The results of regression analysis indicate that the percentage of gross cropped area irrigated is the most significant variable in affecting the yield of foodgrains and the second most important factor is the average size of operational holding. All the estimated regression co-efficients bear positive signs as expected. This testifies that fertiliser use, rainfall, % GCA irrigated and size of opeartional holding positively affect yield rate of foodgrains. All the coefficients are found to be significant at 0.05 % level of significance. R-square value is computed to be 0.601 indicating that about 60.1% of inter-district variations in yield are explained by our regression model.
AGRICULTURAL BACKWARDNESS OF KBK DISTRICTS
The KBK districts of Orissa which comprised the undivided Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput districts now cover eight divided districts namely Koraput, Malkanagiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Bolangir, Sonepur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. These districts are inhabited mostly by tribals and SC population. The land areas in the KBK districts are chronically affected by drought due to uneven and erratic rainfall over the years. The entire KBK region is predominantly rural in character with more than 90 per cent of its population residing in rural areas as against 87 per cent at the state level (1991 census). The workforce structure of the KBK districts reveals that while at the state level there has been a marked shift of the workers from primary sector to secondary sector occupations in recent years, the KBK districts continue to show all the symptoms of economic backwardness with little occupational diversification taking place in the region. While the workers engaged in primary sector has marginally declined from 85 per cent in 1971 to 84 per cent in 1991, the workers engaged in the secondary sector has been stagnating around 5 per cent of total workforce.
The Agricultural Development Index (ADI) of the undivided KBK districts point to the fact that the undivided Bolangir district has retained its rank at 6 during the three reference time periods i.e. 1980-81, 1990-91 and 1998-99 (Table 4.8). But the ranks of undivided Koraput and Kalahandi have been lowered in 1990 with respect to their positions in 1980. However, in 1998 their positions have improved. District-wise variations in area, yield and production of foodgrains for the period 1978-1998 as contained in Table 4.10 show that Koraput has the highest level of fluctuations in area under foodgrains with C.V of 15.3 per cent and Bolangir has the highest level of fluctuations in foodgrain production with C.V of 31.45 per cent and the second highest variation in foodgrain yield with C.V. of 28.2 per cent.
Though a number of poverty alleviation programmes have been implemented in the area to create employment and generate income, the living standards of the people have not improved. News of starvation death occurring in the area is catching headlines of many newspapers frequently. Many irrigation schemes launched in the area primarily to improve soil and water conservation/ availability, have not yielded desired results. Due to low level of education and social and economic backwardness, people of the area have been unable to adopt appropriate technology for proper water and land management.
Under such a situation it is imperative to harvest the abundant rainwater and run off which are otherwise wasted and use it properly by proper watershed management. Also, creation of new irrigation potential by investing in new irrigation projects and utilisation of already created potentials is of paramount importance. But irrigation development in these districts is not up to the satisfactory level. In the year 1998-99 the percentage of gross cropped area irrigated in Koraput, Bolangir and Kalahandi was 30.9 per cent, 35.2 per cent and 25.3 per cent respectively, whereas the state average was 34.5 per cent (Table 4.7). Also, in the KBK districts the consumption of fertiliser per hectare of gross cropped area was much lower in comparison to state average (Table 4.7).
By the end of 8th plan, the total irrigation potential created in these districts was 3.54 lakh hectares constituting 14.34 per cent of the total irrigation potential created in the state. During 1997-98 to 1999-00 of 9th plan, additional irrigation potential for 55,176 hectares has been created. The annual plan 2000-01 envisages creation of additional irrigation potential of 15, 290 Ha. with an outlay of Rs.146.99 crore through ongoing and new irrigation projects such as Upper Indarabati, Upper Kolab, Potteru, Lower Indra, Lower Suktel etc.
It may be noted that, about 9 lakh ha of cultivable land of western Orissa including KBK districts have been affected by severe droughts in most of the years, affecting 15 lakh families with 85 lakh population. Under-utilisation of ground water resources, inability to use 70 per cent of the rainwater and mismanagement of irrigation projects with inadequate fund allocation, have aggravated the drought problem in the KBK region.
The ground water development in the KBK districts is at a very low level. The level of ground water development is expressed as the ratio of Net Yearly Draft to Utilisable Ground Water Resource for Irrigation multiplied by hundred. The level of ground water development is 1.9 per cent in Koraput, 0.7 per cent in Malkangiri, 5.03 per cent in Rayagada, 4.5 per cent in Nabarangapur, 9.7 per cent in Bolangir and Sonepur, 8.9 per cent in Kalahandi and 14.2 per cent in Nuapada. The stage of ground water development for the state as whole is also very low i.e. 8.4 per cent compared to 98.2 per cent for Punjab and 80.2 per cent for Haryana and all India average of 30.1 per cent. In the KBK districts the ground water level remains 6/7 meters below the ground. In these districts ground water can be utilised for irrigation by sinking dugwells through pumpsets as followed widely in South Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu and Karanataka. Also, In dry land areas of KBK districts low cost and efficient irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler irrigation need to be propagated for cultivation of fruits and vegetables. The irrigation works in case of Upper Kolab project in Koraput, Upper Indrabati in Kalahandi, and Suktel and Indra in Bolangir and Nuapada need to be speeded up, so that the poverty stricken vulnerable sections of the KBK districts can get the benefits of irrigation within a couple of years.
