Indian Agriculture Scenario

Indian Agriculture Scenario:- India has a long tradition of agriculture that extends back ten thousand years. India currently ranks second in the world for agricultural production. Additionally, it makes up a sizeable portion of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Additionally, the sector hires nearly 50% of the total workforce.

Agriculture continues to remain India’s largest industry, despite a progressive decline in its GDP-contributing role in the nation. Overall, it is important to the nation’s socioeconomic development.

In terms of agricultural contribution, some of the most developed states in India are:

  • Punjab
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Haryana
  • Bihar
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • West Bengal
  • Gujarat

All these states play a key role in the agrarian development of India.

In India, there are 15,73,50,000 km2 of total arable land or around 52.92% of the total land area of the nation. Due to ongoing pressure from an expanding population and increasing urbanization, India’s arable land is decreasing.

Important Aspects of Agriculture

Agriculture in India has a few notable characteristics. Among them are:
Subsistence farming: In India, farmers often cultivate crops on a tiny plot of land with the help of their families. The farmer and his family consume the majority of the crops produced by this method; there is a very little extra to be sold on the market. For more than 700 years, this kind of agriculture has dominated the nation and continues to do so in many regions of India.

Population Pressure on Agriculture: India’s population is growing quickly, placing pressure on the agriculture industry. Large segments of society must have access to food and jobs through agriculture. This indicates that more land is needed for agriculture, but the rising urbanization of the country has changed the land’s usage from agriculture to non-agriculture.

Farming mechanization: The Green Revolution started in India in the 1960s. Complete mechanization has not yet been accomplished, even after four decades.

Dependence on Monsoon: Agriculture in India is largely dependent on unpredictable, unreliable, and irregular monsoons. Even though irrigation infrastructure has rapidly increased since Independence, the monsoons still affect around two-thirds of the planted area.

Animals are significant in India because they help with agricultural tasks like irrigation, plowing, threshing, and transporting harvested goods. Animals will continue to actively participate in agricultural activities in the future as the full mechanization of agriculture in India remains a faraway goal.

Variety of Crops: Due to India’s diverse topography, climate, and soil, a broad variety of crops are raised there. India has both tropical and temperate climates, which enable the production of crops suited to each of these environments. There are very few nations in the world that have as much variation as India has.

Food crops are the main crop produced and supplied to the Indian population, which is of utmost importance to the farmers. The majority of the land in India is used for agriculture, with around two-thirds of the total area under cultivation.

Seasonal Patterns: In India, there are three distinct cropping or agricultural seasons: Kharif, rabi, and Zaid. Some particular crops can only be grown during a given season; for example, wheat is a rabi crop, but, rice is a Kharif crop.

Problems Faced by the Agriculture Sector

The agriculture industry in India has a number of issues and difficulties. Some of these are established, while others are developing as a result of ongoing agricultural practices. Such issues include:

Important Crop Production Stagnant: For some years now, India’s production of several of the country’s major crops, including wheat, has been at a standstill. Because of the enormous discrepancy between supply and demand brought on by the country’s expanding population and productivity, policymakers and planners are concerned.

The Green Revolution has had a favorable impact on India, but it has also had negative effects, including soil exhaustion. Soil exhaustion, or the depletion of nutrients in the soil as a result of replanting the same crops, is one of the major effects. Rainforest regions are typically where soil exhaustion occurs.

Decrease in Fresh Ground Water: The loss of groundwater is another unfavorable effect of the Green Revolution. Chemical fertilizers and irrigation help the Green Revolution succeed in some regions. Irrigation activities, which use groundwater, are used to carry out agricultural practices in dry areas. In terms of the groundwater situation, this has caused a worrisome situation. Such farming practices could lead to famine-like conditions if they are continued.

Costly Farm Inputs: Over the past few years, the cost of farm inputs such as herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, farm labor, and others has increased. Farmers with small and medium land holdings are disadvantaged by rising costs.

Agriculture marketing: The state of agricultural marketing in rural India is poor. Farmers that want to sell their goods at extremely low costs rely on local middlemen and brokers. They are occasionally obliged to sell their produce at poor prices due to socioeconomic conditions. Due to the absence of a well-organized market structure, dealers and intermediaries control the market and dominate the selling of agricultural products.

Lack of Storage Space: There aren’t enough facilities for storing food in the country’s rural areas. Due to this, the farmers are forced to sell their products as soon as they are harvested—and at prices that are lower than those in the open market. The value of better storage facilities is crucial for both farmers and consumers.

Effect of Global Climate Change: Indian agriculture has been significantly impacted by the current global climate change. The increase of roughly 2-3°C brought on by the climate shift has an impact on agricultural practices.

Farmer Suicides: Another issue the nation’s agriculture industry is dealing with is farmer suicides. It contributes significantly to the overall suicide rate in India. Areas with high levels of agricultural commercialization and peasant debt are those where suicide rates are highest, according to reports. Compared to farmers who plant food crops, farmers who grow cash crops have a greater suicide rate. Commercialization, privatization, and the withdrawal of bank credit during periods of high prices are a few factors that make the issues worse.

