Towards New Horizons in Agricultural Production: 2000 A.D

Towards New Horizons in Agricultural Production: 2000 A.D

By C H Shah and S D Sawant

Will Indian agriculture in year 2000 A.D. enter an era of prosperity or it will force unprecedented crises of scarcity, famine and squalor? The book examines this question dispassionately. It has a message of hope, based on potential created by newly generated technology. New technology and rapid expansion of irrigation will be the paths for agricultural development in the next two decades.

The task is not simple. The book has developed seven scenarios, the usual tool of futurology. The lessons of the scenarios are vivid and clear. The tempo of growth has to be accelerated, such acceleration will require extensive investment in irrigation and fertiliser manufacturing, four or five green revolutions of the type witnessed in the early seventies and new breakthroughs in rice, pulses and oilseeds in the next 20 years. Then there would be enough food to meet nutritional norms or economic demand.

The hope the future holds in deploying greater resources and in sustained research will cover mostly crops. Side effect, not so pleasant, could be fodder scarcity and protein shortage. There could be uncertainty regarding full employment.

Irrigation potential is unevenly spread over states. Realising the full potential of irrigation would inevitably mean uneven growth prospects for states. The north and east could progress faster and the west, central and south may trail behind. Since agricultural resources are non-transferable, a new set of problems may arise. Rapid transfer of people over regions and more so into other occupations from slow growth regions have to be visualised and planned.

The book has a message for policy makers, hope for people and useful insights for scholars.

C H Shah was associated with the University of Bombay since 1945 till his retirement in 1980. He was Professor of Agricultural Economics when he retired. He had his Ph.D. from University of Bombay and post-Ph .D training at University of Chicago. He visited East-West Center, Honolulu as a Senior Specialist and spent recently a year at Harvard. He is currently an Honorary Visiting Professor at Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad and an Honorary Faculty Member at Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. In 1979 he presided over the 39th Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Agricultural Economics. His recent works include an edited volume on "Development of Indian Agriculture: Policy and Problems." Over a long period he has worked on various aspects of agriculture, ranging from land reforms to nutrition, poverty, investment, finance, production and marketing. He has authored jointly or individually several books, reports and articles.

S D Sawant has a research career stretching over 15 years. She obtained her Ph.D from University of Bombay on ‘Aggregate Supply Function in Agriculture' which is now available in print. She is a Senior Research Officer in the Development and Planning Section of the University of Bombay. Her recent works include besides her thesis, an independent research on pulses and economic problem of women labour in agriculture; over years she is engaged in the study of different aspects of agriculture like land reforms, production, irrigation, elasticity of substitution etc. She teaches agricultural economics to students at the post graduate level.