• DINESH MANOHARAN
• SENTHIL KUMAR R
• DAVID SHIBIN I
• KARTHIKEYEN GNAYANASEKAREN
• KARTHICK CHINNASAMY
• India is the second largest producer of rice in the entire world, right behind
China. India produces 120.6 million tons of rice every single year, while
China brings in a whopping 197.2 million tons. However, India could be
producing an additional 100 million tons every year, enough to feed 400
million people. The techniques that India is using to produce rice are
outdated, and they are beginning to fall behind on the global scale of rice
• India is only 45% as productive as China is, and 60% as productive as
Indonesia, a country who only produces 60 million tons of rice annually. If
India were to adopt the techniques of Indonesia and China, farmers could
be making US$50 billion!
In terms of agricultural contribution, the following states in India are the most
• Uttar Pradesh
• Madhya Pradesh
• Andhra Pradesh
• West Bengal
• These are the statistics
for the yield of cotton
from 2000 to 2009
• These are the statistics
for export of agro
• Although agriculture contributes only 21% of India’s GDP, its importance
in the country’s economic, social, and political fabric goes well beyond this
indicator. The rural areas are still home to some 72 percent of the India’s
1.1 billion people, a large number of whom are poor. Most of the rural poor
depend on rain-fed agriculture and fragile forests for their livelihoods.
• The sharp rise in foodgrain production during India’s Green Revolution of
the 1970s enabled the country to achieve self-sufficiency in foodgrains and
stave off the threat of famine. Agricultural intensification in the 1970s to
1980s saw an increased demand for rural labor that raised rural wages and,
together with declining food prices, reduced rural poverty.
• Sustained, although much slower, agricultural growth in the 1990s reduced
rural poverty to 26.3 percent by 1999/00. Since then, however, the
slowdown in agricultural growth has become a major cause for concern.
India’s rice yields are one-third of China’s and about half of those in
Vietnam and Indonesia. With the exception of sugarcane, potato and tea,
the same is true for most other agricultural commodities.
• The Government of India places high priority on reducing poverty by
raising agricultural productivity. However, bold action from policymakers
will be required to shift away from the existing subsidy-based regime that
is no longer sustainable, to build a solid foundation for a highly productive,
internationally competitive, and diversified agricultural sector
(a) Population Pressure:
India has a huge population of over one billion and it is increasing at a very
fast rate. According to 2001 census figures the over all density of
population is 324 persons per sq. km. This is likely to increase further in
future. This has created great demand for land. Every bit of land has been
brought under the plough. Even the hill slopes have been cut into terraces
b) Small and Fragmented Land Holdings:
The pressure of increasing population and the practice of dividing land
equally among the heirs has caused excessive sub divisions of farm
holdings. Consequently, the holdings are small and fragmented. The small
size of holdings makes farming activity uneconomical and leads to social
tension, violence and discontentment.
(c) Inadequate Irrigation Facilities:
By and large the irrigation facilities available in India are far from
adequate. So for half of the total area under food crops has been brought
under irrigation and the remaining half is left to the mercy of monsoon
rains which are erratic in time and space.
(d) Depleted Soils:
Indian soils have been used for growing crops for thousands of years which
have resulted in the depletion of soil fertility. With deforestation the sources
of maintaining natural fertility of soil has been drying out. Lack of material
resources and ignorance of scientific knowledge have further depleted the
soils of the natural fertility. Earlier only animal waste was enough to
maintain soil fertility.
(e) Storage of food grains:
Storage of food grains is a big problem. Nearly 10 per cent of our harvest
goes waste every year in the absence of proper storage facilities. This
colossal wastage can be avoided by developing scientific ware-housing
facilities. The government has taken several steps to provide storage
(f) Farm Implements:
Although some mechanization of farming has taken place in some parts of
the country, most of the farmers are poor and do not have enough resources
to purchase modern farm implements and tools. This hampers the
development of agriculture.
THE NEXT STEPS
• Give States an incentive to amend the APMC act and abolish mandi taxes.
This would allow competitive markets to develop; farmers and processors
will both gain.
• Support the organised private sector in increasing its spending on
extension and technology transfer. This would give farmers the knowledge
of what to grow, and how to grow so that stringent quality norms are met.
• Implement the Unified Food Law, and back it up with lowering the total
tax burden on processed foods so that the sector picks up, and
consequently demand for farm produce rises.
• Target foreign buyers of high-value ethnic Indian foods, as opposed to
commodity exports-starting with the large NRI population of 20 million,
which can be a huge market.
• Create a viable model of public-private partnership that allows private
investors to invest in agriculture infrastructure in partnership with banks
and financial institutions.
The changing nature of Indian agriculture:
Shrinking resource base The land and water resource base for an average
farm holding has declined considerably during the last five decades
(Selvarajan S and Joshi P.K (2000) Socio-economic Policies in Natural
Resource Management, Souvenir, International Conference on Managing
Natural Resource for Sustainable Agricultural Production in the 21st
Century, New Delhi.) . The main reason for the increasing resource
degradation is the inappropriate and unscientific use of land and irrigation
water. Degraded lands are either going out of cultivation or are being used
for growing low value crops. Most of the future agricultural growth will
have to come via yield enhancement, (that means more intensive but more
appropriate and scientific use of natural resources) and from rainfed areas,
wherein most of the technologies are knowledge based and need
community action. Forming and sustaining farmers' groups will be crucial
in achieving future agricultural growth.
Changes in demand and consumption pattern:
Per capita cereal consumption for food declined somewhat over the past
three decades, while the consumption of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs
and dairy products increased. The demand for livestock products has been
increasing rapidly during the last two decades. Increasing per capita income
and changing lifestyles are expected to further increase the demand for
milk, fruits and vegetables. Rapid growth in livestock demand would push
demand for cereals for livestock feed. Assuming a modest growth in per
capita income bf 2 percent, the total cereal demand in 2020 is projected at
257.3 million To s, a modest 70% increase over 1993 demand ( Bhalla.
G.S, Peter Hazell and John Kerr(1999) Prospects for India's Cereal Supply
and Demand to 2020,Food, India's size and population, importing huge
quantities of grains is not feasible. The increased demand has to be
primarily met through increase in productivity gained through increased
application of knowledge by the farmers.
Changing farming systems The area under food grains as percentage of GCA
has been declining in the Nineties, whereas the percentage share of non-
food grains has been generally increasing during the same period. Area
under horticultural crops (fruits, vegetables and tuber, spices and plantation
crops) increased from 12.3 m.ha in 1991-92 to 15.0 m.ha in 1996-97.
Farmers require a different type of support (training, problem-solving
consultancy, marketing advice etc) for growing many of these crops, than
simply information on technology, as was the case earlier.
Declining public investments in agriculture Public investments in
agriculture, (investments in irrigation, rural roads, rural electrification,
storage, marketing, agricultural research and education, land development,
co-operation etc) in real terms since mid-seventies have been declining
consistently in all the states. Farmers have to join together to put pressure
on governments to invest more and have to pool together their resources to
develop and maintain the necessary infrastructure. Extension may have to
support farmers in this endeavour.
Liberalisation of agricultural trade, consequent to the WTO agreementshas
resulted in new opportunities and threats to Indian agriculture. India is
likely to gain in some crops,but consistent efforts for improving quality (to
meet international standards) and increasing costeffectiveness(increasing
productivity, achieving cost reduction) in these crops/products are essential
to achieve these. Liberalisation of agricultural imports, which would gain
further momentum in the months to come, would subject our producers to
competition from outside. There is an urgent need to increase the
competitiveness of Indian agro-products.
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.