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Agricultural Products in India

India ranks first in producing the following agricultural outputs:

  • Anise
  • Fresh fruit
  • Badian
  • Fennel
  • Tropical fresh fruit
  • Coriander
  • Pigeon peas
  • Jute
  • Spices
  • Pulses
  • Castor oil seed
  • Millets
  • Safflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Limes
  • Lemons
  • Dry chilies and peppers
  • Cow’s milk
  • Cashew nuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Ginger
  • Okra
  • Guavas
  • Turmeric
  • Goat milk
  • Mangoes
  • Meat
  • Buffalo milk

Agriculture is an important economic sector in India and it also offers plenty of employment opportunities. It is also the key development of civilization.

The scenario of Agriculture in India

Agriculture in India has an extensive background that goes back ten thousand years. At present, India holds the second position in the world in agricultural production. It also contributes a major share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. In addition, the sector recruits about 50% of the entire manpower.

Regardless of the fact that there has been a gradual slump in its contribution to the GDP of the country, agriculture is currently the biggest industry in India. On the whole, it plays a key role in the socioeconomic growth of the country.

In terms of agricultural contribution, some of the most developed states in India are:

  • Punjab
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Haryana
  • Bihar
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • West Bengal
  • Gujarat

All these states play a key role in the agrarian development of India.

The total arable territory in India is 15,73,50,000 km2, which represents about 52.92% of the overall land zone of the country. Arable land in India is diminishing because of continuous strain from an ever-increasing number of inhabitants and growing urbanization.

Salient Features of Agriculture

There are certain salient features of agriculture in India. Some of these are:

  1. Subsistence Agriculture: In India, usually the farmers, along with their family members, grow crops on their small plots of land. The crop yield in this practice is mainly consumed by the farmer and his family with very little surplus left for sale in the market. This type of agriculture has been the most common practice in the country for over 700 years and still prevails in many parts of India.
  2. The pressure of Population on Agriculture: The population in India is increasing at a high rate and this puts pressure on the agriculture sector. Agriculture has to provide food and employment to large sections of society. This means that there is a requirement for additional land for agriculture but on the contrary, the rapid growth in urbanization has converted the agricultural land into non-agricultural use.
  3. Mechanization of Farming: In India, Green Revolution began in the sixties. Even after four decades, complete mechanization has not yet been achieved.
  4. Dependency upon Monsoon: Agriculture in India mainly depends upon the monsoon, which is unreliable, uncertain, and irregular. Even though, since Independence, there has been a rapid expansion in the irrigation facilities, still, about two-thirds of the cropped area is dependent upon monsoons.
  5. Importance of Animals: In India, animals play an important role in agricultural activities such as irrigation, plowing, threshing, and transportation of agricultural products. The full-fledged mechanization of agriculture in India is a distant dream and the active participation of animals in agricultural activities will continue in the future.
  6. Variety of Crops: There is diversity in climate, topography, and soil in India, hence, a wide range of crops are grown in the country. India experiences both tropical and temperate climate and therefore support the cultivation of crops suitable for both these climates. Throughout the world, there are only a few countries that have a similar variety as compared to India.
  7. The predominance of Food Crops: It is of utmost priority for the farmers to produce and provide food crops to the people of India. Farming is practiced in almost every part of the country and about two-thirds of the total land is being used for agricultural purposes in India.
  8. Seasonal Patterns: There are three distinct agricultural or cropping seasons in India – Kharif, rabbi, and Zaid. Some specific crops are only grown during a particular season, for instance, rice is a Kharif crop and wheat is a rabi crop.

Problems Faced by the Agriculture Sector

There are certain problems and challenges faced by the agriculture sector in India. Some of these are long-standing and some are emerging due to ongoing agricultural practices. Some such problems are:

