AGRICULTURE AND IRRIGATION IN ASSAM

Assam, the gate way to North East, covers a total geographical area of 78,520 Sq. Km. spreading over 27 districts with a population of 22.2 million. As per census 2001, 77 % of the population lives in the rural area of the state. Agriculture and its allied activities played an important role in the socio- economic development of the State of Assam as this sector is the major contributor to the State economy as well as providing livelihood to a significant proportion of the population of the State.Agriculture and Horticulture are the main source of livelihood of the rural population and thus Agriculture is the mainstay of the state's economy. About 90% of the farmers belong to small and marginal groups,the average operational holding being 1.55 hectares.

The state of Assam experiences plenty of rainfall and possesses a fertile land which is extremely advantageous for cultivation; however the full potential of this sector is yet to be exploited.
 

Rice Field in Assam   Rice is the main food crop in Assam's agriculture as it is the main diet of state population. Other food crops cultivated in agriculture include jute, sugarcane, fruits,tea, pulses, coconut, potatoes, cotton, and areca nuts. Vegetable cultivation is also a major agricultural activity in the State. Horticulture in Assam is also very rich. It has tremendous potentiality to grow further.

 

The state can be divided into two divisions physically. They are plains and hills.Brahmaputra and the Barak valley are two valleys of Assam which is separated by the hills. The area covered by Brahmaputra valley is 56,000 sq.km and rich in alluvial land.The largest river island in the world Majuli (929 km) is in this valley. The Barak valley
is mainly plain land covering an area of 7000 sq.km. The hills Karbi Anglong and North Cachar hills are in central Assam range.

The climate of Assam is influenced by the monsoon. It is neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter. The rainfall of this region are given below:

RAINFALL

Season

Normal rainfall

Winter (December, January and February)

66.20mm

Summer (March, April, and May)

648.90mm

Monsoon (June, July, August & September)

1702.00 mm

Post Monsoon (October & November)

167.40

Annual Rainfall

2584.50

 

 

The Agro Climatic Zone of the State are given below

 

Based on climate: rainfall & temperature, terrain, soil characteristics and the land use pattern, the whole state has been broadly divided into six (6) Agro Climatic Zones viz.:

Climatic Zone

Districts

Agricultural Production

North Bank Plain (NBP)

Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur and Darrang.

Rice, rape and mustard and sugarcane.

Upper Brahmaputra Valley (UBV)

Tinsukia,Dibrugarh, Jorhat Sibsagar, and Golaghat.

Rice, rape and mustard and sugarcane.

Central Brahmaputra Valley (CBV)

Nagaon and Morigaon.

Rice, jute, rape , pulses and mustard.

Lower Brahmaputra Valley (LBV)

Kamrup, Goalpara, Dhubri, Kokrajhar,Bongaigaon, Barpeta and Nalbari districts.

Rice, jute, rape and mustard, potato, wheat and pulses.

 

Barak Valley (BV):

Cachar, Hailakandi, and Karimganj.

Rice, sugarcane and potato.

Hills (H)

Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills

Maize and sugarcane.

 

Type of Soil in Assam:

The major soils of Assam belong to Inceptisols (49.3%), Entisols (32.3%), Alfisols (12.3%) and Ultisols (6.1%) which is also depicted in the table below.

Type of Soil

Area

Entisol     

28.00 lakh hectare

Inceptisol

34.00 lakh hectare

Alfisols         

7.50 lakh hectare

Ultisols  

3.70 lakh hectare

Marshy land

0.92 lakh hectare

 

The most typical characteristics of Assam soil is acidity, where pH of the soils generally ranges between 4.2 to 5.8. Organic matter content of majority soils is medium to high.The available N, P2O5 and K2O content of the soils of Assam varies between medium and low.

Land Resources of the State:

Before we take a stock of the Agriculture scenario of the State a brief of the land resources is indicated in table below. It is seen that that there is considerable area under barren and uncultivable land (1415, 235 hect.). This land is mainly swamps and hills.While swampy area can be developed for fish production, the hills could be utilized for horticulture crops specially fruits and spices production. Similar is the case with the cultivable wasteland (88,043 hect). The category-wise availability of land is indicated in the Table below:

 

Land Resource

Area

Geographical Area

78.44 lakh hectare

Forest Area

20.12 lakh hectare

Barren & Uncultivable land

14.25 lakh hectare

Cultivable waste Land

0.77 lakh hectare

Land Put to Non Agricultural uses

10.30 lakh hectare

Permanent Pasture & grazing

1.58 lakh hectare

Fallow land

1.57 lakh hectare

Land under misc. grooves, trees etc.

2.09 lakh hectare

Net Cropped Area

27.53 lakh hectare (35 p.c. of GA)

Gross cropped area

39.57 lakh hectare

Area sown more than once

12.04 lakh hectares (44% of Net Cropped Area)

Area covered by Horticultural Crops

5.40 lakh hectares (13.6% of Gross Cropped Area)

Rice fallow area

15.49 lakh hectare

Chronically Flood Prone Area

4.75 lakh hectares (19.1% of Net Area Sown)

Chronically Drought Prone Area

0.94 lakh hectares (3.8% of Net Cropped Area)

Per capita land holding

1.15 hectare

 

The Scenario of Assam's Agriculture:

Agriculture in Assam exhibits most of the characteristics of underdeveloped/backward agriculture, namely, a high dependence on agriculture for livelihood, widespread practice of traditional farming techniques, low usage of modern farm inputs, inadequate agricultural infrastructure , thus lower levels in productivity and incomes in the sector,and so on. About 75 per cent of the state's population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture, while about 69 per cent of the workforce in the state is actually engaged in agricultural activities.

