Waste lands add to AP’s economic troubles

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Any area coming under cultivation adds to the overall economy.

Visakhapatnam: Huge tracts of cultivable land in Andhra Pradesh are in disuse. Estimates by the directorate of economics and statistics of the Union agriculture ministry say around 9.78 lakh acres of land is non-productive across the 13 district of the state.

Efforts since 2010 to bring the waste land under cultivation by spending around Rs 2,287.87 crore on various schemes has not yielded much results. Until now from 2010 only about 1.69 lakh acres of the 11.48 lakh acres could be put to use. Any area coming under cultivation adds to the overall economy.

Waste land in India has been categorised to identify as cultivable and uncultivable waste land. Cultivable waste land is the land having the potential to develop into vegetative cover but has not been used due to various reasons. The main constraint could be the non-availability of water.

Uncultivable waste land is the part that cannot be developed for vegetative cover, such as barren rocky/stony land and snow covered/glacial area.

“If the irrigation projects envisaged under the earlier government had been constructed and brought into use under a fixed schedule and time table, all the cultivable waste land could have been brought under cultivation by now. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Adding the effect of lack of rain in the last three years, the agriculture growth has been hit hard. The government needs to take up immediate short term alternative measures while keeping the permanent long-term measures on track to overcome the crisis. If new areas come under cultivation, it will be good for the overall economy of the state,” said farmers’ leader, M.V.S. Nagireddy.

He pointed that this year the total area cultivated in the state has fallen to around 38 lakh hectares in kharif against the best coverage of 43.8 lakh hectares three years ago. Similarly, in the rabi season, this year the area covered was 21 lakh hectares whereas it was 27.8 lakh hectares three years ago.

“The situation is alarming and distressing. While all the other states including our neighbouring state TS had shown positive growth in agriculture production AP is witnessing a negative growth,” Mr Nagireddy added.

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