  1. Stagnation in Production of Major Crops: The production of some of the major crops in India like wheat has become stagnant for some time now. It is worrisome for the policymakers and planners of the country as there is a huge gap between the demand and supply of the growing population and production.
  2. Soil Exhaustion: Although Green Revolution has brought a positive impact in India, on the other hand, it has also resulted in a negative impact. One of the biggest impacts is soil exhaustion which means the depletion of nutrients in the soil due to farming of same crops again and again. Soil exhaustion generally takes place in rainforest areas.
  3. Decrease in Fresh Ground Water: Another negative impact of the Green Revolution is the decreasing amount of groundwater. Green Revolution is successful in some areas due to the use of chemical fertilizers and irrigation. In dry regions, agricultural practices are done with the help of irrigation activities which are carried out by groundwater usage. This has led to an alarming situation in the context of groundwater situation. The continuous practice of such farming activities may result in famine-like situations.
  4. Costly Farm Inputs: The past few years have witnessed an increase in the prices of farm inputs such as pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, farm labor, and others. The increasing cost puts the low and medium-land-holding farmers at a disadvantage.
  5. Agricultural Marketing: In rural India, agricultural marketing is in a bad shape. The farmers depend on local traders and middlemen to sell their products at very low prices. Sometimes, under socio-economic situations, they are forced to sell their produce at low rates. Lack of organized market structure, middlemen and traders dominate the market and they also take away a large share of the sale of farm produce.
  6. Lack of Storage Facilities: There is a lack of adequate food storage facilities available in the rural areas of the country. Due to this, the farmers are not left with any other option but to sell their products instantly after harvesting, and that too at prices that are below the prevailing market rates. Better storage facilities are essential for the benefit of the farmers as well as the consumers.
  7. Affect of Global Climate Change: In recent years, there has been a global climate change that has had a great impact on Indian agriculture. The change in the climatic conditions has resulted in an increase of about 2-3°C which affects agricultural practices.
  8. Farmer Suicides: Farmers committing suicide is another problem faced by the agriculture sector in the country. It accounts for a major share of the total number of suicides committed in India. A high number of suicides are reported in areas where there is high commercialization of agriculture and high peasant debt. The suicide rate is higher among the farmers who are involved in cash crop farming than those who grow food crops. Commercialization, privatization, and withdrawal of bank credit at the time of soaring prices are some of the reasons which intensify the problems.

Agricultural Products in India

India ranks first in producing the following agricultural outputs:

  • Anise
  • Fresh fruit
  • Badian
  • Fennel
  • Tropical fresh fruit
  • Coriander
  • Pigeon peas
  • Jute
  • Spices
  • Pulses
  • Castor oil seed
  • Millets
  • Safflower seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Limes
  • Lemons
  • Dry chilies and peppers
  • Cow’s milk
  • Cashew nuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Ginger
  • Okra
  • Guavas
  • Turmeric
  • Goat milk
  • Mangoes
  • Meat
  • Buffalo milk

In addition, the country also ranks as the top producer of millets such as Bajra, Jowar, and Ragi. In terms of rice production, India holds the second position after China.

India produces about 10% of the fruits produced in the world. The country holds the first position in the world in producing the following fruits:

  • Papaya
  • Mangoes
  • Sapota
  • Banana

India also holds a high rank in the world in the production of the following:

  • Sorghum
  • Tobacco
  • Coconuts
  • Rapeseed
  • Tomatoes
  • Hen’s eggs

India ranks sixth in the world in the production of coffee. India has the biggest number of livestock in the world. India also ranks high as the producer of the following:

  • Cabbages
  • Cashews
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Cotton seed and lint
  • Brinjal
  • Garlic
  • Silk
  • Goat meat
  • Cardamom
  • Nutmeg and Mace
  • Wheat
  • Onions
  • Sugarcane
  • Rice
  • Dry beans
  • Lentil
  • Tea
  • Groundnut
  • Cauliflowers
  • Green peas
  • Pumpkins
  • Potatoes
  • Gourds
  • Squashes
  • Inland fish

India’s population is growing faster than the country’s ability to produce enough wheat and rice.

In terms of producing wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane, and groundnuts, India comes in second. It is also the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables, accounting for roughly 9% and 10% of global production of each, respectively.

The nation ranks first in the production of jute, milk, and pulses are second in the production of silk, and is the world’s largest consumer of silk.

What are the initiatives taken by the Government?

The number of funds required to expand marketing, warehousing, and cold storage arrangements in a vast nation like India is anticipated to be enormous.

The Indian government has been sincerely attempting to implement several programs to enhance investment or outlay in marketing and commercialization. The following are only a few of the Indian government’s recognized plans and strategies:

  • Market Research and Information Network
  • Construction of Rural Godowns
  • Grading and Standardisation
  • Development/Strengthening of Agricultural Marketing Infrastructure

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is the leading institution for study and research in agriculture and related fields.

The Union Minister of Agriculture currently holds the position of President of the ICAR.

In the year 1905, the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) was founded. The institute was crucial to the research and experiments that led to the 1970s Green Revolution. IARI develops innovative techniques for organizing agricultural tests. Additionally, it assesses data related to agriculture and provides professional guidance on statistical techniques for the management of livestock and tree production.

The Farmers Commission was recently constituted by the Indian government to thoroughly evaluate the agriculture strategy. However, there were a variety of replies to the proposals

Interesting Facts about Indian Agriculture

India’s Gross Domestic Product is heavily influenced by agriculture and related businesses like logging, forestry, and fisheries. Additionally, these businesses hired nearly 50% of India’s total labor force.

Since 1950, outputs for every type of harvest have increased on a unitary basis. This is due to the government’s emphasis on farming operations in the five-year plans (Panchabarshiki Parikalpana) and steady advancements in engineering science, irrigation, the application of modern farming operations, and the provision of cultivation loans and grants following the country’s Green Revolution.

However, global evaluation studies show that the country’s primary agricultural output typically accounts for 30% to 50% of the maximum average output globally.

READ MORE:-The Industrial Policy of India

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