Assam, situated in the North-East region of India is bordering seven States viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and West Bengal and two countries viz. Bangladesh and Bhutan. With a geographical area of 78,438 sq. kms. i.e, about 2.4 percent of the country’s total geographical area, Assam provides shelter to 2.57 percent population of the Country. Most of the State’s population lives in the lush and verdant valleys of its two major river systems in the twenty four districts of the Brahmaputra valley and the three districts of the Barak valley. The less densely populated two hill districts - Karbi-Anglong and Dima Hasao, separate the two valleys.
The economy of Assam continues to be predominantly agrarian. The Agriculture sector in the State provides employment to more than 50 percent of the rural people. The net cultivated area is 28.11 lakh hectare which is about 88 percent of the total land available for agricultural cultivation in the State. The contribution of Agriculture sector to the State Domestic Product was nearly 25 percent during 2010-11. The area covered under Paddy cultivation was 25.71 lakh hectares and more than 91 percent of the total area under foodgrains in the State during the year 2010-11. In view of growing demand and to attain self sufficiency in food production, the State Agriculture Department has set the target to cover 27.10 lakh hectare of area under Rice so as to increase the production of Rice more than 54 lakh MT during the year 2011-12.
Horticultural crop in the State occupy about 15 percent gross cultivated area and annually produces more than 15.0 lakh MT of fruites, 44.0 lakh MT of vegetables and 2.0 lakh MT of spices besides nut crops, flowers and medicinal & aromatic plants thus contributing significantly towards food and nutritional security of the State. Under Horticulture, 16.45 lakh MT fruits, 44.70 lakh MT vegetables and 2.47 lakh MT of spices were produced during the year 2010-11.
The Government of Assam has adopted Agricultural Policy in the year 2004. Special emphasis on assured irrigation and farm mechanisation, diversification of agriculture, marketing facilities for agriculture produces, Agricultural credit, Crop insurance etc. has been given priority in the Policy with the basic aim to raise the agricultural growth upto 4.12 percent during the year 2011-12 as well as to attain the average growth to the tune of 2 percent annually at the end of 11th Five Year Plan.
The Agriculture Department is implementing several flagship projects/programmes in the context of improvement of agricultural production in the state to meet the growing food demand of growing population. Some of the flagship projects are AACP, RKVY, NFSM (Rice), NFSM (Pulse), A3P, HMNEH (MM-II & MM-III)
The state produces surplus quantity of fruits & vegetables to the tune of 26 lakh MT. Due to lack of adequate marketing & processing facility about 20% of the produce is lost. In such a scenario, processed food is a great boon for value addition & better commercial gain. 6 nos. of processing units of Pineapple, Orange are set up with support from MFPI. 1 more units are in the pipeline. Still there is huge scope for processing industries in the State.