Agriculture of West Bengal
- West Bengal is located between 21⁰31’ & 27⁰14’ North Latitude and 85⁰91’ & 89⁰53’ East Longitude.
- The tropic of Cancer passes through the middle of the state covering the district in the East, Nadia and Bardwan and in the West Bankura and Purulia.
- The state has occupied a geographical area of about 88,75,200 hectares sharing 2.7% land of the country but producing more than 8% of country’s food production and provideing space 7.6% of the country’s population.
- Total cultivable area of this state is about 56 lakh hectares which is 63% of it’s geographical area and having 62% irrigation area of Net cropped area.
- Gross cropped area is 94,58,675 hectares with cropping intensity (2012-13) of 182%.
- The agriculture economy is greatly depended on monsoon and flood, land erosion, drought and other natural calamities often affect production in agriculture.
- At present West Bengal ranks first in production of Rice, Jute and Vegetables.
- Our position is second in Potato Production.
- The Production of different crops under food grains in the state has recorded significant growth, which is recognized by GOI through awarding “KRISHI KARMAN” 3 times in a row during 2011-12, 2012-13 & 2013-14.
- West Bengal is predominantly an agrarian State.
- Comprising of only 2.7% of India’s geographical area, it supports nearly 8% of its population.
- There are 71.23 lakh farm families of whom 96% are small and marginal farmers. The average size of land holding is only 0.77 ha.
- However, the State is bestowed with diverse natural resources and varied agro-climatic conditions which support cultivation of a wide range of crops.
- West Bengal ranks first in paddy and vegetable production in the country.
- It stands second in potato production (after Uttar Pradesh).
- It is also the leading producer of jute, pineapple, litchi, mango and loose flowers.
- Cultivation of pulses, oilseeds and maize is also picking up fast.
- The net cropped area is 52.05 lakh ha which comprises 68% of the geographical area and 92% of arable land.
- The cropping intensity is 184%.
- However, as the State is located in the humid tropic and the Bay of Bengal is close-by, it has to often face vagaries of nature like flood, cyclone, hailstorm etc.
- Though the State is has a surplus production of rice, vegetables and potato a huge gap exists between the requirement and production of pulses, oilseeds and maize.
- Deterioration of soil health due to imbalance in the use of chemical fertilizers, paucity of suitable improved varieties of seed, inadequate farm mechanization, unorganized marketing structure etc. are major challenges to agricultural growth.
The Vision of Development of Agriculture of West Bengal:
- In spite of the above challenges, Agriculture has been the way of life and continues to be the single most important livelihood of the rural masses in West Bengal.
- So, the Agriculture Department, Government of West Bengal is working in a mission mode for development of Agriculture and Allied sector in a holistic manner with the vision of “Doubling farmers’ income by 2020 by ensuring farmers’ access to Skills, Technologies, Markets and Financial inclusion”.
- The State Agricultural Plan for the XII FYP embodies the following objectives to fulfill this vision:
- to ensure Quantifiable improvement in Production & Productivity,
- to Reduce yield gap with focused interventions,
- to maximize returns to the farmers from Agriculture & Allied sector,
- to Augment Marketing interventions and export promotion,
- to Promote Competitiveness in Agriculture and Allied Sector and
- to meet the challenges of Climate change and evolve mechanisms for effective drought and flood management.
Support Needed for Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in West Bengal:
- Review the present state agricultural policies and subsidies, especially those that act as barrier to development of sustainable agriculture
- Favourable policy support – to integrate sustainable agriculture as state mission with explicit policy and strategic plan for extension, adequate funding support and set goals
- Create an innovation Centre of Excellence in West Bengal to promote sustainable agriculture development, particularly in Eastern India. The centre may be setup in strategic collaboration with state government, national and international institutions, universities involving experts and farmers for research and innovation, PG studies, training, extension, knowledge repository and advocacy
- Support innovation, capacity building and information to farmers
- Ensure availability of organic inputs: seeds, bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides etc.
- Ensure availability of farm advisory services and innovative institutional and funding support for organic certification, labeling and inspection
- Provide market support
- Support and create consumer awareness
- Integrate and promote the efforts of NGOs, private organizations and entrepreneurs.
Crop Colander for NFSM Crop
|Blackgram/Urd||Early Kharif||March (Beg)||June (Beg)||Sowing|
|Early Kharif||March (Beg)||March (Beg)||Sowing|
|Early Kharif||March (Beg)||March (Beg)||Sowing|
|Gram||Rabi||November (Mid)||December (Beg)||Sowing|
|Rabi||March (Beg)||March (End)||Harvesting|
|Summer||March (Beg)||July (Beg)||Sowing|
|Greengram||Kharif||July (Beg)||August (End)||Sowing|
|Kharif||October (Beg)||November (End)||Harvesting|
|Summer||February (Beg)||March (End)||Sowing|
|Summer||April (Beg)||May (End)||Harvesting|
|Masur/Lentil||Rabi||February (Beg)||April (Beg)||Sowing|
|Rabi||February (Beg)||April (Beg)||Sowing|
|Rabi||November (Beg)||November (End)||Sowing|
|Rabi||February (Beg)||May (Beg)||Sowing|
|Rabi||February (Beg)||March (End)||Harvesting|
|Summer||June (Beg)||April (Beg)||Sowing|
|Pulses||Summer||May (Beg)||July (Beg)||Sowing|
|Summer||May (Beg)||July (Beg)||Sowing|
|Redgram/Arhar||Kharif||June (Beg)||June (End)||Sowing|
|Kharif||February (Beg)||March (End)||Harvesting|
|Rice/Paddy||Kharif||June (Beg)||September (Beg)||Sowing|
|Kharif||June (Beg)||August (End)||Sowing|
|Kharif||July (Beg)||August (Mid)||Sowing|
|Kharif||June (Beg)||August (Mid)||Sowing|
|Kharif||July (Beg)||August (Mid)||Sowing|
|Kharif||November (Beg)||January (End)||Harvesting|
|Rabi||January (Beg)||February (End)||Sowing|
Different type of Crops of Agriculture of West Bengal
- Cultivation of rice requires hot and moist climate.
