Study Topic- Present Status of Fruit Cultivation, Its Impact on Small and Marginal Farmers, Future Challenges and opportunities in Hill Region of Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand is a new state Part of old Uttar Pradesh identified as a separate state when it established on 9th November 2000. Uttarakhand is a very rich state having diversity of natural resources. But in spite of this after 9 year of establishment in the In this literature review report, I am focusing on why I choose this is as my research topic, what are the resources are available and how much potential Uttarakhand have, what are the challenges facing by the farmers in Hill region of the state for horticulture production, all these are important points of my literature review.
UIttarakhand was established in the year 2000 as 28th state of India. It has thirteen districts and out of them 8 is considered as Hill districts; it shows that Uttarakhand is a combination of plain and Hill topography. It is the first state who has registration under APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products, Export Development Authority) as an organic state. In spite of humours natural gifts, Uttarakhnad Hill districts are struggling for growth and people are continuously migrating form top hills to other districts within state and other states also. It is well known that two Indian great rivers, Ganga and Yamuna originated from this state but in spite of it, there is great disparity for irrigation in state. Net sowing area in the state is 76711 ha and out of that only 345020 ha (2006-07) land is irrigated. Out of total reported Irrigation land, 90% considered under plains and only 10% in Hill areas. Famous environmentalist Sundar Lal Bahuguna ji also said “Hill water and Hill youth not used by hills itself”. Not only this, because of difficult topography it is very difficult for intervention of technologies in the Hill areas. Most of the land holding is small and marginal in size, data shows that out of total only 3% land holders have land more than 4 ha it covered total 22% of cultivation area of Uttarakhand. These data may create a good picture but dark size is visible when we study in two parts; 8 Hill districts versus 5 plain states, Hill farmers has very difficult life because of certain reasons like poor transportation, poor marketing, more soil erosion with rain fall, government rules and so on. All these factors further we study separately (Uttarakhand annual report 2010-11).
Let us focus on the research topic and take different dimensions systematically. First see the present status of the India and Uttarakhand fruit predation status. The major grown fruits in this Hill state are Mango, Apple, Palm, Peach, Pear, Plum, Apricot, Strawberry, number of citrus fruits, Walnut and so on. As per 1997-99 data, that time total fruit production was 43.3 million Ton under total 3.2 Million ha land. The total demand of fruit will be 93.6 million ton with 5.5% per capita GDP growth rate in 2020 (IARI report). In Uttarakhand, at present maximum area under fruit cultivation is covered by Mango (19%), followed by Apple (15%); other major fruits which grown in upper hills are walnut, Malta, orange, and other citrus fruits. Maximum population who are lived in the top of the hills where irrigation facilities are not available; there grain crops are not much successful except few coarse grains. People are highly dependent on the forest, fruit cultivation and off season vegetables. Here considerable point is that per hector fruit and crop production is less than national average but the land efficiency is high than national average. Here reported land under tree crops (it does not include those trees that comes under forest area) is 4.75% under which .64 million ton fruit produced in year 2005-6 (Uttarakhand annual report 2010-11). It shows that despite of huge opportunities, still farmers are not able to get the maximum benefits.
The Hill region of Uttarakhand is highly productive but at present situation, it is very critical with the reference of fruit production. Now let us briefly focus on the different challenges faced by Hill farmers for fruit cultivation. First and foremost challenge is difficult topography of this state; it leads many other challenges like poor railway and air transportation, still only plain districts has reach of trains. Land holding size is very small and field are very scattered over the hills, because of it farmers are not able to use any advance farming technology. Most of the land is comes under rain-fed zone and highly dependent on rainfall. That whole region highly infected with wild animals and most of the fruit crops now destroyed by monkeys. During rainy season every year, soil erosion rate is very high; it is approx 40 ton per hector. Most of the farmers are unskilled and unorganised; because of these problems no one takes extra endeavour for more production. Migration is also a critical issue and because of other poor infrastructure like education, people migrated to cities, so land becomes barren with time without any proper care (V.P.Das). All these issues are highly contribution for poor cultivation. Because of all these problems, there are number of challenges faced by poor people who are living there. Food insecurity, poor health, low income, poor marketing of cultivated fruit products and low cost benefit ratio are few prominent challenges.