In upland rainfed areas of KBK districts the farmers should be motivated to cultivate drought resistant light duty crops and varieties like ragi, green gram, black gram and groundnut in place of paddy. Also, farmers should be motivated to practise inter-cropping for stabilising farm production and income. The ideal inter-cropping systems in Orissa are cereals and pulses, pulses and ragi, maize and arhar, and groundnut and arhar. Moreover, emphasis should be given on research and development of appropriate dry-land farming technology and its transfer to farmers for adoption. In dry-land areas of KBK districts stability in crop production can be ensured through appropriate soil and water management on watershed basis, run-off water collection and recycling, construction of water harvesting structures like farm ponds, percolation tanks, crop substitution, mixed cropping and adoption of alternative land use systems like agro-forestry, agro-horticulture and silviculture.
INSTABILITY IN PRODUCTION
Agriculture in Orissa is a gamble in monsoon, as quantum of rainfall not only varies from year to year, but there is wide dispersion in rainfall within a year. In some years there is deficient rainfall resulting in drought conditions and in others when there is excess of rainfall, flood is caused. Also, the rainfall is not received uniformly distributed over the year. Eighty per cent of the rainfall is received within four months of the year i.e. June to September. Very often late arrival of monsoon and its early retreat cause water stress during crucial growth stages of plant causing reduction in yield. Being a coastal state Orissa also suffers from cyclones, hurricane, hailstorms and tornado resulting in colossal loss of life and property. Almost in each alternate year Orissa suffers from natural calamities like drought, flood and cyclone. Table 4.9 shows that out of 41 years 29 years are abnormal years having occurrence of natural calamities like drought, flood and cyclone with varying intensity.
Table 4.2 shows yearwise data on area, yield and production of foodgrains for the period from 1970 to 1998. During this period the co-efficients of variation for area, yield and production have been computed to be 6.6 per cent, 16.9 per cent and 21.9 per cent respectively. Thus, the co-efficient of variation in case of yield rate (16.9 per cent) is significantly higher than that of area (6.6 per cent). Therefore, variations in production can be explained more in terms of yield effect than area effect.
1. Agricultural Statistics of Orissa- At a Glance, 1996, Directorate of Agriculture and
Food Production, Orissa, Bhubaneswar.
2. Compendium of Environmental Statistics. 1999, Central Statistical Organisation, New Delhi.
District-wise Coefficients of Variation of Area, Yield and
Production of Foodgrains in Orissa (1978-1998)
Coefficients of Variation (%)
CENTRAL TABLE LAND
Source: Computed from : Agricultural Statistics of Orissa-At a glance, 1996,
Orissa Agricultural Statistics (Various Issues). Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production, Orissa,
As regards district-wise instability in agricultural production (Table 4.10), over the period 1978 to 1998, Mayurbhanj, Bolangir and Kendujhar show higher instability both in foodgrain production and yield with high C.V. values. Interestingly, during the period of two decades under study Cuttack district has the highest average foodgrain production (850.59 thousand tonnes), but the lowest co-efficient of variation (18.89 per cent). Phulbani district is having the lowest average foodgrain production i.e. 189.94 thousands tonne. Rainfed and drought prone areas like Koraput and Phulbani show higher level of fluctuations in area under foodgrain production with C.V. 15.3 per cent and 10.9 per cent respectively.
EXPLAINING LOW PRODUCTIVITY
As already discussed Orissa is one of the most agriculturally backward states of India. Agricultural productivity in Orissa is quite low due to traditional farming practices, low use of yield stimulating inputs like HYV seeds, chemical fertiliser, organic manure; uneconomic size of operational holding, incidence of high tenancy, low capital formation and investment in agriculture, inadequate rural infrastructure and services and inappropriate policy environment. An inter-state comparison of yield and input use reveals that in the agriculturally progressive states like Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu the use of chemical fertiliser is significantly higher in comparison to Orissa (Table 4.5). The per hectare application of fertiliser in case of Orissa in the year 1998 was only 43.8 kg/ha, whereas in Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu it was nearly 185 kg, 149 kg and 163 kg respectively. Also, percentage of gross cropped area irrigated was markedly higher in agriculturally advanced states like Punjab (94 per cent), Haryana (79 per cent) and Tamil Nadu (52%). Thus, the low application of two important yield enhancing inputs like irrigation and fertiliser are considered to be the most immediate and important determining factors responsible for low agricultural productivity in Orissa. Further, various other factors in socio-economic, cultural, institutional and infrastructural, spheres as well as policy environment and historical antecedents also cause low yield in Orissa. For convenience we have grouped the different factors under four heads: agrarian structure, rural infrastructure and services, rural institutions and state policy.
