`Farmer households spend 55 pc on food'

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Oct. 10

THE average Indian farmer household spends the highest share (Rs 101.27 or 20.14 per cent) of its monthly per capita expenditure of Rs 502.83 on cereals and cereal substitutes, followed by 9.68 per cent on milk and milk products.

Expenditure on fuel and light (9.26 per cent), clothing and footwear (8.53 per cent) and medical expenditure (6.84 per cent) constitute the next big chunk of its monthly expenses.

On the whole, the farmer household spends 55.43 per cent of its expenditure on food, whereas 44.5 per cent goes towards non-food items, according to the NSSO report on consumption expenditure of farmer households for January-December 2003, which tracked 51,770 households spread over 6,638 villages across the country.

The average household size for farmers was 5.5 at an all-India level. But the household size declined steadily with rise in the monthly per capita consumer expenditure (MPCE), says the report. It was highest (6.9) for households having MPCE less than or equal to Rs 225 and lowest (4.1) for households having MPCE more than Rs 950.

On a State-wise basis, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh registered the highest average household size (6.1) for farmers, followed by Haryana (6) and Rajasthan (5.9). Whereas Tamil Nadu registered lowest average household size (4.4), followed by Kerala and Andhra Pradesh (4.7 each).

An average farmer household in Kerala had the highest monthly expenses, whereas that of Orissa was the lowest. The average MPCE during 2003 was highest for the farmers of Kerala (Rs 900.59), followed by Nagaland (Rs 882.93) and Punjab (Rs 828.01). It was lowest for Orissa (Rs 341.75), followed by Jharkhand (Rs 352.85), Chhattishgarh (Rs 378.89) and Bihar (Rs 403.60), said an official statement.

On a State-wise basis, Manipur households spend the highest share of their MPCE (Rs 193.31 or 33 per cent) on cereals, followed by Arunachal Pradesh at Rs 167.84 (29 per cent); Nagaland at Rs 166.76 (19 per cent) and Mizoram at Rs 150.77 (23 per cent). The consumption of cereals was lowest in Punjab with the household spending Rs 73.46 (nine per cent of MPCE); followed by Haryana at Rs 74.01 (10 per cent) and Gujarat at Rs 80.16 (14 per cent).

Assam households spend a maximum share (65 per cent) of their total expenditure on food items, followed by Jharkhand (64 per cent), Bihar (62 per cent), West Bengal (61 per cent) and Sikkim (60 per cent).

Moreover, per capita monthly expenditure on education was highest in Nagaland (Rs 77.21 or 8.74 per cent), followed by Haryana (Rs 48.01 or 6.47 per cent), Punjab (Rs 42.87 or 5.1 per cent) and Kerala (Rs 42.36 or 4 per cent).

Per capita consumption of `pan, tobacco and intoxicants' per 30 days was highest in Meghalaya (Rs. 43.30 or 7.3 per cent), followed by Mizoram (Rs 40.53 or 6.1 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (Rs 30.75 or 5.27) and Tripura (Rs 29.96 or 5.33 per cent).

Also, the per capita monthly medical expenses was highest for the farmer households belonging to Kerala (Rs 97.78), followed by Punjab (Rs 63.04), Tamil Nadu (Rs 48.76), Maharashtra (Rs 47.71) and Haryana (Rs 46.98).

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 11, 2005)
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