Win Some, Lose Some: More Women Land Owners In Agriculture, But Average Size Of Farms Falls To 1.08 HectaresA farmer in his field. Photo credit: NARINDER NANU/GettyImages

Agriculture census data released on Monday (1 October) is pointing towards a deepening crisis in the agricultural sector of the country as the average size of operational agricultural holdings has declined to 1.08 hectares (ha) in the year 2015-16 as compared to the 1.15 ha in 2010-11, reported The Hindu.

The tenth agricultural census whose phase-one data has been released has also revealed that during the same period, the number of operational holdings went up by 5.33 per cent to 146 million from earlier 138 million in 2010-11. In the previous census the share of the small and marginal holdings’ was 84.97 per cent which went up to 86.21 per cent in this census while operated area share rose by 3.03 per cent to 47.34 per cent from 44.31 per cent in the same period.

Urbanisation and other developmental activities have resulted in a loss of 2.45 million hectares (mha) of cultivated land. The operated area has come down to 157.14 mha in the year 2015-16.

As per the census, semi medium and medium holdings (2-10 ha) have seen a drop of 13.22 to 14-29 per cent while large holdings ( greater than 10 ha) fell by 0.14 per cent from 0.71 per cent in 2010-11 to 0.57 per cent in 2015-16.

A positive development, though, is the increase in the female farmers’ owned holdings which rose to 13.87 per cent from the earlier 12.79 per cent in the previous census.

According to the census, Nagaland has the highest average operational holding of 5.06 ha while Kerala has the lowest of 0.18 ha.

Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of operational holdings at 23.82 million, followed by Bihar (16.41 million), Maharashtra (14.71 million), Madhya Pradesh (10 million) and Karnataka (8.68 million).

Rajasthan was the state with the highest operated area of 20.87 mha trailed by Maharashtra (19.88 mha), Uttar Pradesh (17.45 mha), Madhya Pradesh (15.67 mha) and Karnataka (11.72 mha).

Goa has experienced the sharpest fall of 28 per cent in the operational holdings.

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