The Agro-Economic Research Centre (AERC) for the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan was established in July 1961 at the Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, New Delhi. It was late Shri H.M. Patel (ICS retd.) who not only provided the vision for establishing such an Institute but also ensured the much-needed support and encouragement for its growth at Vallabh Vidyanagar. Though AERC is a part of the University, it has been enjoying autonomy status in its work. The Centre has completed 60 glorious years (1961-2021) of its journey marked by both achievements and challenges. During these years, the Centre has emerged as a strong policy feedback centre of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India due to the hard work and strong commitment of the staff in the Centre. The focus of the research effort in the initial stage was on comprehensive village surveys and resurveys in order to understand the process and direction of change at the village level. Subsequently, the emphasis of research has shifted to problem-oriented studies.
The Centre has by now completed 204 problem-oriented studies, 21 village surveys and 6 village resurveys. Most of these research projects have been taken up by the Centre on the recommendation of the Government of India and State Governments of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Some of the projects have also been sponsored by other national and international organizations. During its long journey, the Centre has brought remarkable improvement in every aspect of research including the methodological base of the studies.
The studies have come out with useful findings and policy implications for agricultural and rural development of the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Many seminars and conferences were organized by the Centre (jointly with the Department of Economics) during these years. Ever since its inception, the Centre has been working in close collaboration with the Post-Graduate Department of Economics of the S. P. University and so far it has helped/supported about 50 scholars to successfully complete their Ph. D. work in agricultural economics. At present 3 students are registered for Ph.D. degree with the faculty of the Centre. The Centre has also organized the work of Comprehensive Scheme to Study Cost of Cultivation of Principal Crops in Gujarat entrusted to the University by the Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India during the period from 1971-2019.
The principal objectives of the Centre have been as follows:
- To make a continuous study of the change in the rural economy by means of surveys of villages each year, to be repeated after an interval of five years.
- To conduct ad-hoc investigation on problems of interest to the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and the State Governments under their jurisdiction.
- To undertake research on fundamental problems relating to the agricultural economy of the country, and
- To give technical advice to the Government of India and to the State Governments on such important issues as, with mutual agreement, may be referred to the Centre.
The area of coverage of the Centre is as follows:
- Gujarat State,
- Rajasthan State
- Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
- Unbiased quality report in time with appropriate policy implications
- Objective and independent research to discover and disseminate new knowledge on issues enjoying high national priority.
- Provide all necessary support through systematic investigation in proper policy formulation for agriculture and rural development at State as well as National Level