Surprisingly, borrowing habit and market access of the farmers seem very discouraging, average holding size has decreased but farmers household has increased and migration of male for employment has forced more female in agriculture in last one decade.
"Over half of the agriculture households do not need loan," according to the Agriculture Census 2011-12 published here today. "Some 58 per cent of the agriculture households – holdings – do not need loan, and only 42 per cent needed loan."
Their priority also seems livestock and poultry as 46 per cent holdings need loan for livestock and poultry, whereas 24 per cent for fertilizer and seeds, and 17 per cent for irrigation. Surprisingly, the census revealed that only five per cent needed loan for agriculture machinery.
The study also revealed that the number of farming households have increased to 3.831 million as some 467,000 new members were added within a decade. The farm sector employs 20.55 million people – some 77.57 per cent – of the total population of 26.49 million.
But number of holdings with agriculture has also decreased to 21.82 per cent in 2011-11 from 10 year's ago's 23.82 per cent in 2001-02. But the average holding size has decreased to 0.68 hacter from 0.80 hacter in 2001-02 and 0.96 hacter in 1991-92, which means the fragmentation of land has made the farming less competitive and increased food insufficiency. "Some 60 per cent of the holdings have food insufficiency through their own production, whereas only 40 per cent have food sufficiency meaning they can live on their production for a year."
The survey – that is taken every 10 years – also has revealed that the number of females in active agricultural activities have doubled in last one decade – also may be due to their spouses migration in search for greener pasture – to 19 per cent from a decade ago's 8.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, only one fifth of the farmers have easy market access. "Some 21 per cent of the farmers have market at the distance of 10 minutes to 30 minutes, whereas same percentage of the farmers have market access at 30 minutes to one hour distance, and 25 per cent have market at a distance of one to two hours. "Some 13 per cent of the farmers have market at a distance of more than three hours."The report will be an eye opener for the government and policy maker as it has revealed more hurdles in commercialisation of agriculture due to fragmentation of land, low financing and market access.