AGRICULTURE TRIBUNE Monday, June 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India

Achieving employment target through agriculture sector
Suraj Bhan Dahiya
he Prime Minister’s special group on the creation of 50 million jobs during the 10th Five-Year Plan period has established that nearly 20 million job opportunities should come from specific employment generation programme and an additional 30 million from growth buoyancy.

Asia’s useful trees and plants
K.L. Noatay
ilver fir is a large evergreen Himalayarn pine tree attaining a considerable height and girth. The scientific name and the species being Abies pindrow, it belongs to the plant family Coneferae. Regional and local names are tosh, poplar, badar, budar, tung, kulrai, satrai, etc. Some scientists call it Abies webiana.

Farm operations for June

Bamboo blossoms in Tripura after four decades, raising hopes of increase in plantation.
In Video
(28k, 56k)




Achieving employment target through agriculture sector
Suraj Bhan Dahiya

The Prime Minister’s special group on the creation of 50 million jobs during the 10th Five-Year Plan period has established that nearly 20 million job opportunities should come from specific employment generation programme and an additional 30 million from growth buoyancy.

Trade, hotels and restaurants are expected to generate the highest number of jobs — 11.23 million — followed by agriculture (9.47 million jobs). It is expected that by the terminal year of the 10th Five-Year Plan (2006-07), 19 per cent of the employed will be working in the primary sector, 30 per cent in the secondary sector and 52 per cent in the services sector. The additional job opportunities to be created in agriculture during the 10th Plan would be 0.41 million growth-based and 9.06 programme-based.

The agriculture sector has a high job potential if adequate policy changes are introduced and sufficient funds are pumped into this resource-starved sector. However, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and Co-operation in its 30th report has observed that continuously for years together, less than 50 per cent of the amount (demanded) is being allocated by the Planning Commission i.e. less than half the requirement of the funds is being met. Then how does the government propose to double the agriculture production in 10 years as envisaged with 50 per cent fund required to undertake schemes to increase agriculture production?

The Department of Agriculture had sought an outlay of Rs 18,253,81 crore for the Ninth Five-Year Plan, but was provided Rs 7,813,69 crore which was only 43 per cent of the demand. Again during the 10th Plan as against a demand of Rs 25,000 crore, the sector was given Rs 13,000 crore which was just 52.8 per cent of the demand. Therefore, the target of 10 million jobs a year seems to be a distant dream.

The National Council of Applied Economic Research has projected agriculture growth of just 3.8 per cent during the year 2001-2002 in contrast to an estimated farm sector growth of 5.7 per cent on which the government pins its hope of economic revival. Under growth is attributed to the fact that the incremental income generated in agriculture by and large goes to the non-farm sector. Nearly 58 per cent of the incremental income is passed on to the rest of the economy and this has been proved in a recent study conducted by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington. This suggests that even from the overall growth point of view of the country it is necessary to lay prime emphasis on agriculture and allied activities not only for its low capital output ratio but also its contribution to the rest of the economy and their ability to generation employment.

The Finance Minister says that if we want to target 7 to 8 per cent growth, we have to give a lot of emphasis on freedom of agriculture. Our research shows that 3 per cent growth in agriculture would translate into 2.6 per cent growth for the manufacturing sector and 1.7 per cent for the overall gross domestic product. Infact, we need a new revolution — the herbal revolution to give freedom to farmers. Farmers should be involved in export business. They must also be encouraged to start their own agro-processing units.

Herbal revolution is basically an agricultural enterprise. India is ideally poised to lead the world in herbal business. This is the century of the digital, herbal and spiritual fields. All three are areas where India has an enviable place in the world. The herbal industry is worth $61 billion today and would grow to $5 trillion by the year 2020. And it is a fantastic opportunity. If not India, which nation is ideally suited to bringing in the herbal revolution?

Raising the growth target to 10 per cent is not feasible because even the 8 per cent growth target is under heavy financial constraint. Therefore, the only alternative left to solve the unemployment problem is to adopt labour intensive patterns of agricultural production so that within a feasible growth rate, the employment targets can be achieved.


Asia’s useful trees and plants
K.L. Noatay

Silver firSilver fir is a large evergreen Himalayarn pine tree attaining a considerable height and girth. The scientific name and the species being Abies pindrow, it belongs to the plant family Coneferae. Regional and local names are tosh, poplar, badar, budar, tung, kulrai, satrai, etc. Some scientists call it Abies webiana.

Natural habitat of silver fir starts from nearly 2000 m above mean sea level and goes up to 3300 m or so. Geographically it starts from Bhutan in the East and goes up to Afghanistan in the West. Its common associates are spruce, thuja, kail, walnut, poplar, oak, acer, taxus, etc. The tree can be seen growing in cool pockets of deodar forest as well.

Silver fir can be easily identified in the field by mature tree’s graceful tallness, dark green needle-like foliage, smooth silver white bark of young poles and dark grey to greyish brown, deeply cleft and vertically fissured bark of mature trees.

