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Puducherry is a Union Territory of India rather a state, which implies that governance and administration falls directly under federal authority. However, along with Delhi, Puducherry is one of two union territories in India that is entitled by special constitutional amendments to have an elected legislative assembly and a cabinet of ministers, thereby conveying partial statehood.
Agriculture is one of the most important occupations for the people of Pondicherry. About 45% of the total population of the UT depends directly or indirectly on farming. The main crop of this territory is paddy.
The four isolated territories of the Union Territory of Puducherry are scattered over different agro climate zones and hence have varying cropping patterns. While multiple cropping and a high cropping intensity is possible in Pondicherry region due to favourable soil and climatic conditions, a homogenous cropping pattern with paddy being the predominant crop followed by rice fallow pulses prevails in Karaikal region. Mahe and Yanam regions are but tiny territories together accounting for less than 6% of the net area sown.
Agriculture sector contributes less than 2% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of the Union Territory of Puducherry. This shows the declining trend, this is partly due to the deceleration of agricultural growth coupled with the development of secondary and tertiary sectors, which is an All India Phenomenon.
During the last five decades the U. T. of Puducherry has made significant strides in the field of Agriculture by increasing the productivity of agricultural land, achieving crop diversification, exploiting irrigation potential, building infrastructure, creating a well-unit input and marketing network etc.
The principal food crops are rice, maize, jowar (cholam), bajra (cumbu), ragi, and pulses (Bengalgram, Redgram, Greengram, Blackgram and Horsegram). The cash crops include cotton, sugarcane, oilseeds, coconut, gingelly and chillies. The important horticultural products are bananas and mangoes.The state is the largest producer of bananas, flowers, tapioca, coconut, groundnut and sugarcane. The plantation wealth of the UT lies in Mahe region mainly. Crops like coconuts, arcanuts, condiments and spices are grown in less quantity. Pulses, groundnut and chillies are other crops grown in Yanam.
STATE SUPPORT FOR AGRICULTURE
The major initiatives undertaken by the Government of Puducherry to achieve the targeted agricultural production during Twelfth Five Year Plan are listed below: –
- Adoption of System of Rice Intensification technology .
- Promotion of Precision Farming – adoption of drip fertigation with all scientific practices.
- Restoration of Soil Health – Need based Macro and Micro Nutrient application as per Soil Health Card recommendations.
- Quality seed supply – Promotion of newly released High Yielding / Hybrids. Special steps to enhance the availability of quality pulses seeds and oilseeds.
- Encouraging production of Vermi Compost at Farm Hold Level and Municipal Compost production and Bio-input production by Self Help Groups for enriching soil health besides promoting green manuring and use of bio-fertilizers.
- Promotion of Micro Irrigation / Minor Irrigation – especially for high water intensive crops like sugarcane and coconut
- Special focus to enhance the productivity of pulses through DAP spraying / Micro Nutrient application and timely plant protection.
- Steps to promote soil and moisture conservation measures, compartmental bunding, establishsing farm ponds and adoption of dryland development technologies to enhance productivity of rainfed crops, besides distribution of machineries suitable for rainfed condition.
- Farm Mechanization – Distribution of machineries to overcome the problem of labour scarcity.
- Technology dissemination through private extension and input supply by establishing Agri Clinics with soil testing facilities in all the blocks.
- Empowerment of farm women groups technologically, socially, and economically by involving them to take up entrepreneurial activities.
- Establishment and maintenance of regulated markets to facilitate marketing of agricultural produce for the benefit of the farming community.
- Creating awareness among the farmers about the benefits of grading, marketing, value addition and processing their produce through regulated markets by taking up training, publicity and propaganda.
- Promotion of Food Processing to minimize wastage of agricultural products and to increase employment opportunities.