Issues and Constraints of Organic Farming in Himachal Pradesh: An Empirical Analysis.
In Himachal Pradesh, over the centuries, traditional farming has always followed excellent organic method. Animal husbandry like sheep, goat, buffaloes and horse's manures with their bedding straw has formed bulk of organic matter. This has been supplemented with oak leaf mould, excess forage grasses and green manuring (Ranveer Singh, 2007). The department of agriculture has been promoting organic farming through training programs, demonstrations, by increasing use of organic manure, bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, vermi-composting, green manuring etc. The state government has also provided advisory service to the organic farmers.
Agriculture is the major sector of the economy which contributes about 45 per cent to the total income of the residents of the State. They largely depend on subsistence farming which is practiced on some irrigated and marginal rain fed farmlands. The average land holding in Himachal Pradesh is about 1.2 hectares. Due to sub-division of land holdings and inheritance law, number of marginal and small farmers is increasing in the State. The total number of marginal and small farmers is about 85 percent of total farms (Government of Himachal Pradesh, 2017). Keeping in view the importance of organic farming in Himachal Pradesh, the present study has been conducted to identify the major constraints in adoption of organic farming and tosuggest some measures to improve the organic farming in Himachal Pradesh. An attempt has also been made to study the scenario of operational holding in selected districts.
The high pressure of increasing population on limited land is the most important constraint. Further, if the present trend of population growth continues, the continuously increasing pressure of population on land would become more acute in future. The lack of knowledge among farmers is the main obstacle in selling organic products. The available organic manures and other inputs are much below as compared to the required quantity. There is also a lack of good quality organic seeds. Further, different varieties of crops are grown in different areas of the State and they have different issues related to organic inputs and soil quality. The government has taken an initiative to make Himachal Pradesh an organic State, and for this purpose, an integrated action plan has been designed to encourage bio fertilizers and pesticides and discourage chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
The present study is based on primary as well as secondary sources of data. The primary data has been collected through field surveys by designing questionnaire and using personal interview method. It has been collected from sampled organic farmers, and includes their cost of cultivation, gross returns, land use pattern, production constraints, marketing constraints, manures, bio-fertilizers, plant protection constraints etc. Secondary data has beenused from the Department of agriculture, government of Himachal Pradesh.
The multistage random sampling technique has been used in the present study. District is the primary sampling unit for the study. In the first stage, out of 12 districts of the State, 10 districts have been purposely selected for the study. In the second stage, two blocks from each district and thereafter, two villages from each block have been selected. At the end, 20 farmers from each village where more number of organic growers have been found are selected. Thus, the total sample consists of 480 organic farmers of the State. Data has been analyzed through SPSS to find out the research objectives. Further, simple tabular analysis has been used for operational holding and various constraints are measured on a five point Liked scale in the present study.
Results and Discussion
The present study is an attempt to know issues and constraints of organic farming in Himachal Pradesh. For better understanding, the results and discussion part has been divided into various heads such as; scenario of operational holding, constraints in adoption of organic farming in the State, risk perception of the organic farming and programs and policies for the promotion of organic farming in Himachal Pradesh.
Scenario of Operational Holdings
An analysis of distributional holdings is helpful in decision making and policy framing of programs for agricultural development. It determines the economic and social status of a family. The number of small and marginal farms is continuously increasing due to growth of population and division of families resulting in division and fragmentation of holdings (Saikia, 1992). The structure of operational holdings has long been recognized as an important determinant of equity and efficiency in agricultural sector. In the following tables, an attempt has been made to analyze the trends in the distribution of operational holdings in selected areas. Distribution of number of operational holdings has been presented in the following table number one. In selected areas, among different categories of land holdings, it is indicated that there is a preponderance of small and marginal farmers. The district-wise distribution of number of operational holdings has been presented in the Table-1. It may be seen from the table that overall percentage of organic farmers in selected areas are 68.33 percent in case of marginal farms, 18.54 percent in case of small farms and 6.88 percent, 5.63 percent and 0.63 percent in case of semi-medium, medium and large farmers respectively.