SWOT Analysis of Assam Agriculture Sector:

Strength

Weakness

Opportunities

Threat

Rich in fauna and flora resources

Low per capita holding (1.15 hectare) restricts investment capacity.

Huge potential for horticultural production.

Natural calamities.

Abundant water resources for assured irrigation

Poor soil health.

Availability of new technologies and farming practices.

Deteriorating soil health and ground water.

Potential to increase cropping intensity 200 p.c

Inadequate availability of quality inputs.

Rising demand for diversified agriculture and horticulture product.

High humidity – low self-life.

Large riverine tracks (Char Areas) with high productivity potentials for Wheat, Pulses and Oilseeds

Low level of farm mechanization and lack of irrigation facility.

Increasing acceptability of Public-Private-Partnership.

High cost of cultivation.

Good technological support network – AAU and ICAR.

Lack of post harvest, processing and marketing facilities.

Focused area of Central and State Govt.

Competition from other States / Countries.

Large work force of field functionaries including Field Management Committees.

Lack of post harvest, processing and marketing facilities.

Willingness of the farmer to experiment.

Shortage of labor.

Captive regional market

Dependence on imported seeds for Oilseeds, Wheat and Pulses.

Improved communication infrastructure.

Frequently changed government policies.

Most suitable climate for majority of horticultural crops.

Inadequate credit for agricultural operations.

Vast mono-crop area with ground / surface water for double cropping.

 

Organic cultivation by default.

High cost of infrastructure maintenance due to recurring floods.

Commercialization and globalization of agriculture

 

 

Low SRR and VRR.

 

 

 

 

Agricultural Crops in the State

Assam accounts for a fairly significant share of the country's acreage and output of many crops. Notable are rice, rapeseed and mustard, jute and tea, potato, banana, papaya,arecanut and turmeric. Tea, of course, is the pride of Assam and it is not only the largest producer of tea in the country (accounting for over half the country's output), but it accounts for about 14 per cent of the world's tea output. Assam has also emerged as an important producer in the country in many crops such as sweet potato, banana, papaya,chilies, turmeric cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, lemon, orange and pineapple even though less than one per cent of the cropped area in Assam is being used for cultivating each of them. There is thus, tremendous scope for pushing the acreage under these crops, and in general under vegetables, fruits and spice crops. All these crops are high value crops widely considered to have enormous potential for commercialization Present scenario of the land utilization for cropping is given in the table below:

Net Cropped Area

27.53 Lakh hectors

Cropping Intensity

146%

Area Under Horticultural Crops

5.40 Lakh hectors

 

Crop Development:

The Government of Assam has been undertaking several measures to increase the out put of various crops with a thrust to increase the availability of the area for cropping.The Table below shows the trend of food producti on in Assam during the period 2001-02 to 2009-10.

TREND OF PRODUCTION OF FOODGRAINS IN ASSAM
(Figure in 000 tonnes)

Item

01-02

02-03

03-04

04-05

05-06

06-07

07-08

08-09

09-10

Total Rice

3854

3738

3880

3470

3552

2916

3319

4008

4408

Wheat

85

78

73

68

54

67

71

55

65

Total Pulses

66

60

63

61

56

59

61

62

66

Total Food grains

4023

3894

4034

3617

3680

3060

3468

4142

4557

Total oilseeds

[excl.Coconut]

151

144

152

142

110

129

135

137

142

Source: Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Assam

 

 

 

Initiative of the State

After the independence of the country in 1947, the Govt. India had launched Grow More Food Campaign attaching highest priority to agriculture under First Five Year Plan from 1950. In the State of Assam the Grow More Food Campaign was initiated under a separate Minister, Late Omeo Kumar Das and Late Mr. S.L.Mehto, I.C.S., the then Chief Secretary as Food Commissioner. The mission contributed to increase in crop production through various schemes such as minor irrigation, land reclamation, seed production and distribution, plant protection and farmers training.

Besides research on rice, sugarcane and fruits, the Department widened the research activities to other crops also. Research on Pulses was started in 1946 at Shillongoni farm in Nagaon and Kakilamukh farm near Jorhat. Oilseeds research was started at Shillongoni farm in from 1951. The first and only Agricultural University was established on the  1st of April, 1969 with Dr. S.R. Barooah, former Director of Agriculture as the first Vice Chancellor at Jorhat. This has grown to a full-fledged modern University with the mandate of education, research and extension.

A Jute research farm was started at Sorbhog near Barpeta in 1957 by Indian Central Jute Committee, which was handed over to Agriculture Department in 1961. The activities of this research station were shifted to Shillongoni farm in 1965, which is now under the Assam Agricultural University.

 

The age of high yielding varieties of crops started in Assam with the introduction of dwarf paddy variety in 1963-64 and dwarf Mexican wheat in 1968-69 by Agriculture Department. A special rice Development programme called Intensive Agricultural District Programme was launched in Cachar district in 1963 and continued till 1968. This programme was supported by Ford Foundation which contributed to a large measure in popularizing modern practices of rice cultivation among farmers in Assam.

