Studies on cost of production of agricultural commodities have been of interest to research workers and policy-makers. The need for reliable and representative estimates about cost of production of agricultural crops is obvious for formulating an appropriate strategy for planned agricultural development.
In a vast country like India with marked variations in agro-climatic conditions, it becomes essential to collect State-wise, region-wise data on cost of production of various crops on a continuous basis. Recognizing the importance of such studies, the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Government of India, evolved a permanent arrangement for collection of cost of cultivation data on a continuous and uniform basis for all important crops in the country. The Directorate of Economics and Statistics decided to establish the Comprehensive Scheme for studying the cost of cultivation of principal crops in different states of India in 1968-69. The Directorate entrusted one such cost scheme to the Sardar Patel University for collecting cost of cultivation data in Gujarat. The University entrusted this Scheme to the Agro-Economic Research Centre. Since 1970, the AERC and the Comprehensive Scheme are working together in close collaboration for serving the needs of the Directorate of Economics and Statistics of Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.
The data base generated through the “Comprehensive Scheme for Studying Cost of Cultivation of Principal Crops in Gujarat” is used not only for the primary purpose of providing cost estimates for determination of Minimum Support Prices (MSP) but for a wide variety of other important purposes like ‘Compilation of National Accounts Statistics’, Wholesale Price Indices (WPI) and research studies relating to cost of cultivation and farm income.
Up to 1982, cost of cultivation data in Gujarat were collected from 480 sample cultivators spread over 40 clusters of villages through cost accounting method. Under the old arrangement (known as single crop approach) the clusters were changed every year retaining only a sub-sample of 10 to 20 clusters. Since 1983, the single crop approach has been replaced by crop complex approach under which the numbers of clusters have been increased from 40 to 60 thereby providing a wider and varied base for generation of reliable estimates. Now ten principal crops of Gujarat Viz., Bajra, Groundnut, Cotton, Arhar and Onion, Paddy, Wheat, Maize, and Rapeseed/Mustard and Sesamum are being studied continuously and simultaneously for three consecutive years in the same clusters of villages. At present, there is a sample of 600 cultivators (10 each from selected clusters) drawn from different size groups of holdings. The farm size groups are marginal (below 1.0 hectare), small (1.0 to 2.0 hectare), semi-medium (2.0 to 4.0 hectare), medium (4.0 to 6.0 hectare), and large (6.0 hectare and above).
The work of this Scheme is being looked after by 78 persons, out of which 60 are permanently posted in the villages spread over entire State of Gujarat. This Scheme is being fully financed by the Government of India.