The State of Jharkhand was created in November’ 2000 after carving 79 lakh hectares geographical area from the State of Bihar for better planning and execution of development activities of a ecologically different zone ( Hills & Plateau region compared to Bihar plains).
Agriculture is the main stay for the 80% of rural population of the state. Agriculture is their employment and primary income generating activity. The agricultural economy of the Jharkhand state is characterized by dependence on nature, low investment ,low productivity, mono-croping with paddy as the dominant crop , in inadequate irrigation facilities and small ands marginal holdings. The dependence of agriculture on the Vagaries of the rain-god can be gauged from the fact that as much as 92% of the total cultivated area is unirrigated.
The cultivable land resources of the state have good potential for higher production of horticulture and forest products. The soil is young and has high capacity of fixation of humus. The forest provides sufficient biomass to feed its soiling. However, Soil erosion and failure to recycle the biomass is depleting the soil fertility. Hence, a judicious oil, water and land management is required only that can improve agriculture productivity. Despite the fact that the state has a good rainfall, the surface water availability to agriculture is not sufficient due to inadequate storage facilities etc. as far as the status of ground water is concerned, it is also in the poor state due to little recharging of ground water by natural process in absence of artificial recharging facilities, as a result, the water label in the plateau is going down.
Presently, the availability of water resource is only 287810 lakhs m3, out of which 237890 lakh .m3 is from surface water and rest 49920 lakh m3 is from ground water. The total utilization of surface and ground water in the state for irrigation purposes so far is only 47360 lakh m3 out of which 39640 lakh m3 is surface water and 7720 lakh m3 is ground water. For all round agricultural development, technology must be supplemented by institutional mechanisms to ensure the provision of the essential facilities and services that the farmers need to improve agronomic practices and obtain higher yield. Only the development of a healthy agricultural marketing system can guarantee remunerative prices to the farmers and motivate the adoption of scientific cultivation for raising agricultural productivity.
Agriculture growth has a strong bearing on the growth of other sectors of the economy and consequently, the SGDP of the State. The State agriculture economy is characterized by the existence of a large number of small and marginal farmers. Nearly 83% of operational holdings are below 2.0 hectare, with 0.69% of holdings above 10 hectares which covers 9% of cultivable area. Jharkhand has made significant progress in agriculture production in last two years. Approximately 85% of cultivated area is under different food crops as against 65% area at the National level. Rice is the major food grain crop of the State covering approximately 80% of the total cropped area. The paddy production has reached approx.4695 thousand tones sown over 1469 thousand hectares with a productivity of 3197 kgs./ha. Other important crops grown are maize, pulses, wheat, oilseeds and minor millets.
The new interventions in paddy production techniques like System of Rice Intensification (SRI) have significantly increased the rice production in rain fed areas. The Seed Replacement Rate for the hybrid varieties of paddy is 2% every year whereas the Seed Replacement Rate for improved varieties is 7-8%. In last 5 years the pulse production has increased manifold as a result of Jharkhand registering highest productivity levels. The State has received “Krishi Karman Award by Union Government in 2012-13” for the pulses production & productivity. Agriculture is largely rain fed and assured irrigation is available to approx. 28% of total cultivated area. The agriculture is highly dependent on rains but ground reality is changing fast.