Distribution of Area of Operational Holdings
Distribution of area of operational holdings under different categories of size of holdings in the selected areas in the state have been presented in the Table 2. It may be seen from the Table that the share of small and marginal holdings area 36.35 and 20.50 percent respectively where as other categories of holding are 43.15 percent. This indicates that 86.87 percent (as shown in table 1, sum of small and marginal farms) of small and marginal farmers are cultivating only 43.15 percent area, indicating that too many people are crowded on little land for cultivation. It may also be seen from the table that almost similar trends are observed in all the selected districts.
Constraints in Adoption of Organic Farming in Himachal Pradesh
This section of paper deals with the problems of organic farming and constraints with relation to production, marketing, processing, manures and plant protection etc., which affect the organic farming in Himachal Pradesh. The major constraints are as follows: Production Constraints
Table-3 shows that the majority of farmers comprising 56.67 per cent of the total sample organic farmers face hindrances due to lack of proper irrigation facilities. Irrigation is a major factor that reduces variations in output besides improving productivity. Provision of irrigation is the starting point of agricultural development. In the absence of irrigation, even increase in the size of the holding will not generate substantial income unless suitable technology for dry land farming is introduced. The problem of costly seed is reported by 47.08 per cent respondents and the lack of knowledge about seed variety, rate of seed, seed treatment and right time of sowing etc. are reported by 25.42 percent farmers. The predominance of inorganic farmers is one of the major problems in the State and has been reported by 44.17 percent farmers and lack of knowledge by 30.83 percent of the respondents. The human labor constraint is also one of the significant hindrances in the cultivation operation.
Marketing and other Major Constraints
Table 4 present the marketing and other major constraints of sampled respondents toward organic cultivation. The data shows that 82.92 percent of organic farmers reported that the prices are not very remunerative, which is the most significant hindrance in selling their product. 69.58 percent of sample organic farmers reported lack of marketing news and information about the prices and demand of their product. 64.17 percent organic farmers faced lack of storage facilities, 62.50 percent reported that purchase agencies are at far-flung places and they are not able to sell their product timely. 59.17 percent reported lack of agencies to purchase their organic products and 56.25 percent reported their dependence on middleman for disposal. While in other constraints, 50.00 percent organic farmer reported lack of risk ability, 40.83 percent reported unavailability of government facilities. 39.58 percent faced lack of agricultural officers' services, whereas 39.17 percent are not availing proper guidance and training from any agencies or government and 30.42 percent organic farmers are facing lack of soil testing facilities.
Manures, Bio-Fertilizers and Plant Protection Constraints
Table 5 presents the manures, bio-fertilizers and plant protection constraints of sampled respondents toward organic cultivation in Himachal Pradesh. The data shows that 39.58 percent of organic farmers reported lack of knowledge about types and recommended doses for a particular crop. 36.25 percent of sample organic farmers reported slow process of organic manure preparation, 33.75 percent organic farmers reported lack of skilled labor, 29.58 percent reported that manures and bio-fertilizers are very costly and 28.75 percent reported unavailability of desired manures and bio-fertilizers and difficult method of its preparation because the supply agencies at very long distance.
For organic farming, required bio-fertilizers are not available at the reasonable price. It is very difficult for the farmer to buy bio-fertilizers at the appropriate time due to shortage of funds and high prices.
The supply chain of organic farmers in Himachal Pradesh is underdeveloped. Accessing the market is extremely difficult in some regions, especially tribal areas of the State despite their high organic farming potential.
There is a lack of direct linkages among producers and retailers. Shifting from inorganic to organic farming causes risk of loss in production due to pulling out of the chemical inputs. Increasing cost of production is another arising problem because of increase in various input prices.