With the dissemination of crop production technology among farmers, Government felt the necessity of creating input supply infrastructure to make easily available seeds,fertilizers, pesticides, machinery and implements to farmers. With this end in view,Agriculture Department started two Corporations, viz., the Assam Agro Industries
Development Corporation Ltd. on the 27th of January 1967 and the Assam Seed Corporation Ltd. on the 1st of April, 1967. The Assam State Agricultural Marketing Board was formed on the 24th of September 1976. But the Assam Agricultural Produce Market Act. 1972 was enforced from June 1977.

Agricultural Extension service functioned under Community Development Blocks till 1977 in Assam. With the introduction of Training and Visit (T&V) system of extension in 1978-79 with World Bank assistance, agricultural extension came under single line of command of Agriculture Department.

Production of quality seeds within the state is an important step for increasing productivity of crops. The Assam State Seed Certification Agency (ASSCA) was constituted on the 1st of January 1985 for seed certification.

The launching of Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in the NE Region in Assam in the year 2001-02 was a watershed in planned horticulture development in the state. This is a centrally sponsored scheme under the Union Ministry of Agriculture. There are four mini missions (MM), viz, MM-I MM-II, MM-III, and MM-IV to look after (a) research, (b) production (c) post harvest management and marketing and (d) processing, respectively.

Sericulture in Assam:

Assam is well known for its Sericulture industry and bulk of the country's Eri and Muga silk are produced in Assam. . Rearing of Eri, Muga and Mulberry silk worm are playing an important role in the livelihoods a large section of rural population of the State. It is practiced in more than 9000 villages and provides employment to 1.91 lakh family.Further, Assam the "Muga, also know as "Golden Silk" can only be produced in Assam only and 99 percent of the world production is from Assam. It has already received the right of "Geographical Indication" for Muga thread.

It is reported that state has produced 99 MT of Muga Silk and 665 MT of Eri Raw Silk and 9 MT of Mulberry Raw Silk during 2006-07. The oak Tasar Silk worm rearing has been developed in the state and is now being practiced in the two hill districts. The total area under Silk worm Food Plants are 18392.045 hectares in 2006-07. The total production of Silk Yarn was 772.76 MT. in 2006-07. against 634 MT in 2005-06.

S.No

Item

2005-2006

2006-2007

2007-2008

1

Sericulture Village

9523

9683

9373

2

No. of Families Engaged

190166

196152

191434

3

Area under Silk Worm food plants (in Hectares)

19241

18556

18392

Eri

7948

7293

7382

Muga

6755

7255

7299

Mulberry

4538

4007

3711

4

Yield of Cocoons

Eri cut Cocoons (in MT)

652.23

700

887

Muga Cocoons (in thousand Nos.)

470500

490501

493310

Mulberry Reeling Cocoons (in MT)

70.16

119

92

Eri cut Cocoons (in MT)

652.23

700

887

5

Production of Silk Yarn (in MT)

592.09

634

773

Eri

489.00

525

665

Muga

94.09

98

99

Mulberry

9

12

9

 

Tea in Assam:

Assam produces more than 55% of the country's total tea production and provides livelihood to more than 60 lakh population of the State. The total area under tea cultivation in Assam is accounting for more than half of the country's total area under tea. The estimated production of tea in Assam was 474.1 thousand tones in 2006-07
which constitutes more than 50 percent of the total tea production of the country.

Tea Statistics of Assam

Head

2004

2005

2006

2007

No. of Tea Gardens

43293

49102

--

--

Area under Tea (Figures in hectare)

271768

300502

311822

312801

Average Yield Per Hectare (Figure in Kg./Hectare)

1603

1622

1610

1534

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Tea Board, Guwahati, Assam

Pulses in Assam:

Pulses in Assam are produced in limited quantity and State needs import pulses. However Govt. of Assam putting necessary effort to increase the production and productivity with adoption more modern farming practices.

Assam has some highly prized plant species. The medicinal, aromatic and other economic properties are present in these plants. Assam has agro-climatic conditions which are favorable for cultivation of mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, bamboo shoots and other exotic vegetables. Assam produced 8% of India's total spices and 57% of the countries ginger, madia ginger is the high quality of ginger produced in Assam. Among turmeric,lakdong variety of turmeric is the world's best quality of turmeric, which contains highest curcumin content. Assam also produces hottest chilli in the world. Assam is rich in floriculture also. Out of 1200 species of Orchids found in India 293 species grown in Assam. Jute and Ramie are two fiber plants which can be produce by cultivation in Assam. The Jute produce here is one of the finest qualities of Jute in the world. Ramie is the strongest natural fiber which is eight times stronger than cotton. The medicinal plants found here are used for hundred years. Of 3000-odd plant species found here, some 950 species are known to posses medicinal properties. Some of these species have been extensively used in Ayurbedic, Unani and other traditional alternative medicinal system since time immemorial. Several plant species in Assam are very useful for extraction of oil, some of them are used in cosmetic production like perfumes, incense, freshener etc. Agaru is the oldest extraction plant which has known since 1900 AD. The aromatic oil like citronella, lemon grass, and eucalyptus are found here.

Joha Rice:

Assam has a unique class of rice called joha rice. This class includes several varieties of aromatic rice like Kola joha, Kunkuni joha etc. However, Assam Agricultural University has developed a new high yielding variety called Keteki joha. Joha rice grains are fine and have high palatability and consumer demand. These are suitable for Polao and Biryani.

