Cost of production for major crops is highest in Telangana

Fragmentation of landholdings adds to problems of agriculturists.

Hyderabad: The cost of production for major crops such as paddy and cotton is the highest in Telangana state, compared to six major states producing these crops. For example, it costs the average farmer Rs 1,474 to produce a quintal of paddy, as against Rs 946 in Punjab. The data was put out by the Socio Economic Outlook for 2017 by the state government.

This is the result of a host of problems that farmers in the state face. Landholdings are getting increasingly fragmented, the cost of inputs is rising and the vagaries of weather are costing farmers heavily. In this backdrop, the announcement of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday that the government would provide Rs 8,000 cash per acre per year has not come a day too soon. The money is to be divided equally for the rabi and kharif crop.

Apart from this, farmers in the state enjoy some other benefits such as free electricity and, of late, loan waiver. But loan waivers do not cover those who had borrowed from private moneylenders. Besides, to use the free electricity, farmers have to spend money to dig borewells. The cost estimates for the principal major crops such as paddy, maize, red gram and cotton — which account for about three- fourth of gross cropped area in the state — show there has been a rise in per quintal cost of production.

The per hectare cultivation cost of paddy, maize and cotton has increased by more than 52 per cent, 925 per cent and 150 per cent respectively, according to the state government data. The cost of paddy cultivation has increased from Rs 54,932 to Rs 83,515, maize Rs 38,405 to Rs 73,767. The cost of cultivation of cotton has increased from Rs 33,574 to '84,045 according to the Socio Economic Outlook.

There has been a high fluctuation in the cost of production for major crops over a period of time. The production cost per quintal of paddy and red gram saw a steep increase as compared to maize and cotton over seven years. There is another cause for concern as well. The average landholding is gradually declining. The average size of landholdings in the state was 1.3 hectares in 2005-06 and has declined to 1.12 hectares of 2.8 acres — marking a fall of 14.48 per cent, according to the Socio Economic outlook-2017 of the TS government.

The decrease in the size of landholdings is observed in all categories except among marginal and small groups. The share of small and marginal landholdings is about 86 per cent of the total landholdings; their share in the total area was around 55 per cent. About 14 per cent of total landholdings were in the medium category ranging between 2 and 10 hectares, and their share in total area was 40.5 per cent. The consumption of chemical fertilisers is also high, particularly in Karimnagar, Nalgonda and Warangal districts.

Among those holding a marginal share of land, 62 per cent have less than one hectare, 23.9 per cent have between one and two hectares, 13.9 per cent have between 2 and 10 hectares. In Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Medak districts the average landholding is less than one hectare.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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