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Agriculture in India:

Ranking second in the world farm output, the agricultural sector is the backbone of Indian Economy contributing majorly to the country’s GDP. As on February 2018, it is estimated that over 58% of rural Indians depend on agriculture for their livelihood and this sector contributes around 17-18% to the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth which employs more than 50% of the workforce in India, owing to increase in its contribution to world food trade every year due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry. Apart from this an average India still spends the major chunk of his/her salary on food. Here’s all that you need to know about agriculture in India.

The Current Scenario of Agricultural Sector in India as noted by The Economic Survey 2017-18

  • India’s food grain production reached 275.68 million tonnes in the year 2016-17 and is estimated to reach 274.55 million tonnes in 2017-18
  • Currently, Indian farmers are getting used to farm mechanization at a faster rate as compared to the past. This is can be reflected by but is not limited to the sale of tractors. Indian tractor industries have emerged as the largest in the world accounting for about one-third of total global tractor production as put by The Economic Survey 2017-18, but it also states that more needs to be done in this front
  • The economic survey also stated that Agricultural R&D is the main source of innovation, which can help in sustaining agricultural productivity growth in the long-term.
  • Currently with the growing urban migration by men, ‘feminisation of agriculture sector’ is being witnessed with more and more number of women participating in multiple roles as cultivators, entrepreneurs, and labourers.

Main Crops and their Yields in Indian Agricultural Sector

Traditionally it is known that India grows almost every crop major crops grown in Indian Agricultural Sector –

  • Food Crops – Rice, wheat, maize, millets, pulses
  • Cash Crops – Sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, jute
  • Plantation Crops – coffee, coconut, tea, rubber
  • Horticulture – Fruits and vegetables

Indian agriculture witnesses 2 agricultural seasons- Kharif and Rabi. The main crop grown in Kharif season is Rice and the main crop grown in Rabi is Wheat.

Take a look at the various crops grown in India here.

Current Scenario

  • Growth in Rice Production

Rice has always been one of the staple crops grown in India because it is a tropical crop that can be grown almost throughout the year. India is the 2nd largest producer of rice in the world and it also has the largest area in world under rice cultivation. Since, 2010 the production of as well as yield of rice has increased significantly. In FY16, production of rice stood at 103.61 million tonnes as compared to 20 million tonnes in 1950. The increase in rice production is a result of better agricultural facilities like irrigation, latest technology, quality seeds, and improved methods of production. But growing rice in India is majorly dependent on monsoon.

  • Growth in Wheat Production

Like rice, wheat also saw a major boost in production since 2010. India is the second largest producer of wheat with total production of 93.82 million tonnes in FY 2016. Wheat is considered to be one of the staple food of many Indian states. The wheat production saw a boom post-independence after the introduction of first phase of Green Revolution. With the influx of quality seeds, new methods for production, new equipment and technologies, the total wheat production increased from 11 million tons in 1966-67 to 17 million tons in 1967-68. Like rice, even the production of wheat depends heavily on monsoons.

  • Yield of Jowar increased with a decrease in production

Jowar is considered to be one of the staple food of low-income group and is used as a food for animals and raw materials for industries. Over the years it has been observed that the Jowar cultivating land has been declining but in contrary to this decline the yield per hectar has increased which is a result of modern quality seeds and new and improved methods of production.

  • India is the second largest fruit producer in the world the output estimated to be 300.64 million tonnes in 2016-17 and is expected to reach 305.43 million tonnes in the year 2017-18.
  • In the year 2016-2017 the largest increase was recorded under pulses which is around 43.66 lakh hectares
  • India is evolving as the export hub of instant coffee leading to exports of coffee increase 17 percent in the calendar year 2017 to reach US$ 958.80 million.

Challenges Faced by Indian Agricultural Sector

  • Lack of proper irrigational facilities. This is the main reason why the low productivity of pulses is recorded because most of the land under pulses cultivation is unirrigated.
  • Agriculture in India is still heavily dependent upon monsoons, so in case if in a year India experiences inadequate rainfall then the agricultural output suffers majorly
  • Lack of effective government policies to adjust the price at which the farmers buy his inputs and the price at which he sells in the market. The imbalance of this price has led to a plethora of farmer’s committing suicide in India
  • Other problems include Lack of credit and ways to mitigate soil erosion, lack of agriculture marketing, inadequate storage facility and lack of proper mechanism
  • The inefficient and unplanned use of water for agriculture is affecting the productivity of the crops. Water is considered to be one of India’s most scarce natural resources still India uses 2 to 4 times more water to produce a unit of major food crop than countries like China and Brazil.

To know about the various types of agriculture practised in India, visit here.

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