Komol Chaul:

This is also a unique class of rice of Assam. This is suitable for instant use as snakes and not used as staple food. Preparation of the rice for use involves certain processing like boiling and then drying before milling. The uniqueness of this class of rice is that it does not require cooking. Soaking of the rice in lukewarm water for few minutes makes it ready to serve with milk or curd. To taste sugar/ jaggery or salt may be added.

Rubber:

Although Rubber is not a native plant of Assam, but at present rubber plantation covers 10,500 hectors of land here. Mainly automobile industry uses this rubber.

Bamboo:

Green Gold of Assam Bamboo is a cultural heritage of Assam. Out of 126 species of bamboos in India, 54 species bamboos are available in Assam. India is the second largest producer of bamboo. Of the 90 million tones of bamboo in India, more than 50 million tones are found in Assam and North –East region. Bamboo is used for construction of houses, making of furnishers, food, making of handicrafts, paper.

Cane:

Out of 60 Species of canes produced in India, 20 species found in Assam and other north–eastern states. Among them Jati, Tita, and Lejai are used for commercial purposes.

Fruits of Assam

Bari/Carambola

Botanical Name: Averrhoa carambola

The fruit of carambola is a rich source of reducing sugar, ascorbic acid and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphate as well as vitamin A (560 IU/100 gm.).The fruits of carambola are widely used for preparation of squash and pickles.The raw fruits are astringent to bowel, stop diarrhea and vomiting causes biliousness.The ripe fruits and juices as well as squashes are good for bleeding piles and believed to be a good remedy for jaundice.

Wood apple/Beal

Botanical Name : Aegle marmelos

An important indigenous fruit of India, wood apple grows wild in Assam. Sacred to Hindus, the tree is one of most useful medicinal plants of India.The ripe fruit is laxative and unripe fruit is prescribed for diarrhea and dysentery.
The fruit is one of the most nutritious fruits. Every 100 gms of pulp of wood apple contain 61.5 gms. of water, 1.08 gms. of protein, 0.39 gms. of fats, 1.70 gms. of minerals,31.8 gms. of carbohydrates, 55 mg. of carotene, 0.13 gms. of thiamine, 1.19 gms. riboflavin, 1.1 mg. of niacin and 8 gms. of vitamin C. No other fruit has such high contain of riboflavin .

The squash made from the pulp of wood apple is highly nutritious and provide relief fromconstipation.

Amlokhi/Amla

Botanical Name : Phyllanthes emblica

An important minor fruits of India, Amlokhi grows wild as well as cultivated crops in Assam. It is hardy prolific bearer and becoming highly remunerative. The fruit is highly nutritive and rich in vitamin E. The fruits are made into preserves, morabba, sauce,candy, dried chips, tablets, jellies, pickles etc. The Ascorbic Acid and other constituents are well retained in dried Amlokhi.

It is valued as antiscorbatic, diuretic, alternative and antibiotic and is used in the treatment of chronic dysentery, diarrhea, jaundice, dyspepsia, diabetes and cough etc. It is also used in tanning and dyeing industries.

Amora

Botanical Name: Spondius mangifer

This fruits is a rich source of vitamins. Amora is very useful for treatment against bacillary dysentery, T.B. infection as they are blood purifier and also effective against scurvy, rickets, diseases. Fruits can be eaten raw and can be used for preparation of pickles.

Leteku

Botanical Name : Baccurea sapida (Sapida)

Leteku (B-sapida) is a medium sized free found wild in the State or cultivated in the sub-tropical Himalaya. Fruits are round in shape and creamy to yellow in colour, average weight being 11.9 gms.

Kathal/Jack Fruit

Botanical Name : Artocarpas heterophyllusl

Assam is the highest producer in India. It is largest amongst edible fruits. Tender fruits used as vegetables while the ripe fruits can be eaten raw. The fruits contain 1.9% proteins (on fresh weight basis). It contains 2.64 - 11.77 mg. Of Ascorbic Acid & 250 - 1740 mg.Of protein. Also contains Vitamin A, Thiamine, Ribothamin, Vitamin C & minerals like Ca, P, and Fe & K.

The Seed can also be used as vegetable and the waste product such as skin and core of the fruit can be used commercially for pectin extraction.

Ada/Ginger

Botanical Name: Zingiber Officinale (ginger)

Ginger is one of the major spice crops of Assam occupied an area of 16,309 ha. The rhizome of ginger is mostly used as spice. Besides Oleoresin extracted from ginger has got high medicinal value. It has got a wide range of medicinal properties and is used in the ailments of colic pain, coughs, asthma, influenza, flatulence, vomiting, liver diseases,cholera, tooth ache, tonsils etc. The rhizomes are rich in Phosphorous, A-carotene,Vitamin-B1, B2, Niacin and Vitamin C.

Outenga

Botanical Name : Dillemia indica linn vera

The fruits are eaten cooked. Excellent jams can be prepared from this fruit. The juice of the fruit mixed with sugar and water is used as cooling beverage in fevers & as a cough mixture. It is also used mild laxative. Fruits are rich in protein and Vitamin C.

Matikathal/Pineapple

Botanical Name : Anona sativas

The delicious golden queen of Assam, the pineapple is well known for its excellent quality. The area under this crop is 13,500 ha. and the major variety grown is few. The major growing area of the crop is Kamrup, Cachar, Karbi Anglong, and North Cachar & Sonitpur.

Pineapple fruit is a grand source of Vitamin A and B and it is rich in Vitamin C and Calcium. The ripe fruit is taken as raw, and number of processed products can be prepared from it such as slices, concentrates Jam, Jelly, Vinegar and Alcohol.

