Every year India faces the issue of food scarcity and the low level of agricultural production. One of the strong reasons behind the scarcity of food grains is the poor policy for food procurement. The issues of uneven monsoon and drought are also responsible for the low level of food-grains production in India.
Here, we have provided an analysis of agriculture and food management in India as per the analysis is given in the recent Economic Survey 2016-17, which would be quite useful for the IAS Exam preparation.
Agriculture and Food Management
According to the CSO’s first advance estimates, the growth rate for the agriculture and allied sectors is estimated to be 4.1 per cent for the financial year 2016-17 (see table).
Acreage under Kharif and Rabi crops
- During the financial year 2016-17, the area sown up to 14th October 2016 under all Kharif crops taken together was 1075.7 lakh hectares which is, as we are referring to area and not crops or hectares 3.5 per cent higher compared to 1039.7 lakh hectares in the corresponding period of 2015-16.
- Of all the pulses production, Arhar registered the maximum percentage increase in acreage during the Kharif season 2016-17 compared to the previous year.
- The total area coverage under Rabi crops as on 13th January 2017 for 2016-17 was at 616.21 lakh hectares, which is 5.9 per cent higher than that in the corresponding week of last year (see Figure).
- The area coverage under wheat as on 13th January 2017 is 7.1 per cent higher than that in the corresponding week of last year.
- The area coverage under gram crops/cultivation as on 13th January 2017 is 10.6 per cent higher than that in the corresponding week of last year.
Monsoon rainfall and its distribution
- During the South West Monsoon Season (June-September) of 2016, the whole country received the rainfall 97 per cent of its long period average (LPA).
- The actual rainfall received during this period was 862.0 mm as against the LPA at 887.5 mm of last year.
- Out of the total 36 meteorological subdivisions in India, 4 subdivisions received excess rainfall, 23 subdivisions received normal rainfall and the remaining 9 subdivisions received deficient rainfall.
Irrigated area under principal crops
- Irrigation is one of the critical inputs to improve productivity in agriculture. Wide regional and crop-wise variations can be seen in coverage of irrigated area (See Figure).
Price policy of agricultural produce
- The various price policies of Government for major produce seeks to guarantee the remunerative prices to the farmers to encourage higher investment and production, and to uphold the interest of consumers by making available supplies at reasonable prices.
- A committee on ‘Incentivising Pulses Production through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Related Policies’ was set up under the chairmanship of Dr Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser on account of the volatility of prices of pulses.
- To enhance the productivity of pulses, a new extra early maturing, high yielding variety of Arhar (Pusa Arhar-16) has been developed to be made available for farmers in the next Kharif season.
- During the financial year 2016-17, MSPs were raised to a large extent mainly for pulses to incentivize farmers to cultivate pulses (see figure).
Food-grain stocks and procurement in central pool
- In India, the food-grain management involves procurement of wheat and rice and following the norms for buffer stocks.
- The stock of food-grains like rice and wheat were 43.5 million tonnes as on 1st December 2016 compared to 50.5 million tonnes as on 1st December 2015 vis-à-vis the buffer stock norm of 30.77 million tonnes as on 1st October 2015.
- Procurement of rice as on 6th January 2017 was 23.2 million tonnes during Kharif Marketing Season 2016-17 whereas procurement of wheat was 22.9 million tonnes during Rabi Marketing Season 2016-17.
- As part of the price policy to protect consumers, the Central Issue Prices of rice and wheat have remained unchanged since 1st July 2002.
- Agriculture credit is an important input to improve agricultural output and productivity.
- To improve agricultural credit flow, the credit target for 2016-17 has been fixed at Rs. 9 lakh crore against Rs. 8.5 lakh crore in 2015-16 (see figure).
- As against the credit target, the achievement for 2016-17 (up to September 2016), was 84 percent of the target, higher than the corresponding figure of 59 per cent up to September 2015.