Agriculture Sector is one of the most important sectors of Indian economy. Here is a brief profile of agriculture in India.

Agriculture in India

Agriculture in India is one of the most important sectors of its economy. It is the means of livelihood of almost two thirds of the work force in the country and according to the economic data for the financial year 2006-07, agriculture accounts for 18% of India's GDP. About 43 % of India's geographical area is used for agricultural activity. Though the share of Indian agriculture in the GDP has steadily declined, it is still the single largest contributor to the GDP and plays a vital role in the overall socio-economic development of India.

One of the biggest success stories of independent India is the rapid strides made in the field of agriculture. From a nation dependent on food imports to feed its population, India today is not only self-sufficient in grain production but also has substantial reserves. Dependence of India on agricultural imports and the crises of food shortage encountered in 1960s convinced planners that India's growing population, as well as concerns about national independence, security, and political stability, required self-sufficiency in food production. This perception led to a program of agricultural improvement called the Green Revolution. It involved bringing additional area under cultivation, extension of irrigation facilities, the use of improved high-yielding variety of seeds, better techniques evolved through agricultural research, water management, and plant protection through judicious use of fertilisers, pesticides and cropping practices. All these measures had a salutary effect and the production of wheat and rice witnessed quantum leap.

To carry improved technologies to farmers and to replicate the success achieved in the production of wheat and rice a National Pulse Development Programme, covering 13 states, was launched in 1986. Similarly, a Technology Mission on Oilseeds was launched in 1986 to increase production of oilseeds in the country and attain self-sufficiency. Pulses were brought under the Technology Mission in 1990. After the setting up of the Technology Mission, there has been consistent improvement in the production of oilseeds. A new seeds policy has been adopted to provide access to high-quality seeds and plant material for vegetables, fruit, flowers, oilseeds and pulses, without in any way compromising quarantine conditions. To give fillip to the agriculture and make it more profitable, Ministry of Food Processing Industries was set up in July 1988. Government has also taken initiatives to encourage private sector investment in the food processing industry.

However, there are still a host of issues that need to be addressed regarding Indian agriculture. Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on monsoons. The monsoons play a critical role in determining whether the harvest will be rich, average, or poor. The structural weaknesses of the agriculture sector are reflected in the low level of public investment, exhaustion of the yield potential of new high yielding varieties of wheat and rice, unbalanced fertilizer use, low seeds replacement rate, an inadequate incentive system and post harvest value addition.

There is an urgent need for second green revolution in Indian agriculture and taking it to a higher trajectory of 4 per cent annual growth. Following steps need to be taken to achieve this objective:
Note: The above information was last updated on 21-07-2007