Though several factors are attributed for lower agricultural productivity in Orissa, many consider skewed distribution of agricultural land, small size of operational holding, high incidence of share tenancy and rural poverty as major impediments to agricultural growth. An analysis of trends in the number of operational holdings and area operated reveals that the number of operational holdings in Orissa has increased substantially from about 30 lakh in 1961 to 42 lakh in 1991 (Table 4.11). During the same period the total operational area has increased from 43 lakh ha to only 48 lakh. Thus within a span of thirty years there has been 42.6 per cent increase in number of operational holdings which far exceeds the 11.4 percentage increase in operated area. As a result the average area operated per household has decreased from 1.44 ha in 1961 to 1.13 ha in 1991 showing 21.5 per cent decline. The size-wise distribution of operational holdings and area operated (Table 4.12) shows that in the year 1991-92, more than eighty per cent of farm operators belonged to marginal farmer and small farmer categories cultivating less than 2 hectares of land. Though they constituted 84 per cent of operational holdings, operated only 52 per cent of total operational area. On the other hand, the large farmers (operating land area more than 4 hectares) constituting only 4 per cent of total holdings cultivated a substantial proportion i.e. 20 per cent of operated area. Thus, in Orissa there is skewed distribution of land area with its concentration in a few hands of big farmers. However, percentage of area operated by large farmers shows a declining trend during the period 1961 to 1991. Moreover, the holdings are fragmented and scattered. Consolidation of holdings has been completed only in some major irrigation commands.
Characteristics of Operational and Tenant Holdings in Rural Orissa
1961-62 to 1991-92
No. of Operational Holdings (lakh)
Area Operated (Lakh Ha.)
Average Area Operated (Ha.)
No. of Parcels per Holding
No. of Tenant Holdings (Lakh)
% of Tenant Holdings to Total Operational Holdings
An inter-state comparison of size of operational holding shows that during 1990-91 it was only 1.34 ha for Orissa whereas it was quite large for agriculturally advanced states like Punjab (3.61 ha) and Haryana (2.43 ha). It is not only the size of land holding is small in Orissa, but also most of the farmers are ultra-poor and are nearly resource-less. The percentage of rural population below poverty line in Orissa is extremely high (49.7%). Due to the poor resource base the farmers in Orissa are not in a position to invest in costly inputs like chemical fertiliser, High Yielding Varieties of seeds, mechanised farm implements, pumpsets etc. Though in the cultivation of HYV seeds using fertiliser and irrigation water, the yield is high, the fluctuations in yield are significant. If the inputs are not applied in time, in required quantity and in right combination at appropriate growth stages of plant, the yield is reduced substantially. Apart from this, the high yielding varieties are highly susceptible to plant diseases and pest attacks. On the whole, in the cultivation of HYV seed, production risk is quite high. Given the low resource base, the poor farmers in Orissa are naturally risk averters. In addition to production risk, there is also price risk. In the absence of proper storage, transport and marketiing facilities, there is a great risk of post-harvest losses of production and income. Therefore, the resource poor farmers of Orissa are not in a position to bear the risk of cultivating HYV seeds adopting modern method of production.
IZEWISE DISTRIBUTION OF OPERATIONAL HOLDINGS AND AREA IN ORISSA
As regards incidence of tenancy in Orissa, it belongs to the category of high tenancy states in India. In 1991 the percentage of area leased-in to area operated in case of Orissa was 9.5 which was greater than the All-India average of 8.3 per cent (Table 4.5). In Orissa, in 1991-92 there were numerically 6.9 lakh tenant holdings (Table 4.11). They constituted 16.4 per cent of total operational holdings. They leased in 4.5 lakh hectares of land, which was 9.5 per cent of total operational area. Average area leased-in per tenant holding was only 0.65 ha. But incidence of tenancy reveals a declining trend. The proportion of operated area leased-in has decreased from 13.5 per cent in 1970-71 to 9.5 per cent in 1991-92. The major manifestation of tenancy in Orissa is sharecropping. The breakup of total leased-in area into different types of tenancy reveals that in Orissa sharecropping is more pervasive than fixed produce and fixed money tenancy (Table 4.13). In 1991-92 about 50.9 per cent of leased-in area was under sharecropping. The coverage under fixed money and fixed produce was only 19.7 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively. Proportion of area under share tenancy shows an increasing trend. In 1971-72, 41.8 per cent of leased-in area was under sharecropping which has increased to 50.9 per cent in 1991. It is to be noted that in agriculturally advanced states like Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu fixed tenancy is more prominent than share tenancy.