The problem of low agricultural productivity in India is a very complex problem and it cannot be attribute to any single cause. The factors that and causes of low agricultural production in India now be discussed under the following broad heads:
1. Natural and general factors
Pressure of population on land: The country’s population is much greater than its share in the land of the world. Not only this, the ratio of cultivable land to total land is also comparatively low. There is, therefore, greater pressure of population on land. Increasing pressure of population on land is partly responsible for the sub division and fragmentation of holdings. Productivity on small uneconomic holdings is low.
Nature of soil: The country has varied soil conditions from one part of the country to the other. Further the continuous cropping without replacement of lost fertility leads to deterioration of the conditions of the soil.
Natural factors: Agriculture in India is dominated by nature, especially by rainfall. It is said to be a gamble in monsoon. The rains may be insufficient or unevenly distributed, they are uncertain and sometimes we have too much of rain resulting in floods, causing wide-spread damage and destruction: There may be other natural calamities be falling on Indian agriculture such as hail storm, frost or attack by insects. These seriously handicap the Indian farmer in stepping up agricultural output.
Subsistence farming: A large majority of farmers keep to farming for raising food grains for thier subsistence and therefore they do not produce for selling in the market. The productivity of such farms is bound to be low on account of the cropping pattern of the low prospects for the agricultural improvement.
2. Techno-economic factors
Outdated agricultural techniques: Most of the Indian farmers continue to use outdated agricultural techniques. Wooden ploughs and bullocks are still used by a majority of farmers. Use of fertilizer and new high-yielding verity (H.Y.V) of seeds is also extremely limited. In summary, Indian agriculture is traditional, therefore, productivity is low.
Lack of irrigation facilities: Despite considerable efforts in bringing more area under irrigation, only 1/3rd of the total cultivated area is provided with irrigation facilities. Obviously, the rest of the area has to depend on rainfall. Even in the case of irrigated area optimum use of water is not made on account of non-availability of suitable water channel sprinklers.
Use of manures: We are aware that there is considerable wastage of organic manures in the form of farmyard manures in rural areas and urban waste in cities and town which could be fruitfully utilized for production of energy and increasing fertility.
Back of adequate finance: Financial facilities are utterly inadequate so that the farmer has to depend on the village money lender who charges exorbitant rates. More over the institutional credit covered barely 6.4% of it. In such a state productivity cannot be significant.
Absence of productive investment: Investment is jewellery, gold. etc., seem to be more attractive than investment in, land and other productive purposes. In the absence of productive investment, production cannot expand.
Neglect of agricultural research: Expenditure on agricultural research is very small and not development oriented.
In recent years the agricultural problem has become much more serious and intense as the population reached to over 1.2 billion. India requires a minimum growth rate of 4% in food grains and 6% in non-food crops. But the rate of growth in agriculture till date is not satisfactory enough. This is the challenge to the Indian agriculture which will have to be boldly tackled.