Maharashtra Agri Sector

Reaching top most position in the country
Maharashtra is India’s leading agriculture state.  The state has achieved many innovative agro-industrial ventures, the sugar co-operative and coperatives for cultivating and marketing, including exports of grapes, mangoes, strawberries etc.   Here is a special feature.

Hon.Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister, Maharashtra

Hon.Ashok Chavan, Chief Minister, Maharashtra

Maharashtra Government initiatives are very unique to make agriculture,  horticulture, agribusiness, Food Processing industry  highly competitive and successful in the country. Similarly Maharastra farmers are very enterprising and hard working and make agriculture a viable business.

We all know many  success stories of  the Maharashtra farmers. (which will be carried in the coming issues) We have contacted the agriculture department to know more about their new  initiatives to make success of the  agrisector in the State. When the agriculture  Minister’s office is contacted they were so forthcoming to come out  with their various  new schemes and strategies.

Here we publish the  answers we received from the Minister’s Office for our questions on account of Maharashtra agriculture developments which shows the way to other States .
1.How do you rank Maharashtra agriculture progress with other states?
Maharashtra is richly endowed with outstanding agricultural research and  educational institutions both in the public and private sectors.  It has diverse agro climatic and soil conditions.

Maharashtra has always taken an initiative in adopting new technologies.
The farm families are hard working and innovative.  Given a proper synergy between technology and public demand, rapid progress can be made in improving the productivity, profitability, stability and sustainability of major farming systems of the state, as is evident from Maharashtra’s horticultural revolution.

The perspective plan for further 10 years activities wise is prepared which is as follows :
a) Packhouse    –    5,000 Nos.
b) Collection & grading units    –    5,000 Nos.
c) Pre-cooling units    –    500 Nos.
d) Cold storage    –    500 Nos.
e) Refervan    –    500 Nos.
f) Apani Mandi    –    4,800 Nos.
g) Onion Storage Structures     –    75,000 Nos.
(5 MT capacity)
h) Contract Farming Projects    –    3,000 Nos.
i) Agro processing units    –    10,000 Nos.

Inspite of the several constraints , the state has made some achievements to its credit which are as follows :
·An area of 13.66 lakh hectares under horticultural and 4 lakh ha under vegetables
·Largest producer of seedless Grapes (78%) banana (75%) Mandarin oranges (75%) Onion (63%).  Tomatoes  (42%) of the total production in India.  Alphanso Mangoes accounts for 90% of India’s export in mangoes.
· The highest number of poly houses (1271) owned by small farmers for cultivation of flowers.
· Leads the sugar industry sector with 200 sanctioned and 150 productive cooperative sugar mills
· 40% turnover of the seed industry in the country
· Strong base of technical manpower in the operational areas of four Agriculture Universities with 56 Agriculture colleges, 82 research institutes & five national level research organizations
· More than 60% of the area under drip irrigation, thus stands first in the country
· 173 Poly clinics being operated in the State

2. What are the major policy initiative of your government in agriculture development?
The food processing industry requires highly skilled & technical manpower.  To compete in export market the processed product should be of high quality, health safety, free from pesticide residue & should be  accompanied with various testes & certification.  For this farmers & extension machinery needs to be trained.  Accordingly Central & State Governments are supporting various training programmes under NHM & NHB Programmes.
As far as state is concerned Grape farmers have accepted latest technologies like Eurepgap,  Agmark, Bar-coding & Residue Monitoring system etc.  For other crops, farmers as well as extension machinery’s various training programs are organized for the period ranging from 1 day to 3 months duration, depending upon needs of the training.  Concept of contract farming & corporate farming is also in the way of promotion which will also take care of training of latest technologies to be used by the entrepreneurs involved in the farming system.

Maharashtra’s  Response to Agriculture Historical Perspective
•    First State to adopt Dry Land Farming Technology.
•    Pioneer in Horticulture Development through EGS to promote higher income & more employment in farming sector
•    State Seed Corporation – First farmers company in seed sector
•    Pioneers in Co-operative network
–    Sugar factories, Dairies,Water user association.
•    Corporate Horticulture Company
•    Four State Agricultural Universities
•    Very effective & Research based  Farmers Organisations

