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  • Markets, Policy and Impacts ICRISAT

    Progress Report - 130

    Salient features of village economies in the Semi-Arid Tropics (SAT) of India

    KPC Rao, VK Chopde, Y Mohan Rao and

    D Kumaracharyulu


    International Crops Research Institute For the Semi-Arid Tropics

    June 2005


  • Table of Contents

    Page Introduction 1

    Changes in Population Characteristics 3

    Occupational distribution 4

    Details of Land Ownership 5

    Operated area 6

    Livestock Ownership 8

    Cropping Patterns 11

    Major Production Constraints in rainfed crops 16

    Utilization of farm produce 19

    Economics of Crop Enterprises 21

    Crop economics as per the farm management concepts 27

    Comparison of crop economics with the seventies 32

    Economics of milk production in VLS villages 33

    Economics of maintaining draft animals 35

    Economics of small ruminants in VLS villages 36

    Changes in the composition of net household income in VLS villages 39

    Consumption expenditures and nutritional standards 41

    Labour market participation and wages 44

    Perceived benefits from soil conservation works 48

    Perceptions of respondents about climate changes 52

    Conclusions 54

    References 57


  • Salient Features of Village Economies in the Semi-Arid Tropics (SAT) of

    India K P C Rao, V K Chopde, Y Mohan Rao and D Kumaracharyulu


    Indias famed green revolution has largely bypassed the dry, semi-arid tropics (SAT). Regions

    such as Indias SAT, with comparatively limited potential for agricultural growth but with rapid

    population growth, pose difficult problems for an agricultural based strategy of rural

    development. Village Level Studies (VLS) of ICRISAT, which commenced in 1975, studied

    three contrasting dryland regions based on the criteria of climate, soils and cropping patterns:

    The Telengana region in Andhra Pradesh, the western Maharashtra (Bombay Deccan) and

    Vidarbha region, also in Maharashtra. Two villages were selected carefully to represent each of

    these regions: Aurepalle and Dokur (Mahaboobnagar), Shirapur and Kalman (Solapur) and

    Kanzara and Kinkheda (Akola). These six villages were studied during the period 1975-76 to

    1984-85, tracking them by monitoring 40 sample households from each of these six villages

    using cost-accounting method. The sample of 40 households was divided equally between the

    landless, small, medium and large farmers categories. Among the six villages, Aurepalle,

    Shirapur and Kanzara were studied even more intensively on a regular basis by complementing

    the regular data collection with several special purpose surveys. This longitudinal database, by

    virtue of its quality and richness, attracted several researchers all over the world and formed

    basis for a number of publications. It was rated as an International Public Good (IPG) by the

    World Bank.

    Several changes swept through the semi-arid tropics of India over the 17 years period

    between 1984-85, when the first generation VLS was suspended and 2001-02, when the second

    generation VLS surveys were resumed. Globalization of agricultural markets, deepening

    resource crisis (in terms of land degradation and water depletion), growing population and

    integration of labour markets have changed the livelihood options and living standards of the

    rural people in the SAT. In order to accommodate the emerging areas of interest, new modules

    were added on livestock enterprise economics; natural resource development and water

    exploration investments; migration; benefits received from the Government programmes etc. In


  • order to make a comparative study of the changes in the VLS villages, the same size group

    classifications as earlier were retained for the landless, small, medium and large farm categories.

    But, in order to increase the representativeness of the sample to the village population, 15

    percent of the households in the village were selected in the sample. Care was taken to include

    all the sample households of the earlier rounds and their split households in the new sample.

    After accommodating all these households, the balance sample units were drawn randomly from

    the population using the probability proportion to size method. The sample design was finalized

    in consultation with the statistician, who advised to take account of the variability with respect to

    key parameters in different size groups for deciding the sample distribution between the size

    groups. Large farm group exhibited a lot more variability than other groups with respect to both

    the key parameters, income and size of the land. In order to take care of the greater variability in

    the large farms group, a large proportion of the sample was to be allotted to that group. But it

    would amount to biasing the sample in favour of large farms group. Since the study of livelihood

    options and development pathways is the major objective of the study, a sample in which the

    poorer households are under-represented was not considered desirable. Hence, it was decided to

    stick with the probability proportion to size method for drawing a representative sample. The

    total sample size has increased from 240 to 446 households (table 1).