Tosh, being a pine of upper reaches of the Himalayan ranges, it flourishes best in tracts having temperature from 32°C to 12°C, and experiencing 1100 mm to 2500 mm of precipitation, partly in the form of monsoon rains and partly as winter snowfall. It prefers deep calcarious soil and avoids dry and exposed aspect.

Silver fir loves shade when young, but once fully established it matures faster in pockets and getting good sun. Its root system is generally superficial and, therefore, it is quite susceptible to uprooting by wind and storm.

Compact stands of fir are generally less susceptible to forest fires. But if any burning somehow occurs on the forest floor, the damage to this tree specifically is considerable because it is extremely sensitive to even smoke.

The leaves of silver fir are 5 to 7 cm long, thin and linear-like flattened needles, arranged on woody twigs in two opposite vertical rows. Their tips are notched. Upper side is dark green and the lower side has two pale glaucous bands on either side of the mid-rib, which is prominently raised. New leaves sprout in April-May. These usually stay on the woody shoots for three to six years. On colder aspect these may continue even up to eight years. The shedding of the mature needles occurs during May-June — soon after the new ones sprout.

Flowering on silver fir also takes place during April — May. The male and females flowers grow separately, but simultaneously on the same plant. The male flowers are 1 to 2 cm long catkins. Female cones are generally solitary — occasionally in pairs, erect and close to the tips of the shoots. Mature cones are cylindrical, erect, egg-shaped, 10 to 16 cm long and 4 to 8 cm in diameter. These take nearly 12 to 14 months to ripen and yield viable seed for natural regeneration and or artificial propagation. The scales of the cone are thin, obovate and have rounded edges. The seed is held securely inside scales, is 10 to 12 mm long, with 1 to 2 cm long wing. These are shed out of the cones automatically once the latter are fully mature towards the on set of winter.

Silver fir is a slow growing species. Nevertheless its wood, nearly white in colour, is straight grained and soft. It does have resin in its ducts but the quantum thereof is very little. This wood weighs nearly 14 to 15 kg per cubic foot. It is not very durable and, therefore, not very popular as a construction timber. It tends to deteriorate when exposed to vagaries of weather and/or excessive heat and moisture. As a result, like spruce, fir wood too is used for making shingles, ceiling planks, cheap wall paneling, packing cases, tea chests, match sticks and boxes. However, knot-free fir wood in good length, width and thickness is highly prized for structure of aircraft.

So far as regeneration of silver fir is concerned, once its natural forest having sufficient seed bearers, is closed to grazing and other biotic factors, the regeneration comes up naturally. The process is comparatively easier on the slopes having mixed broad-leaved trees to afford cool shady environment to young tender seedlings germinating on the forest floor out of the seed landing on the ground below and around the mature mother trees. However, as good-seed years are not so frequent, i.e. these occur only once in six to 10 years or so, human assistance is necessary to help the regeneration to come up. The foresters, therefore, clear the forest floor of excessive leaf litter and any debris of recent timber extraction operation. They then hoe the ground in patches at a prescribed spacing and broad-cast the seed collected from other forests to ensure natural regeneration to a desired extent.

For artificial regeneration, nursery beds are raised. These are laid in deep sandy loam soil. Sowing in beds is done in November-December i.e., before snowfall. Germination occurs in March-April after the snow melts. Transplanting of nearly 15-month-old nursery seedlings is done during next monsoons or following winter.


Farm operations for June

Horticultural operations:

— Many fruit trees like citrus, mango, guava, etc. are carrying fruits crops. It is therefore, essential that the irrigation be given as proper interval. During this month, apply irrigation at 3 or 4 days’ intervals to grapes. The young litchi plants need irrigation twice a week during this period at reduces cracking of fruits to a great extent and helps in proper size development.

— The young tender plants and newly planted plants should be protected from hot weather by giving white-washing or wrapping over the exposed trunk portions.

— The pruning of ber trees should be completed.

— The farmyard manure to ber trees should be applied after the completion of the pruning of ber trees. Inorganic fertilisers to guava should be added to encourage growth in July-August for getting the maximum flowering during August-September for winter season crop.

— To correct zinc deficiency in citrus, spray the trees with 0.3 % zinc sulphate solution without addition of lime to summer flush in June.

— Mango trees carrying good load of crop should be applied one additional kg of CAN during this month.

— To control insect-pests in citrus, spray 625 ml Nuvacron 36 SL or 670 ml Rogor 30 EC in 500 litres of water per acre. To control peach black aphid, spray 500 ml Malathion in 500 litres of water on the colonies on the stem and limbs as soon as the pest congregates on these parts. To control fruit fly in peach, pick and destroy the infested fruits by burying deep in the soil. Stir the soil well during this month to expose and kill the pupae. To control chaffer beetles on different fruit plants, spray one kg of carbaryl in 500 litres of water as soon as the damage starts.

— To control citrus scab, give spray of Bordeaux mixture 2:2:250. In mango spray Bordeaux mixture 2:2:250 at fortnightly interval for control of diseases. To check rotting of grape berries, spray grapevine with 0.2% Ziram at seven days’ interval. Stop spraying a week before harvesting the bunches. To control pear disease, spray Bordeaux mixture 2:2:250 or 0.3% copper oxychloride.

— Progressive Farming, PAU