Issue: February 2017
 
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When the Prime Minister announced demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes on the night of 8th November 2016, the first reaction all over the countr...
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  Demonetisation – A look back at the last two months by Shri Arun Jaitely
  The lead article is by Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Government of India.
  From a Cash Economy to a Less – Cash Economy by Pravakar Sahoo and Amogh Arora
  The Second lead article is by Associate Professor, Institute of Economic Growth (IEG)
  Demonetisation- Impacting Elections – by S.Y.Quraishi
  The Focus article of the issue talks about the impact of Demonetisation on Elections and the author is hopeful that cashless transactions will ensure higher level of transparency and scrutiny.
  Less Cash Economy: India Vis-à-vis the World by Arpita Mukherjee, Tanu M.Goyal
  The Special Article talks about the benefits of less cash economy for India and the Global scenario.
  Achieving a Cashless Rural Economy – by Sameera Saurabh
  This article is by Director, (Plan & Policy) Ministry of Rural Development
 
 
  Commercialization of Agriculture in
Arunachal Pradesh

Dr. Rajesh Verma
September 01, 2013 | Dr. Rajesh Verma  , Agriculture

Arunachal Pradesh: Land and people

Arunachal Pradesh is situated on the eastern most corner of India having international borders with Bhutan, China and Burma. It is the largest state among all the north eastern states, namely Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. Its total geographical area is 83743 sq km with the population density just over 17. Total population of the state, according to the Census of India 2011 is 1, 382,611, among which the tribal population is about 64 percent. The size of rural population is 10, 69,165 while the urban population is 3, 13, 446 which is 77.33 percent and 22.67 percent respectively.

Major portion of land of Arunachal Pradesh falls under mountains and hills with an elevation between 60 meters and 7300 meters. They largely come under the Himalayan and Patkai ranges of mountains. The state`s total cultivable area (as on 31 March 2000) under Jhum/shifting cultivation was 1.10 lakh hectares and under permanent cultivation was only 0.90 lakh hectares. Most of the cultivable areas are rain fed. The state receives from heave to moderate rainfall and its rivers and streams get plenty of water throughout the year. Average rainfall varies from 164 mm to 5600 mm.

Land pattern

Tribal communities, belonging to Tibeto-Burman linguistic origin, migrated and settled in different parts of the state in different periods of time. These parts were later on identified under tribe specific names, such as the Adi Hills, Nyishi Hills, Mishmi Hills, and so on. It gave to them their exclusive control over such areas. There are three main types of land ownership pattern, namely the clan land, the village land and individual ownership. Shifting cultivation is a predominant practice in the clan or village ownership land system, whereas sedentary agriculture is prevalent in the individual ownership pattern.

Pattern of agriculture

Arunachal Pradesh has rural base of economy as over seventy percent of population still live in about 3863 villages. Statistical Abstract of Arunachal Pradesh, 2008, shows that about 58.44 percent of population belongs to the category of cultivators, 3.85 percent agricultural labourers, 0.86 percent workers in household industries, and 36.85 percent other types of workers. Their main occupations are agriculture and animal husbandry. Tribal communities of the state follow both the shifting cultivation and sedentary agriculture. Jhum cultivation or shifting cultivation or slash and burn method of cultivation was the earliest form of agriculture and it is still practiced in a vast area. This has been a common practice in all the hilly parts of North East and other parts of the world.

It is believed that at least 300 to 500 million people do shifting cultivation worldwide. In this form of agriculture practice first a forest land is selected. Then it is cleared and dried twigs are burnt on spot and thus land is prepared for sowing. After doing cultivation on such a plot for a few years it is left to regain fertility and the community moves to another plot. They return to the old plot after three years. In this way they shift from one plot to another. In the olden days when land was sufficiently available and there was no population pressure this system was practical to the tribal communities considering their life patterns and little advancement of modern scientific method of farming. At that time the cycle of one shifting was also between 10 and 20 years so there was no adverse effect of this practice on environment. The left over areas regained fertility and there was sufficient growth of vegetation on them in the meantime. So, ecological balance was maintained. Main crops cultivated in jhum lands include food grains, vegetables, root crops and fruit species.

Sedentary or settled agriculture pattern was prevalent in the Apatani area in Subansiri region. The Apatani tribe of the region cultivated grains, vegetables and spices in a very scientific way. They were the only tribes who cultivated rice on the wet terrace land with facility of irrigation by canal.

