Existing cropping system of small and marginal farmers in watershed project area of Gujarat
Jat, Giriraj Prasad
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Gujarat with the area of about 1.96 lakh square kilometers is the 7th largest state of India. Only 52 percent of the total geographical area of Gujarat is used for agriculture purposes. More than 23 percent of the land is wasteland. The average land holding size is continuously decreasing due to fragmentation of land natural resources has been continuously degrading over the years. It is noteworthy that about 60 percent area in Gujarat is under rain fed cultivation. GSWMA is implementing the watershed programmes in rainfed areas of Gujarat state to improve the agriculture status in these areas as well as the livelihood of people. Previously many programmes such as DDP, DDAP, and IWDP have been launched by the government in watershed project areas. New programme named IWMP is more scientific and accountable in approach. People’s participation is the main ingredient of it. However, only watershed development does not nsure more farm income or more earnings for livelihood. Several other factors may responsible for it. This study was done to find out the effect of varios factors on cropping of small and marginal farmers in rainfed areas. Three variables named production, market and vulnerability were identified and analysis was done on the basis of their indicators. Two regions of Gujarat named South region and Saurashtra region were selected. Three districts in each region were selected and in each district three different watershed project areas were selected in three different taluka. Samples were collected using multistage random sampling. The variables analysis revealed the real situation of cropping system. Crop fsilure is the main problem in these areas due to frequent drought and adverse soil conditions. Farmers do not get adequate and timely credit and they face undue delays in dispensation of credit due to awareness. Most of the farmers are not getting benefits of innovation made at research stations/ agricultural Universities due to lack of information and proper extension services. There is lack of information about prices in nearby market yards and connectivity is also poor. There is a huge difference in the retail price and farm gate price and the same should be plugged through appropriate market information and channel. There is a scope of improving cropping conditions using proper information dissemination system. Watershed cluster office can be used as a resource center. This resource center would act as an information hub which will provide vital information such as market (backward and forward), weather government schemes, credit information, and complete package of practice of crops at cluster level. Human resource requirement will be fulfilled through watershed development team (WDT) which is comprised of agriculture expert, community mobilizer, system analyst and an engineer. This resource center would provide effective and timely solutions using ICT as dissemination system.