- It is a Kharief crop and is sown in March-April and harvested in Autumn.
- Sufficient water must cover the fields.
- Temperature: Rice requires hot and humid conditions. The temperature should be fairly high i.e. 24°C mean monthly temperature with average temperature of 22°C to 32°C.
- Rainfall: Rainfall ranging between 150-300 cm is suitable for its growth in areas of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh where rainfall is less than 100 cm, rice is cultivated with the help of irrigation.
- Soil: Rice is grown in varied soil conditions but deep clayey and loamy soil provides the ideal conditions. Rice is primarily grown in plain areas.
- It is a rabi crop and its plant requires a cool and somewhat moist climate in the beginning and warm and dry weather at the harvest time.
- The average rainfall should be between 50 to 70 cms. and that too at intervals.
- It is sown in August and harvested in March, April.
- It includes a number of crops which are mostly leguminous and provide invaluable proteins to the vegetarian population of India.
- As they have fewer sources of proteins in comparision to those who consume meat and fish.
- They also serve as excellent forage and grain concentrates in the cattle feed.
- Apart from that these leguminous crops have the capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil and are normally rotated with other crops to maintain and restore soil fertility.
- A large variety of pulses are found in India.
- These are gram, tur or arhar (Pigeon Pea or Red Gram), urd (black gram), mung (green gram), masur (lentil), kulthi (horse gram), matar (peas) etc. But among these above mentioned varieties only gram and tur or arhar are more important pulses.
- Gram: It is the most important of all the pulses. It accounts for about 37% of the production and about 30% of the total area of pulses in India. It is a rabi crop which is sown between September and November and is harvested between February and April. It is either cultivated as a single crop or mixed with wheat, barley, linseed or mustard. Some of the geographical conditions are as follows:
- Temperature: It is grown in a wide range of climatic condition. Mild cool and comparatively dry climate with 20°C-25°C temperature.
- Rainfall: 40-45 cm rainfall is favourable for gram cultivation.
- Soil: It grows well on loamy soils.
It requires a warm and moist climate and a rich soil containing lime.
- Rape Seed, Mustard, linseed, sesamum, toria, cottonseed are the chief varieties of oil-seeds.
- They require hot and moist climate.
Salient Features of Indian as well as Agriculture of West Bengal
- Subsistence Agriculture of West Bengal: Most parts of India have subsistence agriculture. This type of agriculture has been practised in India for several hundreds of years and still prevails in a larger part of India in spite of the large scale change in agricultural practices after independence.
- Pressure of population on Agriculture of West Bengal: Despite increase in urbanization and industrialization, about 70% of population is still directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture.
- Mechanization of farming of Agriculture of West Bengal: Green Revolution took place in India in the late sixties and early seventies. After more than forty years of Green Revolution and revolution in agricultural machinery and equipments, complete mechanization is still a distant dream
- Dependence upon monsoon of Agriculture of West Bengal: Since independence, there has been a rapid expansion of irrigation infrastructure. Despite the large scale expansion, only about one third of total cropped area is irrigated today. As a consequence, two third of cropped areas is still dependent upon monsoon. Monsoon in India is uncertain and unreliable. This has become even more unreliable due to change in climate.
- Variety of crops of Agriculture of West Bengal: India has diversity of topography, climate and soil. Since India has both tropical and temperate climate, crops of both the climate are found in India. There are very few countries in the world that have variety comparable to that of India..
- Predominance of food crops of Agriculture of West Bengal: Since Indian agriculture has to feed a large population, production of food crops is the first priority of the farmers almost everywhere in the country. However, in recent years, there has been a decline in the share of land used for food crops due to various other commercially most advantageous uses of this land.
- Seasonal patterns of Agriculture of West Bengal: India has three distinct agricultural/cropping seasons. You might have heard about kharif, rabi and zaid. In India there are specific crops grown in these three seasons. For example rice is a kharif crop whereas wheat is a rabi crop.
Challenges are faced by farmers
Farmers of our country are facing lot of problems regarding agricultural production of crop. Few of them are shortlisted below:
- Uncertain weather
- Uneven water availability
- Lesser yield
- Low quality crops
- Lack of soil nutrients
- Buyer’s monopoly
- Less cash in hand
- Less scientific guidance during agricultural
- Less information regarding selection of crop seed
- Inadequate information of plant root moisture holding capacity
- Less information of scientific irrigation process for maximum yield
- Less aware of the market and growing technology