With the passage of time settled pattern of agriculture has developed in other parts of the state in some form or the other. However, the methods of agricultural operation are still not developed. In place of scientific farming the old pattern is still being followed. The use of human labour in place of modern technology is a common practice. The production of food crops are generally meant for home consumption. So they have no commercial value. So much of energy and time is exhausted in a business which does not result in surplus production and capital formation. In this way commercial crops have become more important considering the financial need and employment of the rural population in the state.

Move towards cash crops It has been experienced in the last one decade that the farmers of Arunachal Pradesh are taking more interest in crops other than food crops. Rather it can be said that apart from traditional agricultural crops there is an enthusiasm for agricultural production which comes under the categories of horticulture, floriculture or plantation crops.

Main crops which are grown in the state are rice, wheat, millets, maize, pulses, fruits, and spices. As usual, food crops (rice, maize, millets, and pulses) production gets predominance over production of cash or commercial crops (potato, oil seed, ginger, chilli, sugarcane, turmeric and vegetables). The table below indicates it

Table I
Area and Production of Food and Cash Crops

Area in hectare
Production in MT


(2000 - 2005)

S.No.

Crop

2000-2001

2001- 2002

2002- 2003

2003- 2004

2004- 2005

   

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

1

Rice

118000

132690

129000

157000

1272000

159000

1272000

160000

1273000

161000

2

Wheat

397

6226

4300

6500

4800

7300

4870

7500

4875

7800

3

Maize

38429

52297

38300

55000

41200

60000

42560

63000

43300

65000

4

Millet

20149

17332

19700

17500

23500

21500

23660

22000

23700

22500

5

Pulses

6202

6774

7500

8000

8100

8500

8410

9000

9260

10000

 

Total Food Grains

187177

215319

195800

244000

204800

256300

206700

216500

208435

266300

6

Potato

5511

36023

5200

38000

5455

40000

5578

41000

5825

43000

7

Oil Seed

26278

27176

28700

31500

30470

32000

31300

33500

31480

34000

8

Ginger

4774

35295

4935

38000

5194

40000

5304

41000

5508

43000

9

Chilli

1317

2097

1800

2500

1870

2600

1942

2700

2007

2800

10

Sugarcane

847

14358

825

18000

893

19500

960

21000

1005

22000

11

Vegetables

13345

46993

15500

48000

13692

44500

14150

46000

14375

47000

12

Turmeric

1219

1872

520

2000

546

2100

571

2200

597

2300

Source: New Agricultural Policy, Dept. of Agriculture, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh

However, in terms of productivity, sugarcane, potato and ginger have the largest quantity of yield. Whereas the average yield of potato during 2000-2005 was between 65 and 73 Qtl./hect. , average yield of ginger was between 73 and 77 Qtl/hect, that of turmeric 38 Qtl/hect and sugarcane 169 to 218 Qtl/hect. Average productivity of food crops was between 11 and 12 Qtl/hect.

Table II
Area and Production of Food and Cash Crops

Area in hectare
Production in MT


(2006-2010)

S.No.

Crop

2005- 2006

2006- 2007

2007- 2008

2008- 2009

2009- 2010

   

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

1

Rice

128900

165000

132000

170000

135650

175000

139425

180000

146500

190000

2

Wheat

5060

8200

5150

8500

5295

9000

48100

76000

50000

80000

3

Maize

44450

68000

46450

72000

47700

74500

48100

76000

50000

80000

4

Millet

24470

23500

25500

25000

26700

26500

27000

27000

13000

15000

5

Pulses

10090

11000

10900

12000

11600

13000

12300

14000

14400

32500

 

Total grains

212970

275700

220000

287500

226945

298000

232245

306500

273900

397500

6

Potato

5950

44000

6080

45000

6175

46000

6400

48000

6600

50000

7

Oil seed

32100

35000

32700

36000

33600

37000

33700

38000

34000

40000

8

Ginger

5677

44000

5800

45000

5900

46000

6150

48000

6390

50000

9

Turmeric

622

2400

648

2500

670

2600

715

2800

755

3000

10

Chilli

2078

2900

2140

3000

2285

3200

2305

3300

2415

3500

11

Sugarcane

1050

23000

1090

24000

1130

25000

1220

27000

1350

30000

12

Vegetables

14740

48500

15150

50000

15220

51000

15585

53000

15714

55000

Source: New Agricultural Policy, Dept. of Agriculture, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh

Between 2005 and 2010 average yield of food crops was 13 Qtl/hect whereas the yield of cash crops was much higher. Thus, average yield of potato was 74 Qtl, ginger 77Qtl, turmeric 38 Qtl. and sugarcane 221 Qtl. per hectare.

