Agriculture is the backbone of India as it employs millions and contributes a considerable percentage to the country’s GDP. Despite India’s dependence on agriculture, farmers have by and large suffered due to lack of modern technology and know-how of raising productivity, and proper irrigation methods. Even though both central and state governments have ignored the needs of farmers, Gujarat, under Narendra Modi, saw unprecedented growth in agriculture and improvement in the lives of farmers.
Yield of crops is a great indicator of the success of agriculture.
One can see how Gujarat fares better than the national average yield of many crops.
The figure below is a clear depiction of how agriculture transformed since Narendra Modi came to power –
Despite fall in area under cultivation of bajra, the production of bajra didn’t fall. Also, the green line that shows yield skyrocketed right around the time Narendra Modi came to power.
The above picture shows the same trend of yield of rice and wheat in Gujarat rising rapidly since 2001-02.
Oilseed production in Gujarat shows the unbelievable rise in just the 5 to 6 years despite the area under cultivation not rising by much.
Cotton production in Gujarat skyrocketed from 3.05 million bales in 2002-03 to 11.2 million bales in 2007-08 and the trend continued after as well.In 2009, Gujarat was producing 35.5% of India’s cotton from only 26% area under cultivation. Maharashtra was nowhere as efficient.
The above graph shows how production of cotton has seen incredible growth.
An overall view of the Gujarat agricultural story can be seen through the parameter of weighted yield of principal crops. Its formula is –
Weighted Yield (of a year) = Wt. of total cereal X (yield of cereal that year) +Wt. of total pulses X (yield of pulses that year) +Wt. of total oilseeds X (yield of oilseeds that year)
The rise in weighted yield took off from 2001. The weighted yield that had risen by a mere 5.5% in two decades before 2001 rose by as much as 80% in the next 16 years.
For a state who’s 70% land was considered drought-prone and was classified as arid and semi-arid, vegetables and fruits production under Narendra Modi rose by 12.8% annually.
To facilitate water supply to farmers, after becoming chief minister, Narendra Modi expeditiously constructed 113,000 check dams (each to irrigate max of 10 hectares), 56,000 bori bunds were stockpiled and 2.5 lakh farm ponds were dug.
Narendra Modi also began the Krushi Mahotsav in 2005 that involves travelling roadshow and mobile education centers to educate farmers. Farmers are advised on new farming technologies & methods to enrich land productivity. The Mahotsav is held in every village once annually.
In less than two terms, Narendra Modi completely changed the agricultural situation of Gujarat. It can safely be termed as the ‘Modi Miracle’!