Vol. 8, Special Issue 5 (2019)
Livelihood opportunities through agriculture and allied field in the mid-hills of Uttarakhand
Author(s): Kiran Rana, VLV Kameswari, Shweta Chaudhary and Dhirendra Kumar
Abstract: Uttarakhand, where the study will be carried out is a state with diverse agro-climatic features. In Uttarakhand more than 75 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood and farmers mainly practice subsistence farming. Farming in the state is characterized by mixed cropping and a mere merely 10 per cent of the agricultural land in the state has irrigation facility. Another feature typical of hill farming is the small and scattered land holdings. Out of the total cultivated area, about 50 per cent of landholdings (in number) are sub marginal, and 21 per cent of landholdings measure between 0.5–1 hectares. Major crops grown in the Uttarakhand hills are rice, wheat, maize, plum, peach, pear, mango, potato, tomato, green pea, cauliflower, capsicum, etc. Farmers or primary producers in the state face many challenges, of both technical and economic nature. More than 80 per cent of working population of the state is engaged in agriculture whereas only 25 per cent of the total area of Uttarakhand is under agriculture. The biggest challenges to agriculture sector in the state are small and fragmented land holdings and poor irrigation facilities. Difficult terrain, unfavorable climatic conditions for some crops, inadequate availability of inputs and technology has resulted in low agricultural yield when compared to the national average. Vegetable cultivation is one of the important components of agriculture sector of Uttarakhand. It provides the much needed opportunity for diversification in agriculture, especially in view of unusual topography and agro-climatic conditions of the state, where the scope for production of conventional field crops is confined to two plain districts; i.e; Haridwar and U.S. Nagar. Out of thirteen districts of the state, Nainital has been selected for the present study. The district has a highly varied topography i.e. hilly as well as plain areas therefore district has mixed population, and natural conditions and resources are different in all the eight blocks of the district. According to the 2011 census, 61.06 % of the population is in rural areas and the district has a population density of 225 inhabitants per square Kilometer indicating a dispersed habitation. Four villages (Syalikhet, Suryatala, Bhalyuti and Dogara) from Bhimtal block will be selected for the study. The bench mark survey revealed that about 20% of the households belong to Scheduled Caste community and 88% of the household have marginal land holdings. There are no large and medium land holders in the village. All the households in the village have agriculture land but a substantial number also depended on poultry for supplementary income. Overall low productivity, shortage of inputs and lack of marketing have confined production to self-consumption. Agriculture technology mission schemes have been launched in these districts to increase productivity, but their impact has not reached the farms. The present paper aims to discuss the agricultural practices including cropping season, cropping pattern, land use, production of crops and ecological aspect of agricultural system in this Uttarakhand state and suggest some measures for developing farming system, which could lead the sustainability, in terms of meeting the food grain needs of the people on the one hand and restoring the ecological balance on the other. Agriculture production as well as ensuring food security for all is an important challenge for the world community. This study shows a contribution of increased agriculture productivity to achieve food security.
How to cite this article:
Kiran Rana, VLV Kameswari, Shweta Chaudhary and Dhirendra Kumar. Livelihood opportunities through agriculture and allied field in the mid-hills of Uttarakhand. 2019; 8(5S): 81-86.