Jolphai/Olive


Botanical Name : Elaeoearpus floribundus

Jolphai is one of the most sought fruit for preparation of pickles in Assam. It is cultivated in backyards of Assamese household and also in semi-wild situations. The fruit is small,oval in shape, green in colour. Olive oil is used as edible oil besides it has got medicinal value also. It is a good source of Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron A-carotene, Vitamin B and Niacin.

Sumathira/Orange (Khasi mandarin)

Botanical Name : Citrus reticulata

This most important citrus crop is gown in an area of 5,720 ha. in Assam. The dazzling orange coloured round fruit of Khasi mandarin with loose skin is delicious in taste. The fruits are generally eaten raw and have a wide range of delicious processed products like  squash, jam, jelly, Marmalade etc. The fruit contains 326 to 1800 IU of A carotene, 0.12 mg. of B1, 0.06 mg. B2, 0.3 mg. of Niacin and 30 to 68 mg. of Vitamin C per 100 gm. of weight.

Kol/ Banana

Botanical Name: Musa

Banana is the cheapest, plentiful and most nourishing of all fruits. Amongst all fruits, the production of this fruit is highest in Assam covering an area of 41,885 ha. Many varieties of banana are grown in the State and many of which are exportable varieties with high quality. Prominent varieties of the State are Malbhog, Cavendish, Cheni Champa, Amrit Sagar and Kachkol (culinary cultiver).

Nemu Tenga/Assam Lemon

Botanical Name : Citrus limon

  Lemon plant is an evergreen plant which is actually a shrub. It is a major cultivated fruit crop of Assam occupying an area of 8,700 ha. The fruits are oval and full of juice. It contain high percentage of Vitamin C (10 mg.) besides Vitamin B (0.02 mg.), Niacin (0.1) per 100 gm. Other uses are juices, pickles and squashes. The juice is good for digestive system and also is good for smoothness of the skin. It prevents many skin diseases and can gives relief from pain in joints, coughs, lever disorder and ear-ache.Lemon juice helps to control high blood pressure & beneficial in treating cataract.



Poniol/Flacourtia

Botanical Name : Flacourtia gangomos

Ponial is a medium sized tree with hard spring branches. It is fairly common in Assam.The fruits are dark brown in colour when ripe, flesh is firm, brownish green and fairly juicy. Brushing between hands rendered the fruit less astringent and more palatable. It is rich source of protein (3.65%), Vitamin C (217.99 mg./100 gm.) and mineral such as Phosphorous (146.80 mg./100 gm.), Calcium (175.50 mg./100 gm., Potassium (158.10 mg./100 gm.) and Iron (118.30 mg./100 gm.). The iron content of Flacourtia is 280 times more than apples. It also contains several  essential amino acids.

Silikha/Myrobalan

Botanical Name : Terminalia chebula

  Myrobalan is a tall tree, grown wild in the State but admired by all over India for its high medicinal value. Fruits are small, oval and tapering towards both ends, green in colour when fresh and black & hard after drying. It has got a wide range of medicinal uses and it is major component of many Ayurvedic medicines. It helps to cure gastric trouble,indigestion and reported to be beneficial against Asthma, Piles, Worm, Colic Pain, Heart Diseases, Scabies, Lever Jaundice, Stone, Lie cups, Eye Diseases and Vomiting etc.


Name : Bamboo shoot pickles

Assamese Name : Kharicha Achar

Bamboo is a tall perennial shrub of grass family with round, smooth & hollow stem and swollen nodes, 8-14 cm. in diameter and of varying length.

The young short of banana is edible and is used widely in the State of Assam for preparation of pickles and is preserved in every household for its appealing aroma and taste

It is useful in the treatment of respiratory system and believed to prevent cancer by the rural people.

Tamul/Arecanut

Botanical Name: Areca catechu Linn

  Arecanut is a traditional major cash crop of Assam grown in an area of 74,460 ha. It is widely used as a condiment with betel leaf. Besides it is used for preparation dye and also in supari industry. The nut of Areca palm known as betel nut has got medicinal value too.It is appetizer and used as remedy against secretion of bile and cough.

 


Bio Fertilizer

As the production level in Assam is cooperatively low, therefore the government as well as the farmer is trying hard to increase the crop production. The use of bio fertilizer has not only increased the production level but also maintain the soil health. So the now the farmers use bio fertilizer in a big scale. Other than bio fertilizer micro nutrient can be use in the case of horticulture crops like cabbage, cauliflower, and coconut plants.

State Agricultural Policy:

The majority of the land in the State is owned by Small and Marginal farmers,practicing subsistence agriculture and at present they have very little connection with the market. The farmers are also hampered by a low level of capita formation, coupled with very low availability of credit. The level of mechanization, fertilizer usage and irrigation in the State is also very low, which is preventing the farmers from increasing their Average Yield of their land as well as improving the cropping intensity. This is the reason that although of late the State has managed to become self-sufficient in rice production, there is still a significant shortfall in the production of Wheat as well oilseeds and pulses, a gap which is showing an indication of increasing rather than decreasing. Further, as rice is the main crop of the State, in the present scenario of depressed prices of rice coupled with low Average Yield, low cropping intensity and a lack of diversification as well as the possible adverse impact of the new WTO Agreement on Agriculture, the future of the farmers of the State does not look positive.Considering the above, Assam government has taken some policy so that the above difficulties can be minimized.

