per cent, for cotton 9.85 per cent, and for food grains 2.45 per cent. Economists have given two major reasons for this type of low growth: The first argument is that this could be because of the failure of the incomplete Narmada network to reach up to the tail-ender farmers, thus keeping the small farmers out of the irrigation frame (Prof YK Alagh). The second one is that a slowdown in exports, which was one of the key reasons which encouraged rich Gujarat agriculturists to produce more and better variety cotton and other crops (Prof Indira Hirway).

Comments

TRENDING

Constitution day makes us remember and rethink the values that India stands for

By Dr. Kapilendra Das*  India, also known as Bharat, was liberated from British rule and gained Independence on August 15, 1947. So every year on 15th August we celebrate Independence Day throughout the country. The Indians felt the taste of freedom, but there were no rules and regulations to govern the country for which British rules were effective up to January 25, 1950. To govern India, the draft constitution was prepared by the Drafting Committee which was published in January 1948, and the same was finally adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, the day of an important landmark in India’s journey as an independent, Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic. The constitution so adopted came into force on 26 January 1950. To memorize 26 January, every year we observe Republic Day throughout India. To mark rethinking and remembrance of the day of adoption of the constitution of India, 26 November has been celebrating as “Constituti

Seventh most vulnerable nation, effects of climate change can be seen in Bangladesh

Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan*  From November 6–18, 2022, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt is hosting the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This two-week climate conference is critical for the globe because it occurs at a time when nations are coping with a global energy crisis, the conflict in Ukraine, rising inflation rates, and dwindling funding for climate adaptation. It also has great significance for Bangladesh, as the country's ability to maintain its economic growth depends on raising the necessary finances for urgent climate action and mitigation. This year’s theme is "Delivering for People and the Planet," which aims to hasten global climate action by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, fostering resilience and preparing for climate change's unavoidable effects, and increasing the flow of climate finance to developing nations. The goals of COP27 are based on the outcomes of COP21, which was held in Paris in 2015

Unsung, tens of Morbi youth of local fishing community saved many, many lives

By Rajiv Shah  It was indeed a treat to listen to Bhavik Raja, who spoke at a meeting of the Movement for Secular Democracy the other day in Ahmedabad. Speaking in chaste Gujarati, Raja recalled his childhood days in Mobi when he and his friends would often go to the town's Jhulto Pul (Hanging Bridge) in free time. I listened to him online. The bridge, which should have been given a heritage status, was handed over to the owners of a watch-making tycoon for repair. The repair was carried out so shoddily that it broke down in less than a week after it was opened for general public, leading to the death of more than 140 persons, many of them children. Raja, who formed a group of three-person activists' team on a fact-finding mission to Mobi, said, what isn't taken note of is how tens of youth, belonging to the local Muslim fishing community, jumped into the river and saved many, many lives. It's a marshy river, and to navigate in there is an extremely difficult exercise.

Zakir Naik tumult, Catholic Church power abuse: will Anwar Ibrahim save Malaysia?

Anwar Ibrahim By Jay Ihsan*  Anwar Ibrahim, a hardcore reformist who took a punch to his eye in 1998 from then inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, has finally been given the mandate by Malaysians to serve as the nation's 10th prime minister. Anwar knows too well the burden of staying true to both trust and faith the people have in him requires every once of commitment and dedication. The question is will he be apologetic for his transgressions enroute to "rebuilding" Malaysia? In his overzealousness to get the job done, Anwar, 75, needs to safeguard every bit of gumption to address prickling issues plaguing the safety of the nation especially those involving communal sensitivities. For one, dare Anwar get rid of terrorist hate preacher and fugitive Zakir Naik for inciting religious unrest in Malaysia? In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, holding him responsible for promoting religious hatred and unlawful activi

Ukraine war revitalizes silent competition between China and Russia in Central Asia

By John P. Ruehl  At the recent Commonwealth for Independent States (CIS) summit held on October 14 in Astana, Kazakhstan, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon expressed previously inconceivable remarks. His public admonishment of Russian President Vladimir Putin to treat Central Asian states with more respect showed the growing confidence of Central Asian leaders amid Russia’s embroilment in Ukraine and China’s expanding regional influence. After coming under Russian imperial rule in the 18th and 19th centuries , five Central Asian states—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan— emerged independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. While these countries remained heavily dependent on Russia for security, economic, and diplomatic support, China saw an opportunity in their vast resources and potential to facilitate trade across Eurasia. Chinese-backed development and commerce increased after the Soviet collapse and expanded further after the launch of China’s Belt an

