Maharashtra economic survey: Agriculture sector sees 11.7% growth
While all other sectors faced a massive hit owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, agriculture sector is expected to report a whopping 11.7%growth in 2020-21, from 6.1%in 2019-20. The growth is attributed to more than average rainfall, rise in agricultural production and availability of water, electricity and manpower due to the lockdown that affected other sectors.
While Maharashtra’s economic growth is expected to be -8% (from 5% in 2019-20) this financial year, the agricultural growth assumes significance.
The economic survey of Maharashtra, tabled in both the houses on Friday, has attributed the growth to satisfactory rainfall (113.4% of normal rainfall) and overall increase in agricultural production. “Crop sector is expected to grow by 16.2%, livestock by 4.4% and forestry and logging by 5.7%,” it has stated. The production of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane is expected to increase by 60, 14, 28, 33 and 40%, respectively.
The state had reported highest agricultural growth rate of 21% in 2016-17, while it was second highest in the past 10 years in 2010-11 at 15.6%, followed by 12.3 % in 2013-14.
Experts from the agricultural sector have attributed the growth to the favourable atmosphere during the lockdown imposed in March, after the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak last year. Due to the closure of industrial and commercial units during the lockdown, electricity and water was available to the agriculture amply. The reverse migration to rural areas also resulted in easy availability of manpower, they said.
Rajan Kshirsagar, state working committee member of Communist Party of India and farm expert, said, “The marketing of agriculture produce was done easily and effectively. While transportation and mobilization of resources was tough for other sectors, there were no restrictions on agriculture sector, helping it grow freely. It was a natural growth and the government should not pat its back.”
Kshirsagar said farmers did not get the benefit of the growth as market prices of the produce were low and wages too were reduced during the lockdown.
Mumbai University’s economist Neeraj Hatekar said when there were restrictions on all other sectors, agriculture sector was operational, facilitating the growth.