Irrigation in Assam:

 

North-East India is one of the wettest regions of the world. The average rainfall is about 2000mm. This region is very rich in water resources. Initially there was no need of irrigation. But with due time, because of the tremendous increase of population irrigation became essential to sustain the economy.

The mainstay of the economy of Assam is based on Agriculture as 85% of the population depends on agriculture and its allied activities. To meet the rising demand for food and also to improve the economic conditions it is necessary to increase the agricultural output. In the recent years due to the effect of global warming the climatic conditions of Assam has changed. Assam began experiencing more scarcity of water day by day.Again in the recent years there is untimely flood that causes damage to the paddy fields.Therefore it is necessary to carry out a proper irrigation plan to improve the Agricultural productivity in the state. This can be done by with a regular supply of water along with the other factors provided to the paddy fields. Irrigation is one of the most vital factors not only for agriculture but also for other socio-economic activities like industry,navigation, hydro-power etc. So development in irrigation has a very special significance towards the economy of the state. In the sector of irrigation state government has implement modern technology (Technology from Japan).

All the three methods of irrigation e.g canal irrigation, well irrigation, and tank irrigation may be adopted in Assam. As the Brahmaputra and most of its tributaries are perennial,canal irrigation is possible by damming the rivers in their upper courses. Again, as the underground water table is high, especially in the plains of the state, both wells and tanks can be dug and used as source of irrigation for well irrigation, shallow and deep tube wells can be sunk to obtain water. Electrically operated lift irrigation is also feasible in the state.

The total geographic area of Assam is 78.88 lakh hectors. 40.87 lakh hector area is gross cropped area and gross irrigation potential area is 27 lakh hectors. Out of the 27 lakh hectors 10 lakh hectors irrigated through major and medium projects and the remaining 17 lakh hectors are irrigated through minor irrigation schemes.

Facts

Figures

Total Geographic Area

78.88 lakh hectors

Gross Irrigation Potential Area

27.00 lakh hectors

Irrigated Area till 2009

7.76 lakh hectors

Major and Medium Irrigated Sector

2.38 Lakh hectors

Minor Irrigated Sector

5.38 lakh hectors.

 

Keeping in view of the importance of irrigation, the Government of Assam created the Department of Irrigation in 1974. The department has taken initiatives regarding proper irrigation and for that implementation of some projects and schemes. The irrigation schemes are classified as Major, Medium and Minor. At present three Departments i.e.
Department of Irrigation, Department of Agriculture and Department of Panchayat and Rural Development are associated with the development of irrigation facilities in the state. Irrigation Department maintains Major, Medium and Minor Irrigation Schemes and the other two departments are confided to minor schemes only. Dhansiri project over the Jia Dhansiri River in Udalguri and Champamati Project over the same river on Kokrajar districts are two major projects which is almost completed.

The medium on going schemes include Kalanga ,Amtring, Hawaipur Projects (all in Karbi Anglong), Integrated Kolong Project (Nagaon), Baralia Project (Nalbari),Puthimari Project (Kamrup) and Kharmuja Project (Goalpara ).

Many small irrigation projects are started. Of these Kurua scheme in Darrang, Nalana in Nalbari, Sukonori in Barpeta, Thekesu -Bechumari Deosila flow Irrigation and Sijukoma Lift Irrigation at Balijana in Goalpara, Sondoba Lift Irrigation in Morigaon and Patiajong and Kuligaon projects of Karbi Anglong are the main. In Majuli the important lift and  tube well irrigation projects are located at Sensua Kumar Chapari, Khetopathar, Siran Deuri Gaon, Mijon Deuri Gaon, Kamalabari and Fulani. Several small irrigation projects are on their way of completion in the Barak Valley also. These include the ones located at Nuruleherra, Rupcherra, Daluganj, Nabincherra, Depocherra, Pechacherra, Gardhicherra,Sonabeel and Patharkandi Beel.

Till 2009 five Major projects and 11 Medium projects have been completed. Total 1092 numbers of the Minor Irrigation schemes have been completed up to March 2008. The remaining projects and schemes are under construction.

The contribution of irrigation by the Irrigation Department are shown below:

Department

Gross Irrigation Created up to 2007-08 (In Hectors)

Major &Medium Irrigation sectors

Minor Irrigation sector

Total

Irrigation Department

222652

339257

561909

Assam State Minor Irrigation development Corporation

Nil

149205

149205

Total

222652

488462

711114

Source: Economic Survey Assam 2008-09

Irrigation Schemes Completed up to 1992

Medium Schemes

Name of the scheme

Name of the District

Area covered

The Rupahi I.P.

Barpeta Dist.

9,320 ha

The Dekadong I.P.

Barpeta Dist.

28,155 ha

The Pahumara I.P.

Barpeta Dist.

12,950 ha

The Kaldiya I.P.

Barpeta Dist.

----------

The Sukal I.P.

Kamrup Dist.

13,000ha

The Jamuna I.P.

Nagaon

1,900 ha

The Lanka I.P.

Nagaon

-----------

The Bar Dikarai I.P.

Sonitpur

22,000 ha

The Harguti I.P.

Karbi Anglong

------------

The Dikhari I.P.

Karbi Anglong

------------

The Patradisa I.P.

North Cachar

9,000 ha

The Longa

Kokrajhar

----------

The Jajlaigaon I.P.

Dhubri

----------

The Mora Dhansiri I.P.

Golaghat

9000 ha

The Rukni I.P.