3. What are the steps promoted to agri industries and agro processing industries outside the traditional sugar cooperative sector?
During last two five year Plans Government of Maharashtra has given emphasis on the development of horticulture along with Agriculture.  All out efforts in this regards have reflected through increase in area and production.  Maharashtra plays a major role in horticulture development under scheme EGS, which linked horticulture plantation and its production of fruits & vegetable. The export from Maharashtra for fresh vegetables and fruits to the Indian basket is 30% and that of processed food products is nearly 50%.
With the availability of varied range of agricultural produce, the state provides great potential for establishment of agri-business.  The Government needs to take fiscal steps, which would be conducive to sustain the investment.  With this broad view in mind, state government proposed to develop infrastructure to speed up agri-business.
The infrastructure would comprise  of post-harvest facilities like mass collection centers, sorting grading, packing houses, store houses, refrigerated vans, precooling, cold storage, establishment of Gramin Information Centers for market of higher value, residue testing laboratories for fruits & vegetables.  In the case of agro-processing for foodgrains &  oil seeds like dal mill, soyabean processing & oil processing units etc. at the village level will also be promoted.
We want to develop  Maharashtra in agro-processing sector, to top most position in the country similar to that of horticulture development.   We have plan to achieve it by providing basic post harvest infrastructure facility in coming 10 years.

4.What are the achievements/incentives government raised in drawing outside entrepreneurs/investors in agri industry sector?
Agriculture Export Zone (AEZ)
Already the state has stared implementation of Agri Export Zones (AEZ).  The State has announced eight (8) Agri Export Zone for important crops being implemented through various Agencies in the State.  The concept of Agri Export Zones attempts to take comprehensive look at particulars produce/products located in a continuous area for the purpose of developing and sourcing the raw material their processing/packing, leading to final export.
Promotion of exports
As a leading agricultural State in the country, today the state of Maharashtra has a major say in country’s agriculture sector and continues to play a role in export of agriculture produce and products from the country.  Large portion of all horticulture produce exported from the country are from Maharashtra.
Similarly the state has major contribution to exports of cashew nut & Mango from the country today and it has a potential to increase exports of agricultural produce and value added processed foods from the State.
Incentives for export awareness amongst farmers
Government of India has sanctioned Agricultural Export Zones (AEZ) for  Mango (Alphanso & Kesar), Pomegranate & Onion, On the same line AEZ for Banana & Oranges are under consideration.  It is, therefore necessary to educate the farmers regarding importance and concept of AEZ and production technologies for export quality material as well as packaging, processing etc.  Pattern of assistance will be Rs.50/- per farmer per day .This training will be organized in AEZ areas as well as remaining areas as per requirements.
Agro-Processing Industry in Maharashtra
Globalization & Technological changes introduced in the last decade or more have changed the outlook of the food processing industry in the state. Processing of agro-horticultural produce is now-a-days emerging as one of the basic activity in our economy due to its labour intensiveness & employment generating potential.
Wide availability of varied agri-horticultural produce due to varied range of climate & soil conditions offers tremendous scope to flourish state’s processing industry to increase the processing & value addition from present 1.5% to reach upto 35% of total produce.  Even today the growth of the processing industry in the state has been guided largely by availability of infrastructure facilities and convenient markets, besides the ready availability of raw material.  This necessitates integrated efforts to build up sustainable climate & to attract private investments in this sector.
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State initiatives to support agro-processing industry
State is promoting Agro-processing industry with the help of GOI, APEDA, NHB, MOFPI etc.
946 processing units are registered under FPO with total established processing capacity of 3.75 lakh MT.
Under various State and Central Govt. scheme following processing units are established in the state.  Details are as follows :
*Cashewnut processing
units                       1935
* Fruit juice vending units                           1474
* Turmeric processing unit                                                       433
* Spice processing unit                                                                 1218
* Medicinal & Aromatic
plant processing unit                             28
* Common facility center
for value addition                                364
(Agro processing)
* Units for value addition
of Basmati Rice                               6

Totally 159 different unit related to value addition of horticultural products are established in the year of 2005-06 under National Horticulture Mission for which subsidy of Rs.110.91 lakh is made available to encourage these entrepreneurs. State initiatives in this regard are geared up by entrepreneurship development & self-employment generation in the state, mostly in the rural & Suburban areas. Food Processing industry in the state has geared up introduction of Food Park concept.

At present 2 Food Parks & 2 Wine Parks are set up in the state to provide basic common industrial facilities to the processors.  State has created the separate Division for Agro-processing and Agribusiness headed by Director Agro-processing and Agribusiness in the Department of Agriculture to have special focus on Agro-processing sector.
It is proposed to develop model processing village in each district on pilot basis.  Which would certainly bring about the drastic change in present scenario of the state’s Agro-processing industry in due course of time.