During the same period (2000-2010) the production of some of the horticultural crops such as fruits (apple, citrus, pineapple, banana, walnut and other fruits), and spices (large cardamom, black pepper and other spices) were also remarkable. It has been shown in table III and IV below.

It is evident from Table I and II that the popularity of cash crops is growing year after year. There is continuous increase in their area under production and production as such. This is also one of the objectives of the New Agricultural Policy which states that the government of Arunachal Pradesh seeks to improve quality of life of its people by achieving higher economic growth through agriculture and allied sectors. For that the government has set the objective of income generation through emphasis on cash crops, floriculture, fruit culture, fish and pig rearing and agro-processing activities. One of the thrust areas in the New Industrial Policy of 2008 is development of industries based on agricultural, horticultural and plantation produce. It also seeks to develop industries based on non-timber forest produce such as bamboo, cane, medicinal plants/herbs, aromatic grass, etc.

Rice is staple food of the people of this region as a whole. In Arunachal Pradesh production of rice is highest among all food crops. Five major districts in relation to rice production (during 2007-2008) were Changlang (41097 MT), West Siang (32902 MT), East Siang (29699 MT), Lohit (25250 MT), and Papum Pare (20781 MT).(Statistical Abstract of Arunachal Pradesh, 2008). Whereas in terms of production of all food crops during the same period five major districts were Changlang, West Siang, East Siang, Lohit, and Lower Dibang Valley.

Among the commercial crops oil seeds, potato, ginger and chilies are produced in all the districts of state in varying quantities. During the year 2007-2008 Lohit district produced the highest quantity of oil seeds (8930 MT) followed by Lower Dibang Valley (4500 MT), East Siang (3752 MT), Changlang (2996 MT) and West Siang (1792 MT). During the same period the production of potato was highest in Lohit (5704 MT) followed by East Siang (4899 MT), Lower Subansiri (3863 MT), Tawang (3250), and Lower Dibang Valley (2850 MT). Production of ginger was highest in Lower Dibang Valley (21375 MT), followed by Lohit (7324 MT), East Siang (5581MT), Changlang (3043 MT) and Upper Subansiri (2866 MT). Production of chili was highest in Changlang (990 MT), followed by Upper Subansiri (508 MT), Lower Subansiri (356MT), Anjaw (314 MT), and West Siang (235MT). Among other commercial crops sugarcane was produced highest in East Siang (7280MT), followed by Changlang (4899MT), Papum Pare (2888MT), West Siang (2663MT), and Lower Subansiri (1450MT). Turmeric was produced in highest quantity in Lower Dibang Valley (616MT), Lohit (387MT), East Siang (369MT), West Siang (234MT) and Papum Pare (116MT).

Apart from food and commercial crops, horticultural crops are equally important. They are the backbone of rural economy of Arunachal Pradesh, as pointed out by the Federation of Industry and Commerce of North East Region (FINER). A good agro-climatic condition and topography of the state is most suitable for cultivation of various tropical, sub-tropical and temperate fruits like apple, orange, pineapple, vegetables, mushrooms, spices, aromatic and medicinal plants. The table below gives the picture of area and production of different horticultural crops in the state between 2000 and 2010-

Table III
Area and Production of Horticulture Crops

Area in hectare
Production in MT


(2000-2005)

S.No.

Crop

2000- 2001

2001- 2002

2002- 2003

2003- 2004

2004- 2005

 

Fruit crops

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

1.

Apple

6733

8513

6867

9364

6972

9694

7320

10178

7686

10687

2.

Citrus

19147

24000

19800

24500

20790

25725

21829

27011

22920

28361

3.

Pineapple

7329

31980

7350

32510

7717

34135

8102

35841

8507

37633

4.

Banana

3538

13200

3635

13350

3816

14017

4000

14717

4160

15452

5.

Walnut

2285

51

2350

59

2467

62

2590

65

2719

68

6.

Other fruits

5096

15340

5200

15800

5460

16590

5733

17419

6019

18290

7

Large cardamom

2142

507

2250

252

2362

551

2480

578

2604

607

8.

Black pepper

635

117

670

150

703

158

738

166

775

174

9.

Other spices

6483

29393

6510

30100

6835

31605

7176

33185

7535

34844



Table IV
Area and Production of Horticulture Crops

Area in hectare
Production in MT


(2006-2010)

S.No.

Crop

2005- 2006

2006- 2007

2007- 2008

2008- 2009

2009- 2010

 

Fruit crops

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

Area

Prod.

1.

Apple

6733

8513

6867

9364

6972

9694

7320

10178

7686

10687

2.

