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Economics of Homestead and Orchard in India

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Item Code: HAG072
Author: N.K. Dey
Publisher: Mittal Publications, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 1993
ISBN: 8170995108
Pages: 323
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 430 gm
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Book Description

Since the planned economic development, the economy of Assam, which is predominantly agricultural in nature, continues to be characterised by the existence of large number of subsistence farmers, for whom cultivation alone in regular fields cannot provide adequate sustenance. In addition, monocropping being the usual practice, such regular field cultivations are seasonal in character, which give rise to the problem of underemployment. On account of the basic structural differences and a host of other deterrent factors, including sociological, these subsistence farmers do not find it possible to supplement their farm income substantially from non-farming sources like industrial employment and non- agricultural wage earning etc. by migrating to urban centres. Therefore, these farmers are practically left with no alternative. But to make a more intensive utilization of their homestead (inclusive of orchard) for supplementing their family income from regular field cultivation, which is called agriculture (proper). There are concrete reasons for this. Besides providing substantial income, activities connected with homestead (and orchard) like raising of vegetables, spices, fruits and nuts, rearing of livestock and poultry, weaving etc. open out additional avenues for utilising manpower surplus in agriculture (proper). The same assets including implements which are primarily used in regular field cultivation may be utilised in different homestead enterprises. This prevents the farmers from incurring any additional expenditure on assets including implements connected with the utilization of their homestead (and orchard).

The growing prices of milk and milk-products, eggs, meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts etc. have encouraged even the non- cultivating households to devote special attention for better utilisation of their homestead (including orchard). The practice of raising a number of vegetables in kitchen garden and rearing of milch cows, ducks and hens is not uncommon even in urban areas where the size of homestead is extremely small. Thus, it becomes apparent that although the complementarity between farming and homestead (and orchard) is much higher, the contribution of the latter to the family income of the households pursuing non-farming occupations is not totally negligible.

However, the available data relating to the output of different enterprises performed on homestead and orchard land are not only inadequate but also fragmentary. To cite a few examples, data on area under fruits are mostly arrived at on the number of plants supplied by various departments every year. Even the Assam Agricultural Commission of 1975, pointed out to these problems of inadequacy and inaccuracy of data while recommending policies for the development of horticulture in the State. Further, the official estimates of different livestock and poultry products are based upon their average yield and population which is made available by applying the geometric growth rate observed between two livestock/poultry censuses. Obviously such estimates are not free from limitations. The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) has also questioned the reliability of data relating to the output of different household enterprises performed in homestead and orchard land.

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