Agriculture is the main livelihood of around 70% of the population in West Bengal but growth has stagnated since the early 1990s, growing at just 1-2% compared to 6% in the previous decade. This decline can be attributed to the high cost of agricultural production – particularly irrigation costs - which have increased dramatically while the market price for paddy has hardly risen. As a result, fewer farmers are cultivating boro paddy.
This stagnation in agriculture is significant because the state has not yet attained food security. Many people migrate to find work and food, and it is reported that nearly 11% of rural households do not have enough food during some months of the year.