    Table 1. Sample details of old and new VLS surveys. Landless Small Medium Large Total

    Sl No Village Old New Old New Old New Old New Old New 1 Aurepalle 10 25 10 21 10 37 10 17 40 100 2 Dokur 10 20 10 31 10 15 10 14 40 80 3 Kanzara 10 13 10 20 10 14 10 5 40 52 4 Kinkheda 10 8 10 14 10 6 10 4 40 32 5 Shirapur 10 22 10 43 10 17 10 6 40 88 6 Kalman 10 24 10 53 10 14 10 3 40 94

    Total 60 112 60 182 60 103 60 49 240 446

    The sample size has doubled or more than doubled in the four larger villages belonging to

    Mahaboobnagar district (A.P) and Solapur district (Maharashtra). Among the two Akola villages,

    sample size increased by 30 percent in case of Kanzara, but it fell by 25 percent in case of

    Kinkheda. In case of all the four Maharashtra villages, the number of large farms in the sample

    has fallen. In general, the proportion of small farms has increased very much, while the shares of

    medium and large farms reduced. This sample distribution reflects the fact that the average size


  • of holding is falling even in the SAT areas due to population pressure on land. Over time, large

    and medium farms are becoming smaller on account of fragmentation and sub-division.

    Changes in Population Characteristics

    Information on the demographic features and educational levels of the sample households in the

    six VLS villages is presented in table 2.

    Table2. Family size and literacy levels of sample households in VLS villages, 2001-02. S No Details Aurepalle Dokur Kanzara Kinkheda Shirapur Kalman 1 Total family members 420 430 275 147 481 535 2 Average family size 4.2 5.38 5.29 4.59 5.47 5.69 3 Percentage of literates 45 44 82 80 64 64

    4 Distribution of literates (%) (a) Primary school 55 48 30 26 30 32 (b) Secondary school 16 18 28 26 26 31 ( c) High school 19 24 27 27 26 22 (d) Intermediate 8 9 11 14 8 5 (e) Graduation 1 1 4 4 8 8 (f) Post graduation 1 0 0 3 2 2

    5 Literacy percentage amongyoung men(5-30 yrs) 76 73 97 93 91 92

    6 Literacy percentage amongyoung women(5-30 yrs) 53 54 99 94 85 82

    The average size of family decreased over the last two decades from 8.37 to 5.10, as

    more and more families became nucleated. Aurepalle village had the smallest family size and

    Kalman had the largest family size, on an average in 2001-02. The literacy rates are above 80 in

    Akola villages, 64 in Solapur villages and about 45 in Mahaboobnagar villages. Maharashtra

    villages also showed higher levels of education among literates when compared to A.P villages.

    Educational inequality by gender persists in A.P villages to a substantial extent while this got

    eliminated in Maharashtra villages. In Maharashtra villages, women have even higher literacy

    levels than men in the 5-30 years age group in Akola villages, while they are slightly lagging

    behind men in Solapur villages. The goal of universal education has been nearly reached in the

    Maharashtra villages. But the situation in Andhra Pradesh villages is bad with respect to

    education. Nearly one half of the girls and young women and nearly one-fourth of the boys and

    young men are still illiterate. During 1975-78, about 50 per cent of men and 15 per cent of

    women were literate among adults nineteen and above. Compared to that, literacy levels among


  • women improved dramatically. Even male literacy rates improved to some extent, if not by the

    same proportion as in case of females.

    Occupational distribution

    The distribution of the sample households in the VLS villages by principal occupation is

    summarized in table 3. These data show that agriculture is not a principal source of income to

    more than 50 percent of the households in A.P villages. 39 percent of the households in

    Aurepalle consider agriculture as their principal source of income, while only 16 percent of the

    households consider it as their principal source of income in Dokur. Persistent drought and water

    scarcity have forced the sample households to look for alternate s


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