The special economic zone (SEZ) is now a major controversy?  How you are protecting farmers interest vs corporate sector?
The Special Economic Zones are expected to play a stellar role in the growth of exports from the country.  Maharashtra with its locational advantage contributes 45% of the  total exports from the country.
The State has promptly responded to the initiative of the  Central Government to promote the setting up of Special Economic Zones as engines of  growth by passing the SEZ Bill.
The provisions in the Bill are aimed at providing an enabling environment and assuring the State’s commitment for promoting SEZs.  The State has been receiving steady flow to proposals from private developers to set up SEZs.
The MIDC will also set up Multi Product and Product Specific SEZs.  The State will also encourage setting up of SEZs in Public – Private Partnership.
The State will also notify certain MIDC areas as Designated Areas, as Designated Areas, which will be eligible to get all the benefits of SEZs except the fiscal benefits.
It will enable MIDC to set up empowered Township Authorities fully equipped to provide world class infrastructure through Public Private Partnership.

There is a talk on contract farming legislation to insure right support for major agri products/Is your government thinking about this contract farming legislation?
Promotion of Contract Farming –
Due to globalization export and import of various agriculture and horticultural  commodities have been increased to a greater extent.
For this purpose, it is necessary to increase the productivity as well as quality of the various agriculture and horticulture commodities.  Small and marginal farmers are more in numbers in the state.
It is therefore difficult to get the quality  material for exports.  In the same way it is necessay to invest more capital for more production.
Due to poor economical condition of small & marginal farmers, it is not possible to invest the large capital in their fields for quality production.
Private entrepreneurs, private societies, Co-op societies can bring the waste land under cultivation.
Awarness campaigns need to be organized and information regarding exports, processing, marketing should be made available to the farmers.
Awareness compaign District level seminar, Assistance for promotion of contract farming to the farmer’s group, etc.

How self-sufficient is Maharashtra food grain production?
The Agriculture is a major contributor for the food processing industries.  Considering the huge potential of processed food in the country, the processing industries has huge potential for employment generation, as well as income generation to the agrarian economy through value addition.  In China, 23% of the agri produce is being processed, however in India, it is hardly 7%.
The majority Indian rural population are farmers out of 69% as per the agriculture census .  The urbanization in India is increasing at 42% which offered main potential for processed food.
The agriculture produce including fruits, vegetable and others are of perishable nature, if not consumed in time, it goes to waste.  The total wastage is accounted for more than Rs.50,000  crores in the country as per the parliamentary committee report.
Surplus production of Agriculture if processed and consumed, it will add to value addition which will help in the increasing GDP of country, as GDP is accounted on the farm income & not on production & hence it shows a clear-cut interlink between agricultural produce & food processing industries which can be the second evergreen revolution of the state and nation.
The wastage of Agriculture produce is estimated 30-40%.  Considering this huge wastage in Agriculture at National level Govt. of India has created a separate department of agro-processing, in 1999.  State Govt. of Maharashtra has started Agro-Processing & Agri-Business department as a in the month of March 2006.
This department is acting as a nodel agency for promotion of the food processing industries jointly with the help of different departments of Govt. of India like Ministry of Food Processing Industries, National Horticulture Board, Small Farmers Agribusiness consortium, National Horticulture Mission, SIDBI & many more state level corporations.  Promotion of agro-based food processing industries by giving financial support in the form of subsidy or venture capital to encourage maximum number of food processing units in the state.  Which will certainly help in bringing down the huge wastage occurring from harvest to marketing.
Hence food processing industries will play a very vital role in adding value to farm produce help farmers by bringing them above the poverty line.  Robust Agriculture growth rate of 4% if achieved, the dream of Govt. of India to attain 10% of the GDP is possible.
The total geographical area of Maharashtra is 304 lakh ha. Out of that 206.40 lakh ha. Cropped area under various crops.  The cropwise area is as given below :

