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Agriculture in Odisha continues to be characterized by low productivity due to traditional agricultural practices, inadequate capital formation and low investment, inadequate irrigation facilities, low water use efficiency, uneconomic size of holding, etc. The agricultural development plan in today’s context has to be holistic, well-defined and focused towards overall well-being of the farming community. The Government, therefore, have decided to go for a New Agriculture Policy which is futuristic, flexible enough to anticipate and address emerging trends, identify potential areas for development and chalk out a clear agenda for agricultural development for at least next 10 years. The main objectives of this Policy are as follows:
Seed is one of the most important inputs that plays a key role in boosting agricultural productivity. Keeping the other inputs of production constant, the quality seeds alone can increase the production to the extent of above 20%.
According to many agricultural scientists, one of the main reasons for the low productivity of many food crops in Odisha is the poor Seed Replacement Rate (SRR). The SRR refers to the percentage of area of crop in which improved / certified seeds are used in a given crop season. The present Seed Replacement Rate in Odisha is about 10% in paddy, the most important crop in the State. The Seed Replacement Rate in paddy will be enhanced to 25% by the end of Eleventh Five Year Plan. To achieve SRR of 25%, 6.00 lakh quintals of certified seeds will be produced in the State by the end of the Eleventh Five Year Plan. In order to achieve the above, Seed Village Scheme will be intensified. The Seed Village Scheme is a viable model of participative production of quality seeds with the involvement of farmers. This makes it possible for production of seed at reasonable costs and ensures timely availability of quality seeds to farmers. Seed Village Programme will be implemented in all the blocks of the State. Special emphasis will be given for production of vegetable seeds, oil seeds and pulses seeds. Suitable production incentive and distribution subsidy will be provided for production and distribution of quality seeds.
In order to achieve required SRR, Seed Processing Plants along with godowns of adequate capacity will be established in each district. Five existing Processing Plants will be provided with dehumidified chamber for storage of seeds of groundnut, vegetable, etc. Adequate number of Mobile Seed Processing Plants will be procured to provide processing facility to seed villages. Odisha State Seed Corporation will be strengthened / restructured.
Presently, there are three Seed Testing Laboratories in the State. More number of Seed Testing Laboratories will be set up. Odisha State Seed Certification Agency (OSSCA) will be strengthened. Presently, OSSCA has 8 offices of Seed Certification Officers. Five more Offices of Seed Certification Officers will be established so that there is one Office of Seed Certification Officer in each undivided district of the State. The new Seed Certification Offices will also have Seed Testing Laboratories.
In order to facilitate easy availability of seeds to the farmers, seed sale centres will be opened in each Gram Panchayat through a network of private seed dealers.
Irrigation plays a significant role in increasing the yield from the land. Non-availability of timely are adequate water for irrigation is now becoming a serious constraint in achieving higher productivity and stability of farming. Therefore, assured irrigation is the need of the hour. Though, the total rainfall in our State is satisfactory, its distribution over time and space is highly uneven. So, rain water harvesting and improving the efficiency of water use are important. It has been assessed that even 10% increase in the present level of water use efficiency in irrigation project may help to provide life saving irrigation to crops in
large areas. The concept of maximizing yield and income per unit of water would be used in all crop production programmes. Water Users’ Associations are being encouraged to maximize the benefit from the available water.
To increase agricultural production, it is necessary that chemical fertilizers as well as organic manure are used adequately and in a balanced manner. Presently, fertilizer consumption in the State is 53 kg/ha only as compared to the national average of more than 100 kg/ha. Hence, there is adequate scope for increasing fertilizer consumption in the State. While suitable measures will be taken to increase fertilizer consumption in the State, emphasis would be laid on ‘balanced fertilization’. Balanced fertilization is defined as an accurate fertilizer application equal to the plant need and soil nutrient content. To achieve balanced nutrition for sustainable crop production, Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) is very important. The goal of INM is to integrate the use of all natural and man-made sources of plant nutrients required for high agricultural productivity besides ensuring the health of the soil. State will endeavour to promote INM practices in a big way through suitable programmes and incentives.
The effect of prolonged and over usage of chemicals on soil results in soil health deterioration, human health hazards and pollution of the environment. Hence, it is necessary to switch to an alternate source of nutrient supply to the
crops which is ecologically protective of farming. The State will promote use of bio-fertilizers in a big way through suitable incentives and effective extension.
(iv) Farm Mechanization:
Farm Mechanization brings a significant improvement in agricultural productivity in a number of ways. The timeliness of various agricultural operations is crucial in obtaining optimal yield, which is possible only through mechanization. Secondly, the quality and precision of the operations are equally significant for realizing higher yield. The various operations such as land leveling, irrigation, sowing and planting, use of fertilizer, plant protection, harvesting and threshing need a high degree of precision to increase the efficiency of the inputs and reduces the losses. Farm Mechanization also goes a long way in reducing the drudgery of agricultural operations. With mechanization, there are good chances to reduce the cost of production.
In our State, level of mechanization is low. Farm Mechanization will be promoted in a big way by ensuring easy availability of appropriate farm machineries at substantially subsidized rates. Rate of subsidy on farm mechanization and equipments will be raised to 50% (Annexure-I).
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