FARMERS’ PERCEPTION ON AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN TELANGANA STATE: SOME REFLECTIONS FROM VILLAGE SURVEY
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Keywords:Agricultural sector, Rural households, Agricultural development
Farmers in Telangana state expected big changes in agricultural sector after formation of separate state in 2014. Accordingly, government of Telangana initiated series of steps such as Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bheema, free power for agriculture, etc. This paper made an attempt to assess the farmers perception with respect to change in various indicators of agricultural development after 2014. For this study two largely irrigated districts (progressive districts) and another two primarily rainfed districts (backward districts) were selected for conducting Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) in 40 villages (20 from irrigated districts and 20 from rainfed districts). Data from FGDs were analyzed using various statistical measures of central tendency to understand the changes in key indicators between 2014 and 2021. Results indicated that net area sown and gross area sown has increased by 9.57 and 34.76 per cent at state level between 2014 and 2021. Cropping intensity has also increased by 21 per cent between 2014 to 2021 in the state, implying that an additional 21 per cent of net area was sown more than once in a year primarily due to stabilization of irrigated area under village tanks. Similar findings were also reported during the FGDs in the sample villages. It is also reported that number of agricultural labors declined between two periods primarily due to growing mechanization and also non-farm employment opportunities. Farmers also expressed that the cost of key farm inputs such as fertilizer, farm machinery and labor has been significantly increased by about 60 to 120 per cent, while the increase in output prices was around 70 per cent between 2014 and 2021. The farm level yields were merely stagnant between 2014 and 2021. These farm level trends indicated that there are no major changes in real profitability of major crops.