Any other major points you would like to make regarding Maharashtra Government achievements?
Participation in International Exhibitions.
Export quality material produced in the country should receive attention by the  importers.To tap the foreign market, exposure visit of the farmers/exporters/organizations Govt. officials to international exhibitions becomes necessary.
Therefore, it is proposed to  give assistance to visit the international exhibition to the tune of 25% of the expenditure incurred on travel up to Rs.25,000/- to Farmer/co-operative/entrepreneurs/exporters/NGOs/crop growers organization Govt. officials are eligible for benefit under this component.  Govt. of Maharashtra will be empowered to debit 100% expenses on Govt. officials, visiting such exhibitions, on merit.
Intervention in view of WTO regime
While world markets are opening up very fast it is a change-over time for Indian farmers from subsistence farming to commercial farming.  With the open market policy, we have got opportunities to push our agro produce in the international markets.  On the other hand accession of goods from other countries to India is also expected which will pose challenges to the domestic producers.  None the less, the domestic market is also very large and has remained unexploited To protect our domestic market share and increase exports, improvement in the areas of cultivation practices, post harvest handling and processing is a must.
To achieve this, state government has identified certain key areas to build the  capacity in the department in order to facilitate the farmers to face the challenges and  opportunities mentioned above.
Establishment of Residue Testing Laboratory
Considering the importance of pesticide residues in export quality material.  Residue testing laboratories one at Pune & other at Nagpur have been established in the State to cater the need of residue testing in entire State.
Establishment of Vapour Heat Treatment Plant
The countries especially Japan, Australia, America requires mango, free from fruits fly & stone weevil for which VHT plant is required MSAMB with the help of APEDA have established these facility at Vashi (New Mumbai).
Establishment of processing units
Maharashtra with varied climate existing in nine agro-climatic zones successfully cultivate almost all tropical and sub tropical fruits & vegetables.  Maharashtra plays a major role in India’s horticulture as its production of fruits is 12% and of vegetables is 10% of the total produce of India.
The exports contribution from Maharashtra for fresh fruit & vegetables to the India’s basket is 32% and that the share under processed food is nearly 50%.  With the availability of varied range of agricultural produce, the state provides great potential for agribusiness.  With this broad view in mind, state proposes to develop infrastructure to speed up processing industry.
Agro processing industry is the backbone of the food processing industry as it takes care of glut and all possible waste.  Value addition always fetch an additional income to the growers and helps in stabilizing the prices and providing handsome economic returns.
Hence, primary processing industry at farm level should be encouraged and  developed.  Considering this fact processing unit at farm level having low cost technology is proposed under this scheme.
Cashew processing Fruit Processing, Spices/turmeric/ginger processing will be promoted under this scheme.  The subsidy quantum will be 25% of the capital expenditure upto Rs.5.00 lakh per unit.
Farmers, Co-Operative, NGOs, Farmers groups, Crop growers association, Semi Govt. Institutions, Statutory bodies, Public sector organizations as well as individuals are eligible for benefit under this component.  The provision of Rs.60.00 Lakh is proposed for the  year 2004-05 under this component.
Establishment of infrastructure for Marketing
Agricultural marketing is much more complicated and difficult in view of number of basic constraints.  Marketing is predominantly traditional as it does not have strong network of post harvest services, infrastructural facilities and marketing systems.  Similarly, market intelligence amongst the farmers needs to be created by dissemination of information related to production, marketing etc.
Establishment of Agro/Market Information Centers
It is necessary to provide the information of market rates of various agricultural and horticultural commodities prevailing in the state/country as well as international markets to the growers to enable them to take appropriate decisions in sending their produce to a particular market.
At the same time information related to innovative technology developed in the field of agriculture needs to be given to the farmers.  It is therefore proposed to provide the financial assistance to establish market information centres in the state..
Opening of the Retail Outlet as a Market support for fruits & Vegetable
Marketing of the perishable commodities like fruits and vegetables have ever remained a problem with the farmers.  Retail outlets will be opened at various places in the country by farmers co-operative society, Self help groups, NGOs, APMC, Crops growers Association and Private individuals.
This assistance would be given for establishment of infrastructure required for marketing of fruits and vegetables.  It is therefore proposed to provide the financial assistance at the 25% of the cost upto Rs.5.00 lakh per outlet.  Financial assistance is proposed to create infrastructure facilities like retail outlets sheds, stores, cold storage, refrigerated van, packing, grading, washing, weighing, extension advisory center, computers etc.
This scheme is being implemented in the state since 2000-01.  The provision of Rs.60.00 lakh is proposed for the year 2004-05 under this component.
Grape wine Park :-
The area under grape in the state is 32465 ha. and production is 9 lakh M.T.  However, these grapes are table purpose grapes.  The plantation of special varieties suitable for wine making is in progress.  Wine park at Palus, Dist. Sangli and Vinchur, Dist Nasik is under establishment.  Due to this wine park common facilities will be available to the processers.  District covered under AEZ are Nasik, Sangli and MIDC is a nodal agency.
Food Park
To promote Agro processing and export’s special efforts to establish a Food Park at Butibori, Nagpur to provide infrastructural facilities in a centralised manner for the handling Packing and processing industries is also being established by Maharashtra agro Industries Corporation and Agriculture Department.  In addition to this one more Food Park is being established at Shirwal, Dist. Satara by Chordia Group with the financial assistance from Ministry of Food processing, Govt. of India.
A floriculture export zone at Talegaon is being established by MAIDC.  For implementation of Food processing schemes of Ministry of Food Processing.  Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation, Mumbai is declared as “Nodel Agency” in the State.

