Even as land available for agriculture is rapidly shrinking with the unprecedented boom in real estate business, the Bangalore Urban Zilla Panchayat has drawn up a whopping Rs. 629 crore agricultural draft plan to seek funds from the Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (KRVY) of the Centre during the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12).

Interestingly, the average size of plan of all (29) districts is about Rs. 400 crore, while the Bangalore Urban district has prepared the Rs. 629-crore plan to develop agriculture and allied activities. This gains special significance in the light of the fact that Bangalore Urban District contributes a meagre 1.54 per cent to the State’s total food production.

The zilla panchayat has prepared the draft plan to achieve a growth rate of 4 per cent in the 11th Plan as against the less than 2 per cent growth rate now. The Centre has decided to allocate funds to various States under a Rs. 25,000-crore special farm package announced by the Prime Minister.

The district, which has a geographical area of 2,17,410 hectares, comprises five taluks of Anekal, Bangalore North, Bangalore North (A), Bangalore South and Bangalore East.

Officials in the Directorate of Agriculture told The Hindu that the Government had been preparing district-wise agricultural plans to achieve a growth rate of 4 per cent in the 11th Plan as against the current 1.6 per cent.

The plan places great emphasis on activities such as food processing, marketing and floriculture rather than hardcore agricultural activities. Interestingly, the largest share of allocation goes to agricultural marketing over the five-year period. Under the plan, the Union and State governments would share the plan allocation in the ratio of 90:10.

The plan has earmarked Rs. 18.77 crore for agriculture, Rs. 19.58 crore for horticulture, Rs. 10.05 crore for sericulture, Rs. 51.58 crore for animal husbandry, Rs. 8.60 crore for watershed, Rs. 12.85 crore for forestry, Rs. 9.52 crore for fisheries, Rs. 6.50 crore for HOPCOMS, Rs. 76.90 lakh for agri-industry, Rs. 8.50 crore for minor irrigation, Rs. 52.21 crore for rural development and Rs. 431 crore for agricultural marketing.

According to the Agricultural Census of 2005-06, there are 76,278 farmers in the district and the area under cultivation is 90,928 hectares of land. As many as 63,000 labourers are dependent on farm-related activities in the district, which receives on an average 867 mm of rainfall. As many as 36,000 hectares of land was cultivated against the target of 44,000 hectares, covering 80 per cent, in 2007 kharif season.

The Agricultural Department has roped in the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, for fine-tuning the plans prepared by various districts. A committee headed by the Chief Executive Officer of the zilla panchayat prepared plans in all districts based on their needs and requirements. The consolidated State plan and district plans would be submitted to the Planning Commission in a few days, the officials said.
Source:The Hindu Nov,24 ,2007