Cachar

----------

Source: Economic Survey Assam 2008-09

The Department has tried to increase the irrigation all over the state. During 2006-07 the department created 1034 hectors in the Plain. In the year 2007-08 out of 1620 hectors (520 hectors in the hill area) , 840 hectors of Irrigation Potential was created.

Season wise Crop area Irrigated during the year 2007-08 (Provisional):

(In Hectare)

Sl. No.

Name of district

Kharif

Rabi & Pre Kharif

Grand Total

1

Dhubri

7.00

415.55

422.55

2

Kokrajhar

9258.00

40.72

9298.72

3

Bongaigaon & Chirang

2201.76

624.19

2825.95

4

Goalpara

664.55

941.56

1606.11

5

Barpeta

7787.82

747.30

8535.12

6

Nalbari & Baksa

918.00

90.50

1008.50

7

Kamrup (Metro & Rural)

1605.03

1065.40

2670.43

8

Darrang & Udalguri

13100.00

2608.00

15708.00

9

Sonitpur

3365.23

183.00

3548.23

10

Lakhimpur

847.47

-

847.47

11

Dhemaji

14.03

1.40

15.73

12

Morigaon

-

495.00

495.00

13

Nagaon

14431.00

4072.58

18503.58

14

Golaghat

208.00

106.00

314.00

15

Jorhat

37.55

40.60

78.15

16

Sivasagar

15.00

117.00

132.00

17

Dibrugarh

96.00

-

96.00

18

Tinsukia

89.50

28.50

118.00

19

Karbi Anglong

15440.00

3116.50

18556.50

20

N. C. Hills

4116.00

-

4116.00

21

Karimganj

-

17.00

17.00

22

Hailakandi

3.00

-

3.00

23

Cachar

95.00

25.00

120.00

Source: Economic Survey Assam 2008-09

Some Irrigation Schemes implemented in Assam are given below

Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR):

In 1999-2000 under NLCPR-Phase-1 86 Minor Irrigation Schemes were launched. Out of 86, 82 schemes have been completed so far covering area 11994 hectors with an expenditure of 1122.81 lakh.

In the year 2000-01 the second phase started, out of 22 schemes 16 have been completed with an expenditure of 242.18 lakh covering 3283 hectors.

12 ongoing Minor Irrigation Schemes were taken up in the Hill Areas of the State during the year 2000-01. All the Minor Irrigation Schemes have already been completed within the estimated amount and 9504 hectares of potential has been created.

In the year 2005-06, another Minor Irrigation Scheme was taken up in Hill area. As against the target for creation of irrigation potential of 1860 hectares, irrigation potential of 110 hectares has been created so far with an expenditure of Rs.1420.00 Lakh. The remaining works are in progress.

Four more Minor Irrigation schemes were proposed to be taken up in plain areas in the year 2007-08 under NLCP with an estimated cost of Rs.960.05 lakh with a target to create an additional irrigation potential of 3010 hectares. Two Minor Irrigation Schemes,out of the total, have been approved and the Administrative Approval for the remaining two Minor Irrigation Schemes is awaited.

Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF):

The State Irrigation Department has availed loan from National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) under RIDF for completion of some irrigation projects.The achievement so far attained under the RIDF is presented below.

RIDF-X: In 2004-05, Irrigation Department had taken up 22 Minor Irrigation Schemes against a sanctioned amount of Rs.976. 11 Lakh with a target for creation of irrigation potential of 7111 hectares. All the 22 Irrigation Schemes have been completed against an expenditure of Rs.856.2l5 lakh received from NABARD.

RIDF-XI: The Department had taken up 12 numbers of Minor Irrigation Schemes during 2005-06 against a target for creation of irrigation potential of 7775 hectares. The amount sanctioned by NABARD is Rs. 1802.514 Lakh and the State Share sanctioned was Rs.58.735 lakh. An amount of Rs.322.82 lakh was spent till March,2008. In the year
2005-06, another Scheme, namely Modernisation of Sukla Irrigation Scheme was taken up with a target to create irrigation potential of 24,400 Hector involving an amount of Rs.1907.33 lakh sanctioned by NABARD and the State share was Rs.100.39 lakh. The expenditure incurred from NABARD fund up to March, 2008 is Rs.381.40 lakh. No State Government share was released up to March, 2008. The Schemes are under different stages of onstruction and no irrigation potential has been created so far.

Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programmed (AIBP):

The Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programmed (AIBP) was initially meant for Major and Medium Projects only. But subsequently its ambit was extended to Minor Irrigation Schemes also.

In the year 2006-07, seven Major/Medium Projects for creating an additional area of 3500 hectares of irrigation potential was taken up with a Budget Allocation of Rs.40.50 Crores. The expenditure incurred against the allocation was only 14.798 Crore and created irrigation potential was 2800 hectares. All the seven projects are at different stages of construction. Under Minor Irrigation, 39 schemes were taken up with a target of creation of additional irrigation potential of 6185 hectares for which budget allocation  is Rs.10.50 Crore. All the 39 Minor Irrigation Schemes have been completed so far with an expenditure of Rs.4.67 Crore. In the year 2007-08, six more Major/Medium Irrigation Projects were taken up for creation of irrigation potential of 5200 hectares with budget allocation of Rs.68.00 Crore. In that period Pahumara medium irrigation project has been completed covering area of 11,751 hectors. The expenditure incurred for the said Scheme was Rs.25.13 Crore. As regards to Minor Irrigation, 92 nos. of schemes for creation of 7000 hectares of irrigation potential have been sanctioned in March, 2008 with a budget allocation of Rs.27.00 Crore.