In other states there is major progress in deploying IT tools to agriculture/rural sector what is the progress in Maharashtra?
Use of Information Technology in Agriculture
Introduction : The agriculture sector in Maharashtra has registered substantial growth in the last three decades.  However further dent in growth and productivity is possible only through a holistic approach and micro level agricultural planning.
A High Level Committee to prepare an action plan for agriculture for coming 25 years was constituted by the Government of Maharashtra under the chairmanship of Dr. M.S.Swaminathan with Commissioner Agriculture, Maharashtra State as Member Secretary in December 2001.  This committee submitted and has given useful recommendations to improve this scenario in coming 25 years.  Use of IT and ICT is one of the most important recommendations among other 347 recommendations given in the report.
2) Goals & Objectives
1. Establishment of IT Network for e-Governance and Agriculture Extension.
2. To develop need based software and database for quick & efficient disposal of workload.
– Use of GIS and Remote sensing techniques for micro level planning of villages and  watersheds.
3. IT enable Human resource
– Update and upgrade Agriculture knowledge and skill of the department’s extension workers with the help of IT.
– Promote CBT based agriculture trainings to the departments staff and farmers.
– Enrich IT skills of various extension workers in villages like Shetimitra, information center operators.
3) Scope of  Information Technology in Agriculture :-
Past experiences reveal that, State’s agriculture and the farmers frequently get into the crunch of two monsters namely Market and Monsoon.  Both the entities being most vulnerable, the only way to overcome them lies in the predictions.  The WTO regimes have definitely changed the domestic and global agriculture scenario.
Timely and accurate information is essential for making right decisions.  It is widely acceptable that information plays a significant role in the new economy standards of agriculture, where success mainly depends on having access to the right information at the right time.  The diversity and dynamism of agriculture makes it a cumbersome and difficult to gather and disseminate the information.
It can be achieved only through Information Technology.  The few of the important areas where use of IT is inevitable are Agriculture Extension, Marketing, Agricultural Diagnostic Services, Weather and Disaster forecasting and Management, Agriculture Inputs management, Agricultural Engineering.  Consolidation and delivery of Advancing Technology, Globalization, E-Governance and Statistics etc.
Department of Agriculture is gradually stepping up to apply Information Technology for handling these areas effectively.
Funds under work plan were received from GOI since 2001-02 upto 2005-06.  Computerisation in the field of Agriculture has been attempted through Infrastructure development, Internet/Email  connectivity, and software/Web site development, HRD, GIS/Remote Sensing, Establishment of Village/Market Information Centers and  Launching a statewide ambitious project of MAHA-AGRISNET.  The present status of these activities is elaborated below.
4) Status of Computerisation :
Hardware Infrastructure :
Computers & Printers are available upto Taluka Offices and Agro-Poly Clinics.  The available hardware is put to optimum use for day-to-day functioning as well as extension activities.  The hardware procurement was initially done with the help of NIC, Pune.  Majority of the hardware upto taluka level offices has been supplied directly by the Government.  Recently with the  availability of various rate contracts, the purchase is done strictly through those.  The details of the hardware profile has been elaborated in
Software Development :
With the help of National Informatics Center, Pune (NIC) 24 On line/Off line application soft wares have been developed.
C.D Development :
C.D is a very effective tool for imparting knowledge and training to the farmers as well as field level extension workers.  Video and interactive CDs on 85 important subjects have been developed mainly in Marathi language and distributed to the field offices.  These CDs are effectively used in various staff as well as Farmer trainings, Farmer rallies and exhibitions etc. for illustrating advance technology.
Capacity Building :
For effective use of computers, over 7000 employees have completed the basic training of computer.  In addition more training on usage of the different application soft wares are conducted with the help of NIC as and when required.
E-Mail/Internet Facility :
At present E-Mail facility is available upto Taluka level offices and is effectively used for transferring various data and reports.
Mahanet connectivity with Lotus notes has also been provided to the taluka offices.  WAN set up is established in the Headquarters that is Commissionerate Office, Pune to optimize the used computer infrastructure.  Total 150 nodes are connected which are provided with Internet by using a lease line.  LAN setup has also been established at the Divisional and district offices.
Web site :
With the help of National Informatics Center (NIC), the Depts. Of Agriculture of Maharashtra has launched its own bilingual web site http://agri.mah.nic.in since Oct. 2000.  This web site consists of all the information about Advance Agriculture Technology and Departmental activities.
Daily Rainfall, List of Beneficiaries, Citizen Charter, Right for Information Act, are some of the main features of the A web site for official use http://intraagri.mah.nic.in has been launched to facilitate use of online software developed by the department.
Online registration of grape gardens for export to European union carried out on APEDA website.
This has made the registration easy, time saving and transparent.  The data is available to Exporters, PSC authority, Residue laboratories, NRC grape and APEDA.
GIS based project :
With the help of Regional Remote Sensing Center Nagpur, a GIS based Pilot Project for land resources and development of Agro and soil information is completed 5 Watershed, two Area/production estimation and one Disaster estimation projects are implemented.  A pilot project of estimation of village wise/taluka wise Sugarcane area in Kolhapur district has been awarded to MRSAC, Nagpur.