Risk Perception of the Organic Farming
Uncertainty and risk of organic farming is also a fear factor for the farmers. Risk in agriculture is an uncertain event or probability. There is threat of damaging the crop production due to climate, weather conditions such as drought, excessive rainfall during harvesting or planting season. Whereas risk perception refers to farmer's subjective judgments about the likelihood of negative incidences such as decline in agricultural productivity, crop failure, low prices, spoilage etc. the following table-6 explains risk perception of the organic farming in Himachal Pradesh. It may be seen from the table that 65 per cent organic farmers were of the opinion that in the initial stages there is a possibility of decline in productivity and 86 percent observed saying that there is more use of labor in organic farming as compare to in-organic farming. 94 percent were of the opinion that there are few buyers of organic products due to high prices. The present table also explains other risk factors such as high spoilage, chronic ailments, unaffordable economies, genetic problems etc.
Support Available to the Organic Farmers
Table 7 present supports available to the organic farmers in Himachal Pradesh from various agencies. It may be seen from the table that financial support provided by financial institutions and subsidy provided by agricultural department were excellent as reported by the respondents'. On farm demonstration by some of the non-governmental organizations are good but marketing management and marketing intelligence are poor as reported by the respondents. In the following Table, rating of interaction is given as excellent to 80 and above percent response, Very Good to 60 and above percent response, Good to 40 and above percent response, Poor to 20 and above percent response and Disheartening to 0-20 percent response of the organic farming.
Programmes and Policies for the Promotion of Organic Farming in Himachal Pradesh
Government of Himachal Pradesh has introduced a new scheme namely Zero Budget Natural Farming/Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kissan in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The main motive of this scheme is to reduce the cost of cultivation and enhance farm income. Other objectives are (a) to discourage use of fertilizers and pesticides, (b) to reduce environment pollution, (c) to reduce the cost of cultivation and make farming a sustainable and viable lively hood option and create awareness among farmers and society. Prakritik Kheti Khushal Kissan covers all programmes and activities viz., promotion of organic farming under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, Pramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojan (PKVY) etc. The state government is promoting organic farming by providing training, laying out demonstrations and organizing seminars for the farmers. For the benefit of growers and consumers, the government has decided to exempt levy of market fees on all vegetables and fruits mainly mango, peach, pomegranate, kinnow etc. Government has also enhanced the subsidy on anti-hail nets up to 80 percent to promote food crops especially apple from hail storms. To provide services in interior and far-flung areas, the Government has provided soil health card for farmers and established mobile soil testing laboratories. The State government is also providing 50 percent assistance to the farmers for setting up vermin compost units to promote organic farming. Kisan credit card scheme is very successful in the State. More than 1,614 bank branches have implemented this scheme.
Rastriya Krishi Bima Yojana was introduced in 1999-2000 providing comprehensive risks insurance against yield losses viz, floods drought, hail storm, pest and disease etc. Agriculture/Horticulture produce Marketing Act 2005 has been passed for the welfare of the farmers. National Food Security Mission (NFSM) has been launched in the state with the objectives of increase in the production of rice and wheat through area expansion and productivity.
The Department of Agriculture has setup 21 Seed Multiplication Farms (SMF), 3 Vegetable Development Station (VDS), 13 Potato Development Station (PDS) and 1 Ginger Development Station (GDS) in the State. These Govt. Farms are for multiplication of Breeder seed received from ICAR/ State Agriculture Universities into Foundation Seed. As per the policy, the Breeder seed has to be multiplied in the Govt. Farms under strict supervision of Agriculture Experts. The Foundation Seed produced in the Farms is given to the Registered Seed Growers for multiplication, which is further procured by the State department in order to meet the requirement of seed in the State.