Adequate attention not paid on changing human life to realize climate change aim

By Bharat Dogra  Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. It has to be checked as a matter of highest priority. Despite this adequate attention has not been given to how human life must change to realize this objective. We know that fossil fuels must be phased out and replaced by renewable energy. But is renewable energy capable of meeting the present day massive energy requirements, along with the increase taking place? Even if it is, what are the implications if renewable energy has to be scaled up to this level, and at such gigantic level won’t renewable energy also have very adverse consequences, although of a different kind? Such questions make the situation more complicated, but these have to be faced. So let us try to approach the issue in a somewhat different way. Since the daily consumption of various goods and utilities involves the use of fossil fuels in various ways, if all excessive, wasteful and harmful consumption can be given up, this will also lead

Integrating biodiversity for poverty removal still not binding for this UN body

Reacting to a statement of the executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD ), United Nations, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, on the occasion of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which fell on October 17, well-known Thiruvananthapuram-based ecologist S Faizi has objected to the CBD’s plan for “effective integration of biodiversity for poverty eradication”. *** I compliment you for issuing this statement . However, I am disappointed to see that the CBD COP's output on poverty and biodiversity, namely the Chennai Guidance is not even referred to in your statement, particularly so since the 12th COP has asked the Executive Secretary to "continue the work requested by the Conference of the Parties in decisions X/6 and XI/22, for the effective integration of biodiversity for poverty eradication and development, taking into account also the related decisions of the Conference of the Parties at its twelfth meeting" and to promote the Chennai

Much like earlier meetings, COP 27 fails to find real solution to overcome climate crisis

By NS Venkataraman* COP 27 in Egypt was organized with much fanfare and expectations, similar to COP 26 at Glasgow that was organised in 2021. While nothing significant was achieved in combating the climate crisis subsequent to the Glasgow Meet, one thought that COP 27 would be more productive and would find some real solutions to overcome the climate crisis. Leaders and representatives from most of the countries participated in the COP 27 including the President of USA, Prime Minister of UK and so many others. Cosmetic speeches were made by the leaders, committing themselves to save the world from global warming and noxious emissions. Finally, resolutions would be adopted after representatives of all countries put their heads together . With no tangible agreement about the fundamental issues, the resolutions would inevitably end up as face saving documents. During COP 27, the UAE President clearly said that the UAE would not reduce production of crude oil and natural gas. In t

Bangladesh to import diesel from India: Win-win situation amidst economic turmoil?

Kamal Uddin Mazumder*  Bangladesh and India had been sharing friendly and warm relations since 1971. Both of the countries have been kith and kin through crisis moments. Bangladesh has witnessed India’s support from the liberation war to the Covid-19 pandemic. As now the world is facing the repercussions of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war through the economic crisis and the energy crisis, India is still with Bangladesh through a cooperative framework. The government of Bangladesh had decided to cut down its fuel consumption to keep up with the global energy crisis. It was necessary to import fuel at the cheapest possible rate to mitigate the crisis. Some talks had been initiated with countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Brunei but India came forward first. The geographical proximity and the longest shared border had ushered multidimensional ways of cooperation and collaboration in many areas. The import of diesel from India through the pipeline is one of the prime example

Maldives migrants' death: Govt bodies haven't done enough for workers' safety, security

By Kirity Roy*  We have been notified by the media that a hazardous fire, which erupted in a cramped neighborhood of Maldivian capital Male, has killed 10 migrant workers including 9 Indians. We are much aggrieved by this incident, and sending our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. Many are missing. Almost half the population in the Maldivian capital constitutes of migrant workers, and out of them many are Indians. During the COVID-19 pandemic it was reported by many media outlets that due to the cramped and unsuitable living conditions, the disease spread more rapidly among the foreign workers than anywhere else in the country. This brought the light upon the serious housing problem for the migrant workers in the country. The current incident shows that the Government bodies have not done enough to ensure safety and security for the workers. While the United Nations have established the rights of the Migrant workers through the International Convention on the Prot