The present study was undertaken with a view to assess the growth in fertilizer consumption and fertilizer use pattern, to examine the gap between actual use and recommended dose of fertilizer, to study the determinants of fertilizer use and to estimate the fertilizer use efficiency for selected major crops in Saurashtra region. Purposive random sampling technique was used for the selection of ... [Show full abstract] the sample. In all, 280 farmers were selected randomly, of which, 35 farmers were for each crop viz; groundnut, cotton bajra and wheat from South and North Saurashtra agro- climatic zones. The Secondary data on disrictwise fertilizer consumption, gross cropped area, gross irrigated area and rainfall were drawn from the published sources and primary data in respect of various resources and output were collected for the year 2003-04.
The results of the study revealed that among all the crops, the highest gross income was received from cotton crop in Saurashtra (Rs 41938/ha). The highest area was allocated to groundnut crop in both the zones with an average share of 59.17 per cent to size of farm in Saurashtra.
In both the zones and for Saurashtra region as a whole, on an average around 92 per cent of sample farmers have used fertilizers. Among all the selected districts, Rajkot topped the list in consumption of N, P, K and NPK during the Period-I, Period-II and Period-III. The annual rate of nitrogen consumption significantly increased in Saurashtra during Period-I (10.68 %) and during Period-III (5.77 % ). The Potash consumption significantly decreased at the rate of 4.06 per cent per annum in the region during the Period-II. Relatively higher stability in consumption of all the nutrient was observed in Period-II as compared to Period-I and Period-III. The gross irrigated area emerged as the chief factor in determination of fertilizer consumption in the districts of Saurashtra region.
In case of groundnut crop, the gap in respect of N was higher in large farmers as compared to small and medium farmers in North Saurashtra (37.28 %) and Saurashtra (18.96 %) in groundnut crop. There was no gap in respect of P in North Saurashtra. The over utilization of K was found in South Saurashtra, North Saurashtra and for Saurashtra as a whole. In cotton crop, the gap in respect of N was wider in North Saurashtra agro-climatic zone and it was also wider in large farmers as compared to small and medium farmers in both the zones. P and K were over utilized in all the categories of farms in both the zones in cotton crop. In bajra also, there was gap in use of both N and P and it was wider in North Saurashtra zone as compared to South Saurashtra zone. In South Saurashtra zone, there is no gap in fertilizer use in wheat crop. The gap in use of N and P in wheat crop was observed in North Saurashtra only.
Positive and significant impact of rainfall on fertilizer consumption in groundnut was found in South Saurashtra zone and Saurashtra region, whereas the size of farm has negative and significant impact in North Saurashtra zone. In Saurashtra region, fertilizer use in cotton was affected positively and significantly by rainfall and one year lagged price. Rainfall emerges as the important factors in determining the consumption of fertilizer in bajra crop. In Saurashtra region, annual average rainfall (1.0032) and cropping intensity (0.5953) showed positive and significant impact on fertilizer use in wheat crop.
The output elasticities of groundnut and cotton with respect to area under the crop and human labour were found positive and significant in both the zones and for Saurashtra too. In bajra crop, the output elacticities for human labour was found positive and significant in both the zones. The elasticities of wheat output with respect to area under crop (0.1615) and human labour (0.4258) were found positive and significant in both the zones.
For groundnut crop, the ratio of MVP to factor price of all the included factors except for bullock labour was greater than unity in Saurashtra. In case of cotton, the MVP of all the included factor, except for working capital was quite higher than its unit price in both the zones. The ratios of MVP of bajra crop to factor price of area under the crop, bullock labour, manures and other working capital was less than unity which calls for its restricted use in bajra crop in Saurashtra region. The ratios higher than unity for N in wheat indicated the scope of increase the use of N in both the zones.
Human labour was found underutilized in all the selected crops in both the zones except for bajra in North Saurashtra zone and in Saurashtra as a whole. Nitrogen remained under utilized in groundnut and cotton in both the zones and in Saurashtra region but in bajra crop it remained under utilized in South Saurashtra and North Saurashtra. The use of N in wheat crop was found under utilized in North Saurashtra zone only. P and K were over utilized in all the selected crops in both the zones except the case of K in bajra and wheat crop in Saurashtra and North Saurashtra, respectively.
Thus it can be concluded that consumption of fertilizers, in general, has increased in all the districts except the consumption of K and fertilizer consumption was mainly influenced by the gross irrigated areas. On farmers’ field the gap in use of N was observed in all the selected crops and was also not utilized efficiently in most of the selected crops.