Now with all these concerns, one more serious issue continuously becomes a challenge for the farmers in Hill states. Climate change is not only the problem of the Uttarakhand farmers’ but now it is a concern for all over the world. Earlier Uttarakhand Hill region was very famous for its quality of apples and but now since temperature is increasing continuously, it is becoming a major issue for farmers. Hills are now more susceptible for fires during summers, no more water available in summer for irrigation propose, and nature also adopting against the temperature change. This visible challenge is leading the low productivity which is largely contributing on migration (Maikhuri.R.K). Not only their livelihood, more than that now it is a difficult situation for them to leave them in the upper part of hills because of continuous fear of disasters. According to study report now it is clear that continuously major zone of the Himalaya is highly sensitive for earthquake and total districts of Uttarakhand state comes under either IV or V Zone of earthquake (S. P. Singh).
In Uttarakhand that out of its 13 districts, eight districts has sex ration more than 1000, here interesting is that all the eight states are Hill states. In the base line study of Uttarakhand that fact came outside that migration is quite high in Hill regions because of above reasons. Out of sample studies of 7054, total 43% population migrated to nearby villages, 27% population migrated to nearby towns and cities, and 34% in far cities. This migration also 99% done by male part; out of total 715 simple respondents, 714 was male migrated for the native place (mostly in search of better employment, some time few other reasons like children study) (Base line survey of the Aajeevika Project, Uttarakhand).
The important feature is the impact of Hill agriculture on gender issues. In Hill region where land holding is very small and fields are scattered across the hills, all the household work have done by women. Male part mostly migrated outside or not contributed much in household work. Female take care of livestock, family members, children, fuel woods form the deep forest, agriculture activities and so many other daily activities. During harvesting session of fruits, because of poor transportation poor women forced to sell their fruit product at minimum price to middle men because they can not go for sell in market them self, it is again discourage them to not take any extra endeavours for more production of fruits. Some time women also sell their product in lower area of Hill region; there they follow barter system and take grains by selling their fruit products. Here again they sale their product at lower price because here they lost their opportunity cost of their time (Manjari Mehta). Till this part we see the different challenges and concern faced by the Hill farmers, now let us correlate with the future challenges of this state. No doubt that still Uttarakhand is producing a huge amount of healthy fruit (healthy because most of the products come under the organic farming). But in spite of huge production farmers are not able to procure their fruit products for long term and most of the farmers’ sale their product as raw material. There is no advance unit for further procuring, processing, and preparing by products of the fruits. By this was also Hill farmers are missing a large share of their potential income (Sabyasachi Kar).
This is not something very unique problematic case of Uttarakhand state and its Hill region; World’s third largest economy, Japan also experienced that same thing in the past. This country has over 68 % Hill area with 30 % agriculture land. During mechanisation of country and fast economic growth that part Hill part of country ignored for long time. That ignorance forced millions of population to uncertain future. Than government realised the importance of Hill agriculture and again redesigned its policies for hill agriculture development. Now at present hill contributes a considerable amount of food and fruit production in Japan and also it provides enough employment to local population. They linked farming with tourism, at the same time they also designed various water harvesting techniques for solving the water related problems. That same thing also practiced in South Korea (Tez Pratap). It shows that if government and administration have a will to do good than anything can be done by community involvement.
Water harvesting programme also now focusing in the Hill regions, in spite of all irrigation facilities still 90% land is rain fed in the Hill region. Annual precipitation is not a challenge in hills but the run off amount of total rainfall, erosion because of rainfall, and no water availability at right time for standing crops are the major challenges. Now the ICRISET and G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology Pantnagar initiated a programme for water conservation after rain fall so that will be use throughout the year. For especially Hill region where slope is high now the contouring and bund design and use of indigenous techniques is the priority of the scientists. They are doing all these activities with the help of community participation (Anil Kumar)
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