Market/Village Information centers :
Establishment of the Information outlet or an internet based center at key locations was very necessary to disseminate the information to the large mass of farmers.  Almost 228 Internet based market/village information centers have been assisted financially.  These centers are either located at the APMCs, ATMA centers or NGOs working in the field of Agriculture.  A Pilot Project on WiLL (Wireless in local loop) connectivity based information KIOSKs was undertaken in Baramati and at Pabal in Pune District.

5) MAHA-AGRISNET :-
Road Map for agriculture development for next 25 years is prepared by a committee headed by the eminent scientist Dr. M.S.Swaminathan.  One of the suggestions of the committee is to establish an IT Network for Agriculture Extension.  The concept is to use the Information Technology to disseminate the Agriculture Technology to the farmers.  Agriculture Market Information, Pest & disease diagnosis, Weather forecast, Internet browsing and e-mail are some of the added services to be made available.  The Department of Agriculture, State Agriculture Universities, State Marketing Board, Agriculture Research Institutions, Finance Institutes, Input manufacturers, Advisor, Agro processing industry & Experts will be participating under one roof in this project.
The State Agricultural Universities have done valuable research to improve crop performance.  Consolidation and digitization of this work is necessary to make it available on web sites and for easy retrenching.  Some of the innovative farmers have invented their own package practices.  It is proposed to make this information available in a digitized form and  made available in MAHA-AGRISNET.
The 18.00 crores Project is sanctioned by GOI and the funds are being made available.  The project is to be completed in three years time frame.  Steps are initiated to implement this project.

Information Technology in Agriculture
The process of computerization of the Agriculture department was initiated in the year 1992.  The main objectives behind computerization were to facilitate the information transfer within the department to expedite the decision making tasks and to improve efficiency of the staff.  Rapid and effective dissemination of advance technology and agricultural information to the farmers and few staff is the main focus of the whole process.  The state govt. has approved the project for establishing Network Agriculture Extension for (MAHAAGRINET) of an amount of Rs.1 crore is sanctioned for the year 2003-04 for the year 2004-05, Rs.1.75 crore has been approved.
The Highlights of the computerization process are as follows :
1. Hardware Infrastructure upto block level offices
2. Internet/Email facility upto block level offices
3. Inhouse Development 16 Agriculture & Department related software
4. Training to more than 5000 staff in Information Technology applications
5. Website (agri.mah.nic.in) consisting of huge technical, Departmental and statistical information.
6. Development of 5 Interactive CD’s in local language for staff as well as farmers training in technical aspects and agriculture.
7. 6 Pilot projects in the application of GIS and Remote sensing in Agriculture
8. Establishment of 21 market information centers and 9 Information Technology shops.  Presently focus is given for establishment of Information centers in rural and development of Interactive CD’s and applications of Remote sensing techniques.
The CDs available with the department on payments are
1. Pik margadarshika (Cereals)
2. Pik margadarshika (pulses)
3. Pik margadarshika (oil seeds, cash crops)
4. Krishi jaiv tantradnya
5. Aekatmik annadravya vyavasthapan
6. Matha te payatha
7. Kapus – Aekatmik kid vyavasthapan
8. Thibak sinchan
9. Amba-phalancha anabhishikta samrat
10. Maharashtratil panlot vikasachya yashogatha
11. Nandanvan (koradvahu phalapike)
12. Gandulkhat
13. Blue revolution (pani vyavasthapan)
14. Pik margadarshika (new – prepared by NATP. Ahmednagar)

