Policy Intervention in West Bengal Agriculture: Role of Diversification

  • Shiv Raj Singh
  • Subhasis Mandal
  • K. K. Datta
  • Uttam Bhattacharya
Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)


This chapter argues that besides producing food grains, the Eastern India has great potential to produce several high value commodities like horticulture, livestock and fisheries to accelerate the growth of agricultural output. However, one of the key impediments to fostering the agricultural growth in this region is the small and marginal production unit of the majority of the farmers. The small scale of production unit can produce these high value commodities with high to moderate production efficiency, but poor marketing efficiency. Farming units are usually confronted with many unpredictable uncertainties ranging from climatic vagaries to market price fluctuations. The degree of uncertainty is greater for the small and marginal landholders, where the farmers do not have access to basic information on various risks including loss of assets and income. Keeping in view of the opportunities and prospects of agricultural growth, the paper focuses on the ways and means of agricultural development in West Bengal, which may help to accelerate the rural income and household level food and nutritional security. Farming in West Bengal is individual-driven and unorganized, with the average size of holding being 0.82 ha, much lower than the national average of 1.33 ha. Therefore, individual farmers, with very small marketable surplus of produce, have to pay market price for all farm inputs and other basic utilities and consumable items. There is, therefore, a need to organize a vastly unorganized farming community in such a way as to help them to gain from the market economy. Smallholders are competitive in high value agricultural activities, because of the availability of family labour and their ability to compete in local markets. However, as production and marketing systems evolve, support to smallholders to provide efficient input services, links to output markets and risk mitigation measures will be important, if they are to provide higher value products. Innovative public support and links to the private sector will be required for the poor to adapt and benefit from the emerging systems.


Farm Household Dairy Animal Marginal Farmer Fishery Sector Livestock Rear 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shiv Raj Singh
    • 1
  • Subhasis Mandal
    • 2
  • K. K. Datta
    • 3
  • Uttam Bhattacharya
    • 4
  1. 1.Shri G.N. Patel Dairy Science & Food Technology CollegeGujaratIndia
  2. 2.Central Soil Salinity Research InstituteCanning StationIndia
  3. 3.National Dairy Research Institute (Deemed University)HaryanaIndia
  4. 4.Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK)KolkataIndia

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