Located on the eastern coast of India, Odisha has been tagged as one of the lagging Indian States. Even though both rural and urban poverty have fallen drastically in recent years (39.2% of the rural population lived under the poverty line in 2009-10 as against 60.8% in 2004-05), health and poverty indicators are still among the worst.
Over 4.6 million rural households depend on farming (62% of the workforce are cultivators or agricultural workers as per the latest statistics). Odisha suffers regularly from extreme climate incidents like the drought in 2011 and cyclone "Phailin" in October 2013 which caused serious damage in 19 out of 30 districts, affecting about 13.2 million people. These recurrent events take a toll on Odisha's already low agricultural productivity; over three-quarters of the cropped area is rainfed. About 31% of the major crop area is irrigated as against an India average of 44% (2006-07).
Nine farmers out of ten have less than 2 hectares of land. Rice is the main crop covering two-thirds of the fields during the kharif season, while pulses are the dominant rabi crop. One major constraint in improving agricultural production is inadequate and erratic irrigation facilities. The use of fertilizer, improved seeds and other inputs is lower than the Indian average even though access to modern technologies is improving. Women's empowerment remains a key issue as a third of girl children continue facing discrimination in health care, education and nutrition.