Citrus

19147

24000

19800

24500

20790

25725

21829

27011

22920

28361

3.

Pineapple

7329

31980

7350

32510

7717

34135

8102

35841

8507

37633

4.

Banana

3538

13200

3635

13350

3816

14017

4000

14717

4160

15452

5.

Walnut

2285

51

2350

59

2467

62

2590

65

2719

68

6.

Other fruits

5096

15340

5200

15800

5460

16590

5733

17419

6019

18290

7

Large cardamom

2142

507

2250

252

2362

551

2480

578

2604

607

8.

Black pepper

635

117

670

150

703

158

738

166

775

174

9.

Other spices

6483

29393

6510

30100

6835

31605

7176

33185

7535

34844

Source: New Agricultural Policy, Dept. of Agriculture, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh

Districts of West Kameng and Tawang have the largest area under production of apple and walnut, followed by Lower Subansiri, West Siang and East Kameng. Apple, walnut, banana and citrus (orange and lemon) have been some of the biggest sources of earning for the farmers of Arunachal Pradesh. They are sold in huge quantity in local, internal and external markets. Large cardamom is produced almost in all districts, except Tawang, in some quantity or the other. Ginger is a good commercial crop which is produced in all districts and has a good market in Assam and other parts of the country. Kiwi is another fruit crop which has a good market in Indian cities. It is largely produced in districts of Papum Pare, West Kameng, Tawang and Lower Subansiri. (Statistical Abstract of Arunachal Pradesh, 2008)

Plantation crops such as tea, rubber and coffee have also received significant attention in the state. Tea is the most important plantation crop of the north east region as a whole. Among the four major tea-growing states (Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala) Assam alone produces more than fifty percent of the whole tea production in the country. According to the Parliamentary Report on Tea and Coffee, in 2011, Assam produced 508741 million kg of tea on 322214 hectares of land. Tea plantation is also developing fast in other north east states such as Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim. The number of small tea growers in these states has reached up to 8354.

Small tea gardens have come up in several districts (such as East and West Siang, Lohit, Tirap) of Arunachal Pradesh. They have immense potential for employment and income generation which can bring economic boon among the farmers and workers of the state. Tea produced in these tea gardens is mostly sent to the neighboring state of Assam for procession and marketing. The government of Arunachal Pradesh is also taking keen interest in development of tea plantation in the state. Regional Office of the Tea Board has been set up at Itanagar. It works under the Ministry of Trade and Commerce and looks after tea plantation activities in the state. The government has adopted a foresighted approach, i.e. conversion of the traditional practice of jhum cultivation into Organic Tea Cultivation. It is meant to discourage jhum cultivation on the one hand and encourage tea plantation on the other. Considering the benefits of this policy the Arunachal Pradesh Small Tea Growers` Association has also requested the government to prepare a detail project report for bringing 10,000 hectares of land under tea cultivation during the current financial year and conversion of jhum lands into tea gardens.

The government of Arunachal Pradesh has also set a plan to promote rubber plantation for self-sustenance of farmers. In the Twelfth Plan Period (2012-12) the task is to cover 4000 hectares of land under rubber plantation, in addition to existing 2000 hectares. It is expected that by this farmers can earn 2.5 lakh per hectare of rubber plantation. While in Assam and Tripura rubber plantation is being done mostly by the public sector corporations, in states like Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh the State Forest and Soil Conservation Departments play the leading role in rubber plantation. A moderate beginning has also been made in plantation of coffee in Tirap and Changlang districts.

Conclusion

Agricultural transformation of Arunachal Pradesh in the last few decades has been in the right direction. Food crops which are essential for daily need of meal of the people are not produced in sufficient quantity to meet the requirements. It is because of the non-availability of agricultural land for food crops owing to predominance of hilly areas. The state procures huge quantity of them from other states. In this situation people`s earning from agriculture has also been very low. Most of the food crops are consumed by the growers themselves. In absence of industrial sector which can provide employment and boost earning of the people, agriculture and allied activities are alone the options. Considering the agro-climatic conditions for cultivation of commercial and horticultural crops it is the right opportunity to invest money and power in such enterprise. The government of Arunachal Pradesh is also encouraging farmers to opt for such enterprise as they can support employment and income generation in the state. A number of agro and horticulture based industries are also being developed on the product lines such as fruit based alcoholic beverages, ginger processing/dehydration, apple cultivation and processing, processing of citrus fruits, Tapioca production unit for production of sago and starch, cold storages, and multipurpose fruit and vegetables processing. Such efforts can change the face of state and bring it at the forefront of economically sound population.

 

 

 


 
 
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