Region based  Crop strategies
Konkan
–Paddy – Increase area under Hy. Rice, Use of Urea DAP briquettes, Popularising “Chatu-Sutri”-Four point paddy production technology
–Cashewnut – Area expansion , Productivity enhancement , Promotion of organic cashew
–Mango –  Area expansion under Alphonso , Post harvest management including better transportation of mango, Adoption of GAP
–Construction of Konkan Jalkund, Check dams, Diversion Bundhara
•Western Maharashtra & Khandesh
–Sugarcane – increase productivity & release area for foodgrains and soybean
–Soybean – increase area & productivity
–Grapes & Banana – major stress on export
–Pomegranate –  area expansion in DPAP blocks
–Floriculture & high value vegetables-  cultivation under controlled conditions
–Promote organic fruits & vegetables
–More emphasis on ICM & IPM for horticultural crops like Pomegranate, Grapes
–Promote floriculture & Cold chain
•Marathwada
–Cotton – Increase the yield & promote Clean & quality cotton
–Maize –  Increase the area for cattle feed & industrial use
–Oilseeds & pulses – Bridge the yield gaps
–Promote the cultivation of sweet oranges,  mangoes & banana
–Kharif sorghum – Promote industrial use
–Discourage the cultivation of sugarcane and divert the area under soybean & gram
–Promote protective irrigation through the farm ponds, dug wells and other water harvesting structures
VIDARBHA
•Paddy-   SRI method for increasing productivity
•Soybean- increase the area & productivity
•Cotton- promoting Clean & quality cotton through contract farming, reduction in cost of cultivation through INM & IPM
•Organic cotton & mandarin promotion campaign
•Pulses – promoting as intercrop in soybean and cotton
•Mandarin Orange – improving the quality & productivity through improved packages of cultivation and quality planting material
•Promoting PHM of mandarin orange through better packing , transportation & preservation
•Promoting Public Private partnership to develop clusters of pulses, vegetables, flowers & fruits for the ultimate market in the urban areas
•Water harvesting through farm ponds, dug wells, check dams, malgujari tanks & bodis

Various strategies are adopted by Maharastra Government to make agriculture a viable and profitable business venture for the farming families.
* Bridging Yield Gaps through
* Supply of Quality input
* Effective extension
* Improving agriculture Research & extension interaction
* Promoting FFS by emphasizing skill transfer to staff as well as farmers
* Emphasizing Soil Health Programme
* Diversified farming which includes Horticulture, Dairy & Animal Husbandry and Watershed infrastructure
* Increasing & improvement in irrigation – improving irrigation, coverage of watershed, Massive Farm pond programme & drip irrigation
* Improvement in  Market Infrastructure
collaboration with the external agencies
* Improvement in Communication  – Roads, ICT & Strengthening the enter relationship by convergence
* Empowering Farmer through
* Market & Price discovery
* Training in  skills to earn higher income
* Preparing for exploiting global opportunities in fruits & vegetables
* While emphasising dual  approach increase in farmers income  food security, will be given  equal importance.

Infrastructure
• Villages (40412) connected by
• All weather roads       :  38483
• Fair weather roads     : 1397
• APMCs         : 294
• Cotton Ginning Units     :  459
• Ginning & pressing Units:  405
• Primary Agril. Societies     : 21000         (Members- 120 lakh)
• Agricultural Universities     :  4
• Agricultural colleges      : 88
( 25 Govt. & 61 Pvt., 2 aided)
Details on Organic Farming
Area under Organic
cultivation       6.50 Lakh Ha.
Area Registered for
Certification    1.14 Lakh Ha.
Certified      0.42 lakh Ha.
Under conversion      0.72 lakh Ha.
‘ Total Vermicompost
units     1.26 lakh
‘ Total Biodynamic
compost depot      2.02 lakh
‘ Identified Service
Provider 91      N.G.O.
‘ Developed Model
Organic Farm      37 farms
‘ Major Crops :Cotton, Cereals, Fruits  & Vegetables etc.

Recent Initiatives
Maharashtra Agriculture Productivity   Improvement Campaign
* Krishi Vigyan Mandal , Farmer Field Scools
* Soil health  improvement projectSoil Health Cards ( 3.5 lakh), organic matter recycling
* Efficient use of Water  In-situ moisture conservation, micro irrigation ( 5.51 lakh ha.)
* Crop Planning according to agro climatic conditions Selection of crops suitable to available soil & climate
* Increasing Seed Replacement rate
Seed Village Programme  ( 5 lakh Qtls)
* To increase fertilizer use efficiency, Soil testing, Efficiency of Inputs to be used
* Plant Protection: Integrated Pest Management  -cost reduction method.
* Massive programme for distribution of soil analysis including micro nutrients & distribution of Soil Health Cards
* A massive drive of testing 2,20,000 soil samples (5 from each village) are taken during 2008-09 .
* Help to generate fertility index maps for all the villages
* This maps in turn will enable us to bring qualitative improvement in nutrient management.

