Farm Growth in Northeast India and Its Effect on Poverty
Experience of growth in BRICS countries shows that one percentage growth in agriculture is two to three times more effective in poverty reduction when compared to one percentage growth emanating from non-agricultural sectors. State average of sectoral GSDP growth over 2008–09 to 2013–14 shows a recovery of 4.1% per annum as compared to 1.7% per annum during 2000–01 to 2004–05. Six out of the eight Northeastern states of India show higher than all India average performance during this period, viz. Sikkim (9.8%), Tripura (6.1%), Arunachal Pradesh (5.5%), Meghalaya (4.9%), Nagaland (4.9%) and Mizoram (4.3%). State wise analysis of various agricultural parameters and multi-dimensional poverty indicators revealed that each state has a unique relationship in terms of growth in agriculture and poverty. The hypothesis of high farm growth reduced poverty was true for Sikkim, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam and true in the reverse direction for Manipur. High growth of agriculture was non-inclusive and hence could not have impact on poverty in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Mizoram with too many population in rural areas depending on agriculture had high farm growth and but increase in rural poverty. However, the state had only 0.094 MPI value in 2011–12. Overall, states with high GSDPA growth observed reduced poverty taking other parameters into account. States with high share of Non-Farm Sector (NFS) and Animal Husbandry (AH) in monthly income of agricultural household had improving rural poverty. Improving performance of agriculture needs to be focused upon reducing poverty, both incidence and intensity of poverty. Among agricultural inputs, irrigation needs to be prioritised, as in ground water resources in northeast India are under-utilized while blessed with sufficient rainfall, which offers scope to install a battery of shallow and deep tube wells to draw ground water during the Rabi season. Further, efforts are to be made to increase production and productivity of high-value crops. Northeastern states have skill and raw materials to engage in self-employment activities, viz. weaving, pottery, cane and bamboo products, etc., and therefore, with the development of agriculture sector, NFS also to be stressed upon.
KeywordsFarm growth Poverty Source of growth Inclusion
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