Conclusion and Suggestions
The major production constraints in case of organic farming in the State are lack of knowledge, inadequate supply of organic seeds, manure and other inputs such as; lack of storage facility, non-availability of skilled labor especially during the time of sowing and harvesting times. Farmers need financial help from banks and other financial institutions but due to complicated procedures they are not able to avail these facilities. Although government of Himachal Pradesh has taken up various measures to overcome these constraints, but more emphasis should be given to improve roads, transportation, provide cheap credit facilities, adequate organic seeds, manures and other organic inputs. Awareness about the organic farming, training programme and managed marketing facilities can improve the condition of organic farmers in the study area.
It has been observed that majority of population in the rural areas predominantly depends on agriculture and allied sector due to lack of alternative employment opportunities. The farmers are still using traditional cropping pattern on their small and fragmented farms in the study area. The productivity of organic farming can be low as compared to inorganic farming but since population is increasing rapidly, we need more area under organic farming.
Department of Agriculture Himachal Pradesh, (2018): Government of Himachal Pradesh, Shimla.
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Government of Himachal Pradesh, (2017): Economic Survey 2016-17, Department of Economics and Statistics, Shimla.
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Table--1: Number of Operational Holding under Sampled Organic Farmers in Himachal Pradesh (in hectare/ percentage) S. Districts Marginal Small Semi- Medium Large No. medium 1. Bilaspur 37 5 2 3 1 (77.08) (10.42) (4.17) (6.25) (2.08) 2 Chamba 32 12 2 2 0 (66.67) (25.00) (4.17) (4.17) (0.00) 3 Hamirpur 30 11 3 4 0 (62.50) (22.92) (6.25) (8.33) (0.00) 4 Kangra 28 12 4 4 0 (58.33) (25.00) (8.33) (8.33) (0.00) 5 Kullu 36 6 5 1 0 (75.00) (12.50) (10.42) (2.08) (0.00) 6 Mandi 34 8 3 2 1 (70.83) (16.67) (6.25) (4.17) (2.08) 7 Shimla 26 13 4 5 0 (54.17) (27.08) (8.33) (10.42) (0.00) 8 Sirmaur 36 7 3 2 0 (75.00) (14.58) (6.25) (4.17) (0.00) 9 Solan 34 8 2 3 1 (70.83) (16.67) (4.17) (6.25) (2.08) 10 Una 35 7 5 1 0 (72.92) (14.58) (10.42) (2.08) (0.00) Overall 328 89 33 27 3 (68.33) (18.54) (6.88) (5.63) (0.63) Note: Figures in parentheses denotes percentages of the total Source: Own FieldSurvey Table--2: Distribution of Area under Sampled Organic Farmers in Himachal Pradesh (in hectare) Sr. Districts Marginal Small Semi- Medium Large No. medium 1. Bilaspur 24.6 11.5 8.5 13.0 12.0 (35.34) (16.52) (12.21) (18.68) (17.24) 2 Chamba 23.0 14.0 5.5 11.3 0.0 (42.75) (26.02) (10.22) (21.00) (0.00) 3 Hamirpur 22.0 17.5 10.0 18.0 0.0 (32.59) (25.93) (14.81) (26.67) (0.00) 4 Kangra 25.0 15.0 11.0 16.0 0.0 (37.31) (22.39) (16.42) (23.88) (0.00) 5 Kullu 20.0 7.0 15.0 6.5 0.0 (41.24) (14.43) (30.93) (13.40) (0.00) 6 Mandi 23.5 12.0 9.0 11.3 15.0 (33.17) (16.96) (12.72) (15.97) (21.19) 7 Shimla 24.0 20.0 12.0 20.0 0.0 (31.58) (26.32) (15.79) (26.32) (0.00) 8 Sirmaur 24.0 12.2 14.0 8.3 0.0 (41.03) (20.85) (23.85) (14.19) (0.00) 9 Solan 23.5 13.4 12.0 12.3 10.2 (32.91) (18.72) (16.82) (17.24) (14.30) 10 Una 22.0 8.0 16.0 8.0 0.0 (40.74) (14.81) (29.63) (14.81) (0.00) Total