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Maharashtra: Failed policies, low yield led to sluggish growth in agriculture sector

In the production of food grains, cereals, pulses and oilseeds, the state ranks fifth after Andra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Madya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

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Maharashtra: Failed policies, low yield led to sluggish growth in agriculture sector
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A drop of 50% in the net arable land led to an abysmally low 0.4% agricultural growth in the state. The state economic survey report revealed that state agriculture growth has consecutively declined over four years. In the production of food grains, cereals, pulses and oilseeds, the state ranks fifth after Andra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Madya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Andra Pradesh has achieved the number one rank in the country.

Speaking to DNA, farmer leader and agricultural expert Vijay Jawandia said that while farmers are not getting a fair price for their produce, flip flop export and import policies have led to a decline in agricultural growth. He said that this year, the government had imported 27,000 bales cotton against 17,000 last year.

“One bale is 170 kg of seedless cotton. The government announces a minimum support price (MSP). However, the farmers are forced to sell below MSP,” explained Jawandia.

Nanasaheb Patil, farmer leader said that the government policies should encourage the farmers. “We need to support the farmer. If he survives, only then will the other sections of society survive. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy,” Patil added.

In 2018, production of cereals went down by 35% while pulses production declined by 6%. However, the crops under irrigated areas have shown a positive growth. Oilseed, cotton and sugar cane production has gone up by 16%, 17% and 10% respectively this year in Kharip season. Despite the drought, land under sugar cane plantation as well as production has increased this year.

Sowing of rabi crop declined by 50% due to deficient rainfall in September and October of last year. The area under cereals, pulses and oilseeds during the rabi sowing season decreased by 56%, 40% and 58% respectively.

Balasaheb Thorat, Congress MLA and group leader of Congress party said, “The consecutive negative growth for the last several years shows that we are heading towards a debt-ridden state. Burgeoning debt meant witnessing less development work in the state. Besides, more than 53% population which is dependant on agriculture is struggling to survive.”

Thorat informed that more than Rs 13,000 crore has been spent on watershed management program known as Jalyukt Shivar, but the groundwater table has not increased by an inch.

He alleged that the wrong policies and wrong priorities of the government are responsible for the sorry state of affairs. 

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