Success in Irrigation Sector:

Five major projects and 11 medium projects have been completed till 2009.

In 2007-08 Pahumara Medium Irrigation Project (AIBP) has been completed with the area of 11,751 hectors.

In 20008-09 Yamuna Project (AIBP) has been completed with the area of 12, 7000 hectors.

In 2009-10 modernisation of the Sukla Major Project has been completed covering area of 28,800 hectors.

Flood effected Bordikarai project has been reconstructed. Construction work is in progress and out of 34, 4000 hectors 12, 000 hectors till completed.

In 2009-10, from the four Major and Medium Irrigation Projects namely Dhansiri,Champamati, Baralia, and Buhri Dihing, total 7162 hectors of land has been irrigated.The government has taken emphasis to complete these projects during 2011 and cover remaining 79,844 hector. Also Bordikarai Irrigation Project will be completed in the
financial year 2011. Rupahi Irrigation Project under Assam Bikash Yojana will be completed during the year 2011 covering area 5,664.

 

Under Minor Irrigation (under AIBP), 412 schemes are now going on with a target of covering 1, 86, 515 hectors. The Department has taken up 4 numbers of Minor Irrigation Schemes under RIDF-XI against a target of creation of irrigation potential of 3028 hectors with an estimated cost 881.408 lakh.

 

Under Assam Bikash Yojana, the Department has taken 12 schemes to irrigate 514 hectors in the year 2011 with an estimated cost 598.182 lakh.

Under Tribal Sub-Plan, the Department has taken 30 schemes to irrigate 4413 hectors.The schemes are under construction now and will be completed in the year 2011.Under NLCPR, another 4 schemes are in progress with an estimated cost of 9.60 Crore.The target is to irrigate 3010 hectors cultivated field.

Realisation of Irrigation Service Charges

As sufficient fund is required for operation and maintenance of Irrigation Schemes and the fund provided in the state's budget is not adequate, the State Irrigation Department has introduced the system of realisation of  ervice charges from the beneficiary cultivators since 1993.The rates of Irrigation Service Charges have been revised during 2000-01 to cope with the increasing cost of maintenance and in accordance with the Fiscal Reform Measures of the State Government. The current rates of Irrigation Service Charges are as follows:

IRRIGATION SERVICE CHARGES:

Crops

Rate/Bigha (Rs)

Rate/Hect.(Rs)

Wheat and Other Rabi

75.00

562.50

Kharif

37.50

281.24

Early Ahu

100.00

751.00

Ahu

100.00

751.00

Jute

20.00

150.00

Sugarcane

29.60

222.00

 

Source: Chief Engineer, Irrigation Department, Assam

In spite of Government's Notification for realisation of Irrigation Service Charges from the beneficiary cultivators the position of realisation is not up to the satisfaction due to various reasons-

1. Poor economic condition of the cultivators;
2. General tendency of the beneficiary cultivators to get free water from Govt. Irrigation Schemes;
3. Absence of legal authority of Water Users' Associations empowering them to collect Irrigation Service Charges;
4. Some authorities have not permitted to collect the Irrigation Service Charges.
5. Adverse law and order situation in some areas for certain periods.


However, the Department is endeavouring to realize the Service Charges from the beneficiary cultivators.

The status of Irrigation Charges actually realised during the last ten years is presented below:

 

 

Irrigated Area As Per Agriculture Census-2005-06

As per Agriculture Census 2005-06 there is about 1.45 lakh hectare net irrigated area (including private sources) in the State of which 0.23 lakh hectare area irrigated from ‘canal', 0.031 lakh hectare from ‘tanks', 0.17 lakh hectare from ‘tubewells' and  1.02 lakh hectare receives irrigation from ‘other sources'. The table below shows the size class wise area receives irrigation from different sources in the State.

 

SIZE CLASS AND SOURCE-WISE AREA IRRIGATED IN ASSAM(Area in Hectare)

S.N

Size Class(In Ha)

Area under Operational Holding

Area Receiving Irrigation From Sources

Net Irrigated Area

Canal

Tanks

Well

Tube well

Other Sources

1

Below0.5

353051.83

1904.95

1197.90

28.13

1545.57

10486.60

15163.15

2

0.5-1.0

407092.81

2538.38

281.01

80.01

2374.69

9879.69

15153.78

3

1.0-2.0

718383.23

5499.75

331.41

66.71

4146.96

18333.57

28378.40

4

2.0-3.0

496982.96

3862.86

379.48

37.94

2471.65

10661.63

17413.56

5

3.0-4.0

349023.18

3354.49

198.91

25.41

2004.46

9996.45

15579.72

6

4.0-5.0

203932.59

1647.67

125.39

11.04

845.12

6617.06

9246.28

7

5.0-7.5

177267.26

2379.52

135.41

16.60

775.95

6222.10

9529.58

8

7.5-10.0

44203.07

395.95

64.33

0.00

415.22

2237.11

3112.61

9

10.0-20.0

34251.16

80.40

28.02

0.00

252.87

2398.58

2759.87

10

20&above

264354.79

1456.23

400.01

65.06

1863.33

25580.87

29365.50

11

All Classes

3048542.88

23120.20

3141.87

330.90

16695.82

102413.66

145702.45

 

 

Reference taken:
Assam, land and people edited by Basanta Deka.
Department's booklet and website of the Department.