It is a well-known fact that India is an agriculture-based country, the population of which largely dependent on agricultural activity. An IAS aspirant must know about the various facts and actual scenario of the Indian agriculture sector.
Here, we have provided insights of the Indian agriculture sector and what makes it behind the major countries of the world involved in agriculture production.
Insights of Indian Agriculture
- In India, the agricultural sector employs nearly half of the total workforce, but it contributes to 17.5% of the GDP (at current prices in 2015-16) while the services sector contributes 66.1 per cent to the GDP.
- Over the past few decades, the industrial and services sectors have progressively contributed large portion to the growth of the economy, while the contribution of agriculture sector has decreased from more than 50% of GDP in the 1950s to 15.4% in 2015-16 (at constant prices).
- Food-grain production in India has been increasing every year lead India among the top producers of several crops such as rice, pulses, wheat, sugarcane and cotton in the world.
- Indian is the highest producer of milk and second highest producer of fruits and vegetables.
- During the year 2013, India contributed 25% of the total pulses production of the world which is highest for any one country.
- During the same year, India contributed 22% to the rice production and 13% to the wheat production of the world.
- India also contributes about 25% of the total quantity of cotton produced, in addition being the second top exporter of cotton for the past several years.
- Despite being highest producer of various crops, the Indian agriculture has lower yield i.e. the quantity of a crop produced per unit of land, as compared to the world’s top crop-producing countries like China, Brazil and the United States.
- Even though India is the world’s third highest producer of rice but its yield is lower than Brazil, China and the United States while the same pattern can be found for pulses production in which India stands second highest producer in the world.
- Agricultural growth in India has been reasonably unstable over the past few decades which ranging from 5.8% in 2005-06 to 0.4% in 2009-10 and -0.2% in 2014-15.
- The prevailing inconsistency in the Indian agriculture sector largely impacts the farm incomes as well as farmers’ capacity to take credit for further investing in their land holdings.
- The major factor affecting the agriculture in India includes:
- decreasing sizes of agricultural land holdings
- continued dependency on the monsoon
- insufficient access to irrigation
- unfair use of soil nutrients resulting in loss of fertility of soil
- irregular access to modern technology in different regions of the country
- Lack of access to formal agricultural credit
- inadequate procurement of food grains by government agencies
- Failure to provide remunerative prices to farmers.
- Some of the recommendations made by committees and expert bodies over the years include bringing in agricultural land leasing laws, shifting to micro-irrigation techniques to improve the efficiency of water use, improving access to quality seeds by engaging with the private sector and introducing a national agricultural market to allow the trading of agricultural produce online.
Indian agriculture sector has great potential to contribute to the large extent of its GDP but due to various factors, it remained as an activity for living only. There must be an initiative from the state to find out the key failure areas which posed as a hurdle for effective implementation of flagship programmes of Government for the growth of the agriculture in India.
After independence, various policies and initiatives were taken to improve the crippling condition of Indian agriculture but failed to achieve the desired goals. Indian agriculture is in immediate need of a collaborative approach of the Central government and the State government on a primary basis to meet the major deficiency and hurdles involved in the sector. The Government should also find out the alternatives of uneven weather conditions like drought, flood, hailstorm etc. in order to make survival for Indian Agriculture.