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Agricultural Land and Bovine Population in India-A Critical Review of Agricultural Census Data


  • National Dairy Development Board, Anand - 388 001, Gujarat, India


To understand the changes in ownership of agricultural land and bovine holding in India, analyses of agricultural census data were carried out with a view to primarily providing some valuable inputs for the prospective policymakers in the field of agro-livestock sector. The said analyses are mainly motivated towards providing insights into the structure of rural ownership of agricultural lands and associated structural changes that follow in bovine asset.

The study reveals that though the operational area remained constant, the operational landholding increased by 8.5 million during 2005-06 to 2010-11 with 1.7 million holdings getting added every year, mostly as marginal holdings and to a limited extent as small holdings. With an increase of about 7 per cent in number of landholdings, the average holding per farm reduced to 1.16 hectare in 2010-11 from 1.23 hectare in 2005-06. In India, about 83 per cent of the operational holdings are either marginal holdings (<1 hectare) or small holdings (<2 hectare) and they collectively own only 40 per cent of the agricultural land. Only seventeen per cent of the operational holdings have a holding size of more than 2 hectare but owning 60 per cent of the agricultural land. About 90 per cent of the operational land in the country is cultivated and 47 per cent of the net sown area is irrigated. The small and marginal holdings together constituting about 83 per cent own 70 per cent of bovines, 76 per cent of goat and 70 per cent of sheep and this reinforces the complementary relationship between agricultural land size and animal holding size. About 43 and 28 per cent of the rural holdings were found to be keeping adult cattle and buffalo, respectively. The combined incidence of adult bovine is found to be in excess of 43 per cent. The State-wise analysis further confirms that the marginalisation of agricultural holding is also a State phenomenon as is a national phenomenon. However, there are some States that stand out conspicuously where reverse trend is observed.

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