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MP Agriculture fortunes and lessons for UP


GS3 – Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers

Context

  • Madhya Pardesh CM Chouhan concentrated on agriculture, which employs the largest share of MP’s workforce (54.6 percent in 2015-16 as per the Labour Bureau).
  • MP’s agri-gross state domestic product (agri-GSDP) grew at 9.7 percent per annum — the highest ever achieved by any state — between 2005-06 and 2014-15. All-India agri-GDP growth during this period was 3.5 per cent and UP’s growth in this respect was even lower at 3.2 percent.
  • MP’s agri-performance, therefore, has been more than three times better than that of UP’s. Chouhan’s mantra is worth learning for CM Adityanath, more so when UP is more generously endowed than MP with nature’s gifts — fertile Gangetic soil and relatively abundant water supplies.

Background

  • Over the last decade, MP has made rapid strides in agricultural production. The state’s wheat production increased from 6 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2005-06 to 17.1 MMT in 2014-15 — a 185 per cent leap — and soybean production increased from 4.5 MMT to 6.4 MMT over the same period.
  • Horticultural production increased spectacularly, indicating agricultural diversification. Between 2009-10 and 2015-16, horticultural production increased from 6.4 MMT to 22.5 MMT — fruit production having increased from 2.9 MMT to 6.3 MMT and vegetables from 3.1 MMT to 14.8 MMT.
  • Area under horticulture more than doubled from 6 lakh ha to 14.1 lakh ha. Such rapid strides in agricultural production earned MP the Krishi Karman award more than once.

How has it happened?

  1. Irrigation
  • It began with water management. MP targeted an increase in the area under irrigation.
  • MP completed several unfinished irrigation projects on priority. Between 2009 and 2014, over 1,400 minor irrigation projects were completed in MP, increasing the state’s irrigated area by 4.8 lakh ha.
  1. Electricity
  • But efficient utilisation of groundwater irrigation required provision of uninterrupted power supply. Bijli (electricity) was, therefore, MP’s next target.
  • Uninterrupted power supply to fields was ensured during the wheat season. Agriculture’s share in total electricity sold rose to 36 per cent in MP in 2014-15 from 32 per cent in 2007-08 — as against 18 per cent in UP.
  • The irrigated area in MP, thus, increased from 30 per cent of the cropped area in 2005-06 to 41.2 per cent of such area in 2014-15.
  1. Pricing of crops
  • The MP government also incentivised wheat production by giving a 10 per cent bonus above the Centre’s minimum support price (MSP) from 2007-08 to 2014-15. This encouraged extensive wheat cultivation.
  • Wheat production in MP rose enormously — its share in all-India production shot from 8.6 per cent in 2005-06 to a whopping 20 per cent in 2014-15 making the state, the second largest wheat producer in the country after UP. It surpassed Punjab.
  1. Procurement
  • The procurement system was strengthened considerably. A digital app called e-Uparjan was developed to systematically manage procurement operations and payments.
  • Farmers were sent SMS alerts about the procurement dates and procurement centres. Wheat procurement in MP sky-rocketed (see figure) increasing the state’s share in the all-India pool to over 25 per cent in 2014-15.
  1. Capital infrastructure
  • Roads (sadak) were built to enable farmers to tap markets that were far and wide. Total road density in MP, between 2005-06 and 2014-15, increased from 535km/1,000 sq km to 937 km/1,000 sq. km.
  • The proportion of surfaced roads increased dramatically from 50 per cent to 81 per cent.

Conclusion

  • This bijli-paani-khareed-sadak formula did wonders for MP’s agriculture.
  • Agriculture’s share in the GSDP increased from 28 per cent to 37 per cent. Rural poverty fell from 53.6 per cent in 2004-05 to 35.7 per cent in 2011-12.
  • While some may view this growth with scepticism, the fact that sales of private sector tractor companies showed a four-fold increase in seven years (2007-14) is another cause for optimism.

Lessons for UP

  • A high percentage (78.8 per cent in 2013-14) of land in UP is irrigated but erratic power supply, especially in Eastern UP, hampers efficient utilisation of groundwater.
  • UP’s road density (1,724 km/1,000 sq km) and proportion of surfaced roads (86 per cent) is also higher than MP’s. But inadequate procurement systems have set the state back.
  • The right incentives — beginning with wheat and paddy cultivation — including setting up a strong procurement system and ensuring timely payment of MSPs could result in UP farmers getting 10-25 per cent higher prices for their produce.
  • Encouraging private investments in UP’s agro-processing can help promote agricultural diversification. Solar-powered cold storages for potatoes could prevent price-crashes and also save energy costs.

Practice Questions

  1. Discuss the problems faced by agriculture sector in India. How are states like MP with higher agri growth rate tackling the problems?
  2. Why do the states in Northern Plains not being able to capitalise on the natural endowments they have, while the Green Revolution got success in Haryana and Punjab?
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