Thursday, December 24, 2009


Agricultural Sector has a vital place in the economic development of the country as it provides 26.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and provides livelihood to 110 million of the work force and accounts for 1/6th of the total value of the county’s exports. India has achieved self-reliance in the foodgrain production. Per capita availability of food went up to 484.1 gms per day in 1998-99 as compared to 395 gms in early Fifties.

India has achieved this feat by multipronged strategies and technologies such as Green revolution, Blue revolution, white revolution and of course the latest yellow revolution and is now poised for Rainbow revolution.

Indian agriculture is also on the threshold of becoming globally competitive and is in a position to make major gains in the export market. The compound growth rate in agricultural production is 2.7 per cent per annum since independence. The diversified cropping pattern, cultivation of commercial crops, crossbred milch and draught animals, fisheries development made a great progress in the country’s development.

Self Reliance in Food Production; Green Revolution

Although the population has tripled since Independence, the country has evolved from a net importer of foodgrains with domestic production of about 50 million tonnes (mt) in 1950-51 to a position of self-sufficiency of foodgrains. The country has achieved a record foodgrain production of 203.04 mt in 1998-99.Green revolution played a major role in India’s self-reliance in food production. It is a combined work of fertilizers, irrigation, High yielding varieties and proper plant protection management. The irrigation potential of minor, medium and major projects combined together have reached 89 mha from 23 mha in early 50s. Intensive Area Development Programme (IADP), High Yielding variety programmes and multiple variety programmes and multiple river valley projects played a key role in agricultural production.

HYVP started in 1966 covered 75 mha of land till 1998-99
. The fertilizers and manures consumption has gone upto 16.87 mt. Fertilizer consumption trends can be visualized from the following table:


Fertilizer Consumption( Kg/Ha)











Crop Production

The production of foodgrains has increased from 50.8 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 203.04 million tonnes in 1998-99. The major food grains has higher growth rate than the minor food grains. Against this remarkable achievement, production of pulses remains stagnant at 14.81 million tonnes except for few years. The oil seed technology mission has improved the oil seed production in recent years reaching 25.2 million tonnes. During the fifty years wheat has shown maximum improvement in the productivity followed by rice in the major food grains. Minor food grains production and productivity did not show much improvement.

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The productivity of food grains has jumped from 552 kg/ha in 1950-51 to 1620 kg/ha in 1998-99. Rice and wheat also reached from 668 kg/ha and 655 kg/ha to l928 kg/ha and 2583 kg/ha respectively.

In the commercial crops in 1998-99, the production of Cotton, Jute, Sugarcane was 12.18 million bales (170 kg each), 9.70 million bales (180 kg each) and 295.73 million tonnes respectively.

Land Utilisation

India has the largest percentage of cultivable land to the reported land in the world. Since independence the net area sown as well as Gross Area sown have increased by lateral expansion and irrigation facilities respectively. The maximum area under cultivation is Paddy

followed by wheat. The distribution of crops more or less remained the same since 1951.

Area (Million 1950-51 1960-61 1970-71 1980-81 1990-91 1995-96

Hectares) (Provisional)


Net area shown - 118.8 133.2 140.3 140.0 143.0 142.2

Cropped area - 131.9 152.8 165.8 172.6 185.7 186.6

Area sown

more than once - 13.1 19.6 25.5 32.6 42.7 44.4

Net irrigated

Area - 20.9 24.7 31.1 38.7 47.8 53.5

Highlights of Indian Agriculture

  • One of the oldest agricultural systems in the world.
  • Largest producer of fruits(41.5mt), coconut (13 billion nuts) & second largest producer of vegetables (67.28 mt).
  • Largest area in the world under pulse crops
  • First to evolve a cotton hybrid (H-4,By Gujarat Agricultural University in 1970).
  • Second in production of rice(88.5 mt).
  • Spectrum of climate from arid to cold..
  • Largest producer of Sugarcane(295.73 mt).
  • Maximum percentage of the geographical area is arable land.
  • Possesses more than 56% of the buffaloes in the world (8.42 million) and ranks first in respect of cattle & buffalo, 2nd in goats, 3rd in sheep and 7th in poultry population .
  • Largest producer of milk in the world.

Farm Mechanization

Farm production and productivity increased many folds by the use of improved and modern agricultural machines. Even though India is known for its scattered small holdings, has overcome all the odds by above machinery’s successfully. The usage of tractors, oil engines and electrical pumps have multiplied since independence. During the period of 1950~51 to 1998-99 the number of Tractors and electrical irrigation pumps has increased from 10,000 to 18,00,000 and 20,000 to 9.62 million respectively. The consumption of power Kwh/1000 ha gross Cropped area also increased from 1.5 to 350.7.


India is the largest producer of vegetables in the world. Immense agro-climatic diversity enables India to grow a large variety of horticultural crops which include fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices and plantation crops. The country holds the first place in global production of bananas, mangoes, coconuts and cashew.

Horticultural production - fruits, vegetables, flowers, cashew, spices etc account for 25% of total agri- exports.

The diversity of physiographic, climatic and soil characteristics make it possible to grow horticultural crops almost throughout the year. The horticulture crops provide better alternatives for diversification of Indian Agriculture in view of higher returns accruing from them. India produced 41.5 million tonnes of fruits and 67.28 million tonnes of vegetables during 1998-99 and 13 billion nuts of coconut during 1998-99.