HP 232 131 113 125 37 (36.35) (20.50) (17.74) (19.58) (5.84) Note: Figures in parentheses denotes percentages of the total Source: Own Field Survey Table--3: Production Constraints of Organic Farming in Himachal Pradesh Sr. Strongly No. Constraints Agree Agree Unsure Disagree (%) (%) (%) (%) 1. Predominance of the inorganic farmers in the region 44.17 17.50 21.67 16.25 2. Organic farming is a slow process 32.92 33.75 8.33 23.75 3. Lack of knowledge 30.83 51.67 10.00 4.58 4. Lack of manure/organic fertilizers 25.83 27.50 8.75 34.17 5. Lack of input materials in the time of cultivation 21.25 30.42 11.25 33.33 6. Lack of improved seed 37.08 47.92 1.25 13.75 7 Costly Seed 47.08 47.08 0.83 5.00 8. Lack of knowledge about seed variety and rate of seed etc. 25.42 31.67 4.17 36.67 9. Lack of proper irrigation 56.67 43.33 0.00 0.00 10. Shortage and high cost of labour 30.00 52.92 0.83 15.83 11. Lack of labour during inter-culture operations 32.50 45.42 13.75 5.00 12. Lack of labour during sowing time 24.58 52.92 7.92 10.42 13. Lack of labour during picking and harvesting time 26.25 50.83 5.83 12.50 Sr. No. Strongly disagree(%) Mean 1. 0.42 3.89 2. 1.25 3.73 3. 2.92 4.03 4. 3.75 3.38 5. 3.75 3.32 6. 0.00 4.08 7 0.00 4.36 8. 2.08 3.42 9. 0.00 4.57 10. 0.42 3.96 11. 3.33 3.99 12. 4.17 3.83 13. 4.58 3.82 Source: Own field survey Table--4: Marketing and other Major Constraints of Organic Farming in Himachal Pradesh S. Strongly No. Constraints Agree Agree Unsure (%) (%) (%) Marketing constraints: a. Lack of agencies to purchase organic products 59.17 40.83 0.00 b. Dependence on middlemen for disposal 56.25 42.92 0.83 c. Purchase agencies at far- flung places 62.50 27.08 2.92 d. High transportation cost 54.17 44.17 0.42 e. Lack of marketing information 69.58 30.42 0.00 f. Lack of storage facilities 64.17 26.67 7.50 g. Lack of proper grading and packaging facilities 26.25 53.33 2.08 h. Prices are not very remunerative 82.92 16.67 0.42 Other constraints: a. Lack of proper guidance and training 39.17 12.08 7.08 b. Lack of agriculture officers 39.58 27.92 5.83 c. Lack of Government facilities 40.83 32.08 10.83 d. Unavailability of loan 27.08 22.08 19.58 facilities e. Lack of risk ability 50.00 23.33 2.08 f. Lack of testing facilities (soil, products etc.) 30.42 31.25 12.08 S. Strongly No. Constraints Disagree disagree (%) (%) Mean Marketing constraints: a. Lack of agencies to purchase organic products 0.00 0.00 4.59 b. Dependence on middlemen for disposal 0.00 0.00 4.55 c. Purchase agencies at far- flung places 7.50 0.00 4.45 d. High transportation cost 1.25 0.00 4.51 e. Lack of marketing information 0.00 0.00 4.70 f. Lack of storage facilities 1.67 0.00 4.53 g. Lack of proper grading and packaging facilities 18.33 0.00 3.88 h. Prices are not very remunerative 0.00 0.00 4.83 Other constraints: a. Lack of proper guidance and training 39.17 2.50 3.46 b. Lack of agriculture officers 26.67 0.00 3.80 c. Lack of Government facilities 16.25 0.00 3.98 d. Unavailability of loan 31.25 0.00 3.45 facilities e. Lack of risk ability 24.58 0.00 3.99 f. Lack of testing facilities (soil, products etc.) 25.00 1.25 3.65 Source: Own field survey Table--5: Manures, Bio-Fertilizers and Plant Protection Constraints of Organic Farming S. No. Items Strongly Agree Unsure Agree (%) (%) (%) 1. Lack of desired manures and bio-fertilizers and difficult method of its