Introduction: India is mainly an agricultural country. Agriculture is the most important occupation for most of the Indian families.
Agriculture included farm related activities for growing crops and includes the rearing of animals for agriculture purposes. In India, agricultural produce contributes about sixteen percent (16%) of total GDP and ten percent (10%) of total exports.
Over 60 % of India’s land area is arable making it the second largest country in terms of total arable land. Agricultural products of significant economic value includes rice, wheat, potato, tomato, onion, mangoes, sugar-cane, beans, cotton, etc.
Economic Growth: Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy. Though, with the growth of other sectors, the overall share of agriculture on GDP of the country has decreased. Still, Agriculture continues to play a dominant part in the overall economic scenario of India.
Source of Food for domestic consumption: Food is essential for life. We depend on agricultural outputs for our food requirements. India produces large quantity of food grains such as millets, cereals, pulses, etc. A major portion of the food-stuffs produced is consumed within the country. Our farmers works day and night to feed our population that counts over 1.21 billion.
Besides agriculture with a commercial bias, subsistence agriculture with its emphasis on the production of food for the cultivator’s family is widespread. Traditionally, Agriculture is followed as the simplest method of obtaining food for the family. Agriculture in India is more a ‘way of life’ then a ‘mode of business’.
Export: India exports excess food and agricultural products. A large proportion of India’s export trade is based on the agricultural products, such as jute, tea, tobacco, coffee, spices, and sugar. It helps in increasing the foreign exchange. India is ranked seventh in terms of agricultural exports. In 2013, India exported agricultural products valuing around 39 billion dollars. India exports agricultural produce and processed food to over 100 countries all around the world.
Basic occupation of millions: Agriculture is the basic occupation for majority of main-workers in India. A large number of rural women are also engaged in agriculture. According to 2001 census, over 56.6% of the main workers in India are engaged in agricultural and allied activities.
Agro-based industries: A number of industries are agro-based industries, such as jute, cotton, sugar, etc. Raw materials for such industries are supplied from agricultural produce.
Ancillary industries: The vast scale of agricultural has led growth of several ancillary industries that manufacture equipment and other inputs to aid in increasing the productivity. There has been a consistent demand for agricultural tractors. Further, along with agricultural chemicals, the future of agriculture has lies in agro-nutrients. The mass scale development of industries ancillary to agriculture will surely contribute to overall economy of our country.
Green revolution: Green revolution began in India with an objective to give greater emphasis on Agriculture. The era of Green revolution that began in 1960s witnessed significant increase in the production of food crops. The introduction of improved methods of agriculture and high yielding varieties (HYV) seeds, mainly wheat, had resulted into remarkable improvement in agricultural outputs.
The productivity of land increased tremendously giving huge economic boost to the nation. A comparative analysis of agricultural productivity in India for the period 1970-1971 and 2010-2011 is give below.
|Crop||Average yield (tonne/per hectare during the period 1970-1971)||Average yield (tonne/per hectare for period 2010–2011)||Yield Increase (tonne/per hectare)||Percentage increase in average yield (Tonne/per hectare)|
From the above table we can clearly see a large scale improvement in agricultural productivity during the period between from 1970 to 2011. The average yield per hectare of wheat, oilseeds, and cotton rose by more than 100 percentage points. The productivity of rice also increased by nearly 100 percent. All this has contributed in making India a self-sustained agricultural country.