Agriculture Census is a large scale periodic, Government sponsored operation for the collection and derivation of quantitative information about nation’s agriculture, using the agricultural operational holding as the statistical unit. The operational holding is defined as “all land which is wholly or partly used for agriculture production, and is operated as one technical unit by one person alone or with others without regard to title, legal form, size or location.” A technical unit is defined as that unit which is under the same management and has the same means of production such as labor force, machinery and animals. Agricultural production includes growing of field crops, fruits, grapes, seeds, tree nurseries (except those of forest trees), vegetables and flowers, production of coffee, tea, cocoa, rubber, jute, oilseeds, fodder grass etc. Grass would be treated as a crop if special efforts are made to raise it.
In India, the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation is organising Agricultural Census quinquennially since 1970-71, in collaboration with the States and Union Territories on the recommendation of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations as a part of World Agricultural Census. The World Agricultural Census programme aimed at obtaining the data for different countries so as to fill up the lacunae in Agricultural Statistics and also to me them internationally comparable.
The Census is done in three phases:
• In the first phase information on number and area of the operational holding according to the size, area, gender and social groups of holder are collected In the hill districts where land record is not maintained, data is collected in 20% sample village through door to door enquiry method.
• In the second phase of the census, data is collected in 20% sample villages. In this phase detailed information about the structure of holdings is collected viz. information on tenancy status, area leased in terms of leasing, area under different land use, crop and source wise area irrigated and un-irrigated and disposal of operated area, which is then estimated for the State.
The information is collected in the following broad groups:
a) Gender wise number and area of operational holdings by specified size groups and their dispersals.
b) Tenancy status Size class wise.
c) Area under different land use size class wise in six fold classification.
d) Cropping pattern such as cropped once or more than once etc.
e) Crop-wise and source-wise area irrigated/un-irrigated size class wise. The information so collected were compiled for three social groups viz. scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and other than scheduled caste and scheduled tribes and institutional holding separately.
• The third phase of the Agriculture Census is known as the Input survey. Input survey is done in only 7 percent sample villages of the total villages of the State. The 7% villages are selected by selecting 35% villages randomly out of the 20% TRS villages which were already selected for the 2nd phase of Agricultural Census 2005- 06 and data is collected on the pattern of Input used for various crops. The information is collected with respect of:
a) Multiple cropping
b) Application of chemical fertilizer and pesticides
d) Agricultural machineries
f) Agricultural credit and IPM (Integrated Pest Management)