CSISA-IFRPI study on the inclusiveness of agriculture development programs in Bihar and Odisha
In the first quarter of 2023, CSISA conducted fieldwork to understand how inclusive agriculture development programs are in Bihar, India ( fieldwork in Odisha concluded in the last quarter of 2022). The results from the study will feed into CSISA’s objectives to make research and agri-extension activities inclusive as possible.
Despite significant budget allocations and a high policy priority for agriculture subsidies in India, there has been very little evaluation of subsidy delivery mechanisms and their impact on farmers and other key stakeholders involved, especially about the issue of inclusion along multiple dimensions such as gender, caste, landholding, etc. Therefore, this study will review major agricultural schemes and policies in Odisha and Bihar which play a role in farm productivity, highlighting what farmer groups are likely to be affected by them and how.
Key informant interviews (KIIs) were conducted with various scheme officers in the department of agriculture and horticulture in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Patna, related to farm mechanization, watershed management, irrigation programs, and schemes related to horticulture development. The aim was to understand the major central and state-sponsored schemes in operation, both in terms of budget allocations and targets set by the government.
In addition, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were conducted with various stakeholders in the four districts of study: Madhepura, Nalanda, Muzaffarpur, and Gaya. Interaction with block level government agriculture extension officers, Krishi Salahkars (farmer friends), and KVK scientists was carried out to understand the on-ground reality of how the schemes work and the role of these workers in the implementation process. Apart from that, focus group discussions were conducted with women self-help groups from PRAN and PRADAN, small and marginal farmers associated with new NGOs like Centre for Development Training and Orientation (C-DOT), and medium to large farmers running their custom hiring centres. This will help understand how different groups enroll in various schemes and the constraints faced in availing of the same benefits. For instance, the lack of land records plays a major issue for women and small farmers in the registration process for farm machine subsidies. Likewise, while the government provides subsidies to many SHGs for custom hiring centres (CHCs), not enough resources are spent on the maintenance and technical staff.