Agriculture Infrastructure
•    Six National Research  Centres
•    Cotton, Orange, Pomegranate, Grape, Onion & Soil Survey
•    Post  Harvest Training Centre at Talegaon, Dist-Pune, One of its kind in Country
•    Crop based organisations – MAHA GRAPE, MAHA MANGO, MAHA BANANA,   Pomegranate, Floriculture association, Orange
•    Soil Testing Labs     – 118 (29 Public , 89 Private)
•    Residue Testing Labs – 2        Bio- control labs  –    10
•    Fertiliser testing labs  –  5        Pesticide Testing Labs- 4
•    Seed Testing Labs    –      3
•    Agro polyclinic    –    231
•    Taluka Seed Farm    –     194
•    Horticulture nurseries  –     1373

S.No.    Crop    Achievement 2006-07    Production 2006-07
(Lakh Ha)    (Lakh M.T)

1.      Cereals    96.21    94.88
2.      Pulses    35.21    19.96
3.      Oil Seeds    25.69      20.00
4.       Sugarcane    5.03        373.82
5.       Cotton     29.17      26.29
6.       Fruit crops       8.63      115.17
7.       Vegetables                                     4.57    60.00
8.       Spices                                             1.76    14.57
9.       Flowers                                           0.13       0.69

Contact :  Commissioner  Agriculture, Commissionarate of Agriculture, Maharashtra
Central Building 2’nd floor, Pune 411 001  Phone  : (020) 26123648 / 26126150
Fax  : (020) 26127707  Email : agripa.mah@nic.in

Source : Agriculture & Industry Survey [/hidepost]

  • Dr S.S.Nakat

    Dear sir
    great to learn aout the ms agriculture .I would like to add about the exporting pomegranate & stumbling block than grapes where farmers need to spray for the asthetic value from fungal diseases . There is other thing which needs a special attention of the Maharashtra govt to help out the industrious progressive farmers of pomegranate, a sturdy crop of the dry land belt 86 Taluks today giving the highest profit per acre .needs todivert the s cane water & solve the problems of the residues as it is sprayed close to harvest with the fungicides for the quality We need to work out the startegy for the export of the grains edible part in punnates Today this crop is taken at a highest acreages 90000 ha highest in the world with a best MPKV researched BHAGAVA variety We (Pome farmers) hold the HEALTH SECURITY OF THE modern WORLD who are suffering from the modern diseases curable with the pomegranate alzemiers ,Atheroclerosis, blood pressure, Cancer,Cardovascular diseases, Diabets, HIVAIDS , multiple sclerosis,have a great anti oxidant properties ,a great scope for the juice concentrate to be sold in capsule for curing the Cancers & other diseases.This will definitely bring a greater prosperity to the farmers of Maharashtra as a pharmaceutical company as the world population is suffering with these modern diseases without any side effects .

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  • ASHWINI

    Respected sir,
    i am currently learning post graduation in (agricultural engg.)soil and water conservation engg.-department(M.Tech)(AG Engg.)FROM O.U.A.T. There is 1 month training course & i m interestingin Remote sensing. Can i take a training in Nagpur RS center? Is there any fascility, opportunity to students like me? i m from Solapur Dist. plz give me some information.
    thanking you.

  • Ketaki Pendse

    Respected Sir,
    Information is outstandin. I want to Know about futureof Agriculture Engineers in this.

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  • harish

    its good then add more information

  • NISHITH JAIN

    what about the cotton farmers they are still in bad shape, onion farmers did not benifit from increased onion prices sir and so on and so forth

  • yogesh shirsat

    respected sir,
    i’m post graduate in agri.i want tostart my own business togather with my friend,what are the options avilable in maharashtra for agri based business/pls suggest me.
    thanking u..

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  • vitthal natikar

    i want to start my pemogranate & coconut export in solapur, what ur suggetion for me, plz reply

  • vikas katkar

    Respected sir
    i am currently working in social work ,i am starting a new NGO with my local member . I am compliting BEIT from bharti vidhypeth puna. I want to start a milk production and fartilization plant from karad. plz give me information about facility of goverment and what ur suggetion for me.
    plz reply.