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Indian Agriculture

Updated: 6 days ago

Agriculture is the science and art of farming. It includes cultivating the soil, growing crops, and raising livestock. It played an important role in the evolution of human society from a simple hunting and gathering stage to a multifaceted modern society. In India, the history of the agricultural journey began thousands of years ago.

Today the agriculture sector provides livelihood to over 151 million people in India. Approximately 60% of the Indian population works in agricultural and related sectors and contributes about 18% to India's GDP. Thus, the agriculture sector is one of the most important sectors for India.

Farmers harvesting


Important aspects of Indian agriculture

  1. Major employment sector: More than half the population of India is engaged in agriculture and allied services. Thus, making agriculture the biggest employment generator (especially in the rural part) of India. India has around 60% of the total population engaged in the agriculture sector, while in developed nations only around 2% to 6% of the total population is engaged in the agriculture sector.

  2. Impact on economy: Since independence agriculture has witnessed significant growth with food grain production surging from 51 million tonnes (MT) in 1950-51 to 330 million tonnes (MT) in 2022-23. But its contribution to GDP is continuously decreasing while that of the service sector is steadily increasing. Today agriculture sector contributes roughly 14% of the country’s total GDP.

  3. Dependency on monsoon: Indian agriculture is mainly monsoon-dependent. In the last few decades, irrigation facilities have increased significantly but still only one-third of the cropped area has permanent irrigation. The remaining two-thirds are dependent on unpredictable and unreliable monsoons. Unseasonal rains also have a significant adverse impact on agriculture. 

  4. Lack of mechanism and technology: Most farming in India is carried out traditionally. The majority farmers use animals and simple tools such as sickles and wooden ploughs due to their inability to buy modern machines and tools. This drastically affects productivity.

  5. Lack of awareness: Many farmers in rural regions are uneducated and thus lack awareness. They are unaware of modern agricultural technologies, available credit facilities, and numerous government schemes. Many farmers in India lack access to markets where they can sell their produce at a fair price. Thus, they become a victim of middlemen who exploit the farmers by paying them very low price.

  6. Small Landholdings: Due to rising population and labor-intensive cultivation the land holdings get fragmented and subdivided which makes landholding sizes small and uneconomical. The average size of landholding in India is 2.3 hectares which is significantly lower than other major countries.

  7. More focus on food crops: Three-fourths of total cultivation land is dedicated to food crops such as wheat, rice, and bajra, while only one-fourth is allocated to commercial crops. Income generated in food crops is comparatively less than that in commercial crops. This contributes to the backward state of agriculture.

  8. Unequal distribution of land: Unfortunately, most of the agricultural land ownership is concentrated in the hands of a few rich farmers, landlords, and money lenders. Most farmers own little to no land due to such unequal land distribution, which is worsened by frequent changes in land ownership.

  9. Role of government: The Government of India undertook various measures to improve the agriculture sector. The Green Revolution was one such landmark initiative. Today Government is trying to help farmers with schemes like PM KISAN (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi), PMFBJ (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana), AIF (Agriculture Infrastructure Fund), PMKSY (Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana), AHIDF (Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund), KCC (Kisan Credit Card), PMKMDY (Pradhan Kisan Mantri Maan Dhan Yojana) and many more.

Farmer ploughing field

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