Competitiveness of Indian Agriculture: A review

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  • 1. ARTICLE REVIEW COMPETITIVENESS OF INDIAN AGRICULTURE: THE CHALLENGES AHEAD THE INDIA ECONOMY REVIEW, 2009 Authors: G Bhalachandran Associate professor, Department of Economics Sri Sathya Sai University Suresh Chandra Babu Programme leader and Sr. Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research institute Washington, USA Ram P Aneja Former Managing Director, National Dairy Development Board, Visiting Professor, Department of Economics, Sri Sathya Sai University, Andhra Pradesh By: Sufia Qureshi EXE- MBA
  • 2. ISSUES OF INDIAN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR     Rural households’ share in total households in India is 74% Agriculture households form 59% of rural households. 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) (NSSO) 40% of the farming community In India wants to quit agriculture, given the other opportunities. ( The Hindu Business Line. Mar 21,2008)
  • 3.   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. (NSSO) Though the marginal and small landholdings ( up to four hectares) account for 90% of total holdings in India, the area operated by them is just 51%. (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.
  • 4. CAUSES FOR THE PLIGHT OF INDIAN AGRICULTURE Farmers 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 industrialized nations. Recent economic melt-down.
  • 5. INITIATIVES TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT Agriculture as a key issue in the five year plans.  White revolution in 1970s  Green revolution  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 agriculture. 
  • 6.  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 security.
  • 7. WHAT CAN BE DONE?     There should be emphasis on converting rural population into future customers and employees. A strict measure to locate the beneficiaries of the schemes like NREGS ( National rural employment guarantee scheme) 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 agriculture sector.
  • 8.      Opportunities for the farming community to deal with the ultimate customers directly. 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 promoted. Technology to make a powerful agrosector, e.g. drip irrigation as in case of Israel. 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.
  • 9. 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 operations. Market driven enterprises have to be created in every village. Sericulture, Horticulture, Poultry, Cattlebreeding, Agro-processing etc.
  • 10.       Organized system of marketing in the sector. An efficient system of agricultural marketing. Streamlined agricultural production base. 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.