4.12.1 In order to pursue its price support policy, the Government of India announces from time to time, the minimum support prices of principal crops. This necessitates the availability of relevant data on the cost of production of the crops concerned. To meet this requirement, a comprehensive survey of the Cost of Cultivation of Principal Crops was initiated in 1970-71. The survey is in operation in 16 States and covers 29 crops, the number and choice of crops in each State depending upon their importance to the State.
4.12.2 The Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (DESMOA) has the overall charge of implementing the survey programme through the Agricultural Universities in 13 States and general universities in three States by providing them cent per cent financial assistance. The survey design followed is that of three-stage stratified random sampling with the tehsil or taluka as the first stage unit, a cluster of villages as the second stage unit and an operational holding as the third and ultimate stage unit. The fieldwork consists of collecting from each sample household through the cost accounting method, data on all aspects of cultivation (inputs, outputs, prices paid and received) by keeping a detailed record on a day-to-day basis. The universities engage full time field men for this purpose. Training to the field staff is imparted by the universities and whenever necessary, supplemented by the DESMOA.
4.12.3 The Cost of Cultivation Studies are primarily intended for use by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). In addition, these data are used by the Central Statistical Organisation, Planning Commission, other Economic Ministries of Government of India as well as research organisations.
4.12.4It is reported that the data collected and processed under the scheme do not suffer from any serious deficiencies, and the only problem is shortage of manpower in the Central Analytical Unit of DESMOA, which results in delay in the availability of final results. This is, however, far from true. The CACP does not obtain timely and sufficient inputs from these studies, which are required in the fixing of the minimum prices. The requirements of the National Accounts Division of CSO are also not met adequately. Implementation of the scheme by the Agricultural Universities is reported to be unsatisfactory. The data entry and processing still make use of a DOS-based computer package called FARMAP provided by Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and no updating of the package has been undertaken. There has been no report on the results of the scheme until recently. (The DESMOA has now brought out a consolidated report.)
Conclusions and Recommendations
4.12.5 Cost of cultivation studies should continue in view of their importance in price administration of agricultural commodities and several studies relating to farm economy. Irrespective of the agency that is assigned this work, there should be a more focused attention to proper organisation and management of the studies. It is necessary to have an early review of the number of centres, methodology, sample size, the existing schedule and questionnaire, etc. The universities should be encouraged to tabulate and analyse the data for which they should be provided the necessary support. The DESMOA should endeavour to release the survey results with least possible delay, and any strengthening needed for improving the performance of the scheme should be immediately provided.
4.12.6 The Commission recommends that:
In view of the importance of the Cost of Cultivation Studies in the price administration of agricultural commodities and several studies relating to farm economy, the present programme should continue.
Focused attention should be paid to the proper organisation and management of the Cost of Cultivation Studies.
A review of the number of centres, methodology, sample size, the existing schedule and questionnaire, etc. of the Cost of Cultivation Studies should be undertaken.
The Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (DESMOA) should minimise the delay in bringing out the results of the Cost of Cultivation Studies.