COMPETITIVENESS OF INDIAN
AGRICULTURE: THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
THE INDIA ECONOMY REVIEW, 2009
Associate professor, Department of Economics
Sri Sathya Sai University
Suresh Chandra Babu
Programme leader and Sr. Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research institute
Ram P Aneja
Former Managing Director, National Dairy Development Board,
Visiting Professor, Department of Economics, Sri Sathya Sai University, Andhra Pradesh
ISSUES OF INDIAN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
Rural households’ share in total households in
India is 74%
Agriculture households form 59% of rural
Agricultures’ direct contribution to India’s GDP
stood below 17% in 2006-07. It was 2.9% over the
period 2000-01 to 2007-08 as a whole; but it stood
at 5.9, 3.8, and 4.5% respectively over the three
years ending 2007-08. (volatility)
40% of the farming community In India wants to
quit agriculture, given the other opportunities.
( The Hindu Business Line. Mar 21,2008)
Six in every ten households in rural India
belong to farmers. Such a farmer even if he/she
were to be in irrigated area, does not get
employed for all the 365 days.
Though the marginal and small landholdings
( up to four hectares) account for 90% of total
holdings in India, the area operated by them is
(Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural statistics at a glance,2003)
The large population which depends on
agriculture for their livelihood cannot survive
the financial crisis.
Poverty, Hunger, and Malnutrition.
CAUSES FOR THE PLIGHT OF INDIAN
are at the mercy of nature. Indian
agriculture is still a gamble on the monsoon.
Climate variability and change.
The declining rate of agricultural productivity.
Periodical policies of the govt.
Farmers are not assigned a prime place; no
position as competitors in the market.
Instability, lack of sustainable farm practices.
No freedom to sell the products in the market.
Changes in the agricultural policy of
Recent economic melt-down.
INITIATIVES TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT
Agriculture as a key issue in the five
White revolution in 1970s
Periodical subsidies and loan waivers.
The National policy for farmers-2007
Top priority in the Eleventh plan, for the
revival of the agricultural sector.
Rashtriya Krish Vikas Yojna (RKVY), a
Rs. 25000 crore scheme, to encourage
state governments to support
National Food Security Mission- an
enhanced outlay of Rs.4882.5 crore
was committed during the period
2008-09 to 2011-12 for expanding
irrigation, research and food
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
There should be emphasis on converting
rural population into future customers
A strict measure to locate the
beneficiaries of the schemes like NREGS
( National rural employment guarantee
There should be treatment at par with
cities rather than subsidies, employment
guarantee or amnesty from govt.
A paradigm shift from a commodity
centered to human centered approach in
Opportunities for the farming community
to deal with the ultimate customers
Farming operations are to be dovetailed
in such a way that each farmer is fully
employed throughout the year.
Multiple crops and Crop rotation to be
Technology to make a powerful agrosector, e.g. drip irrigation as in case of
The mindset of the farmers need to be
changed regarding the small land
holdings that they can do better than the
large farmer using technology.
Farmers should be directed and
guided on conservation, saving and
effective use of water thereby
promoting scientific water-shed
development and water management.
Farmer field school in the nodal centers
of villages to train, direct and offer
solution for many of the agriculture
related problems in day to day
Market driven enterprises have to be
created in every village.
Sericulture, Horticulture, Poultry, Cattlebreeding, Agro-processing etc.
Organized system of marketing in the
An efficient system of agricultural
Streamlined agricultural production
A National level security movement
could be a potential step.
Agro-retail trading by the corporate
giants should be used for the
improvement of the sector rather than
aiming for super normal profits.
Ad-hoc agricultural policies that meet
the political convenience of the day
need to be avoided.