preparation 28.75 46.67 6.25 2. Manures and bio-fertilizers are very costly 29.58 40.83 7.92 3. Slow process of organic manure preparation 36.25 40.00 19.58 4. Lack of knowledge about types and recommended doses for a particular crop 39.58 47.50 0.00 5. Supply agencies at very long distance 28.75 26.25 10.00 6. Lack of bio-pesticides 22.50 37.50 7.92 7. Lack of knowledge for preparation of bio- insecticides and pesticides 27.92 26.25 4.17 8. Non availability of supply centre in the State 26.25 10.83 7.50 9. Lack of skilled labour 33.75 50.00 12.92 S. Strongly No. Disagree disagree (%) (%) Mean 1. 18.33 0.00 3.86 2. 21.67 0.00 3.78 3. 2.08 2.08 4.06 4. 6.25 6.67 4.07 5. 32.08 2.92 3.46 6. 22.92 9.17 3.41 7. 39.58 2.08 3.38 8. 52.50 2.92 3.05 9. 0.83 2.50 4.12 Source: Own field survey Table--6: Risk perception of the Organic Farmers in Himachal Pradesh (in percentage) Sr. Organic farming No. Risk areas Risk factors Yes No a. Decline in 65.00 35.00 1. Crop productivity b. Crop failure 22.00 78.00 Production c. Higher labor use 86.00 14.00 d. Unfavorable 92.00 08.00 economics 2. Marketing a. Few buyers 94.00 06.00 b. Low prices 48.00 52.00 c. Higher spoilage 28.00 72.00 3. Human Health a. Accidental poisoning 15.00 85.00 b. Genetic problems 04.00 96.00 and mutations c. Chronic ailments 02.00 98.00 Sr. In-Organic No. Risk areas Risk factors farming Yes No a. Decline in 53.00 47.00 1. Crop productivity b. Crop failure 49.00 51.00 Production c. Higher labor use 29.00 71.00 d. Unfavorable 52.00 48.00 economics 2. Marketing a. Few buyers 14.00 86.00 b. Low prices 81.00 19.00 c. Higher spoilage 38.00 62.00 3. Human Health a. Accidental poisoning 56.00 44.00 b. Genetic problems 33.00 67.00 and mutations c. Chronic ailments 22.00 78.00 Source: own field survey Table--7: Support Available to the Organic Farmers in Himachal Pradesh from Various Agencies Sr. Agency Type of Support Rating of No Interaction 1 Agricultural Technical support/advice Good On farm demonstration Good Department Inputs Very Good Subsidy Excellent Marketing management Disheartening Marketing intelligence Disheartening 2 Non-Governmental Technical support/advice Good Organization On farm demonstration Very good Inputs Good Marketing management Poor Marketing intelligence Poor 3 Financial Financial support Excellent institutions Technical support/advice Disheartening 4 Village support Technical support/advice Good groups Encouragement/Indifferen Good ce/ Discouragement Marketing management Poor Marketing intelligence Disheartening Sr. Agency Type of Support Response No (in percentage) 1 Agricultural Technical support/advice 48.50 On farm demonstration 49.00 Department Inputs 79.80 Subsidy 88.10 Marketing management 3.20 Marketing intelligence 3.20 2 Non-Governmental Technical support/advice 43.13 Organization On farm demonstration 71.46 Inputs 40.63 Marketing management 32.20 Marketing intelligence 21.50 3 Financial Financial support 93.50 institutions Technical support/advice 21.05 4 Village support Technical support/advice 46.25 groups Encouragement/Indifferen 46.21 ce/ Discouragement Marketing management 21.46 Marketing intelligence 6.050 Source: Own Field Survey
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|Publication:||Political Economy Journal of India|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2018|
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