Animal husbandry and Dairy Development

Animal husbandry and dairying are vital sectors of India’s economy, more particularly the rural economy. It provides a significant proportion of self-employment opportunity in the employment generated in the agriculture livestock sector.

The Operation Flood played major role in bringing the milk production to triple fold since its inception in 1970’s.
India also became the world’s Number one milk producer in 1997, with an estimated production of 72 million tonnes, more than that of the then biggest – the United States (70.7 million tonnes). The target of milk production for the year 1999-2000 has been kept at 78.1 mt.

One sixth of world cattle population is in India and the Milk machine buffalo population contributes more than half of the globe. India has 205 million cattles, 8.42 m. buffaloes, 5.1 m sheeps, 11.5 m. goats and 30.7 m. poultry population.

Egg production during 98-99 was 30,142 million compared to only 800 million two decade ago. By 1999-2000 the production is expected to reach 31,320 million. Currently India ranks fifth in egg production in the world.

In India’s dairy development the role of international cooperation has been significant through bilateral and multilateral assistance. Among the countries that have participated include, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA. European Union, FAZ/UNDP, FAD/WFP, UNICEF and the World Bank (IDA) are International Agencies that assisted in India’s ambitious programme. One outstanding example of such cooperation is the Operation Flood (1970-96). Planned and executed by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), this project (OF) has been a major instrument for modernizing the dairy sector and putting it under the cooperative umbrella.


Fisheries help in augmenting food supply generating employment, raising nutritional level and earning foreign exchange. During thye year 1998-99 the total fish production was 52.62 lakh tonnes. Production during 1999-2000 is expected to be 55.81 lakh tonnes. India is now the sixth largest producer of fish in the world.

Fish Farmers Development Agencies (FFDA) provide a package of technical, financial and extension support to fish farmers, for the development in land fisheries. For the development of marine fisheries, apart from six major fishing harbours viz. Cochin, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Roychowk and Paradip, 41 minor fishing harbours and fish landing centres have been constructed to provide lending and berthing facilities to fishing craft.

Agricultural Research and education

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), is the main organisation of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) of the Ministry of Agriculture.
It has played pivotal role in developing agricultural technologies, input materials and critical scientific mass leading to self-sufficiency in food. The activities of the ICAR are organised into eight subject matter divisions, namely, Division of crop sciences, Horticulture, Soil Agronomy and Agro-Forestry, Agricultural Engineering, Animal Science, Fisheries, Agricultural Extension and Agricultural education.

The Research is carried out through a chain of 45 Central institutes, 4 Bureaux, 10 project directorates, 30 national research centres (NRCs) and 80 All India Coordinated Research Projects (AlCRPs) located throughout the country, mostly at 28 State agricultural universities (SAUs) at their 200 zonal research stations.

The whole country has been divided into 120 distinct agro-climatic zones and in each of them, a multidisciplinary regional research station has been established under on-going national agricultural research project.

Launched- Jai Vigyan National Science and Technology Mission on Conservation of Agro- biodiversity (Plant Genetic Resources). A total of 61,015 samples of diverse germplasm procured from 63 countries. In National Gene Bank, data pertaining to all conserved accessions have been computerized.

Agricultural Price Policy

Prices of agricultural produce are important for farmers as these determine their Incomes. Agricultural produce shows maximum price fluctuation. So farm sector needs a price policy for price stabilisation.

The main objective of the Government’s price policy for agricultural produce continue to aim at ensuring remunerative prices to the growers for their produce with a view to encouraging higher investment and adoption of modern farm technology for achieving higher levels of production as also to safeguard the interests of consumers by making available supplies at reasonable prices. Each season Government announces Minimum Support Price (MSP) for 24 major agricultural commodities and organises purchase operations through public and cooperative agencies. MSP is increased by 5.5 per cent to 15 per cent during 1999-2000.

The Government decides on the support price for various agricultural commodities based on the recommendations of the commission for agricultural costs and prices (CACP).

Agriculture in the Plans

India adopted planning in 1951 when it launched its First Five Year Plan for the period 1951 to 56. Since then it has completed Eight Five-Year Plans. The Ninth Plan (1997-2002) is currently in operation since 1 April 1997.

India, being an agrarian economy got major share of her plan outlay for agriculture except second plan when the importance gone to basic and heavy industries.


TOTAL OUTLAY(in crores)




1, 960




4, 600




8, 600

1, 750



15, 780

3, 670



39, 430

8, 740



1, 09, 290

26, 130



2, 18, 730

48, 100



4, 34, 100

63, 642 *

14.7 *



1.15,390 *

13.2 *

* Outlay for Agriculture and allied.

Role of Agriculture in Forex Earning

Export of agricultural products has exhibited on increasing trend over the years. India’s agricultural exports include pulses, rice, wheat, cereals, tobacco, sugar and molasses, Poultry and dairy produces, horticulture products, spices, cashews, sesame and niger seed, groundnut, oil meals, castor oil, Shellac, fruits and vegetables, cotton, processed vegetables, juices and meat and marine products. The share of agricultural export in India’s export is 21.47 per cent.






























In early 50s India was one of the foodgrains importing countries of the third world. Now India started to export food grains because of her improved food production due to green revolution and other related technologies. Still India has the potential to increase the share of agricultural export in the world market.

Though Indian agriculture is considered as gambling with monsoon, it has overcome all the odds. Indian agriculture production is going with the pace of teeming millions of population. With green revolution otherwise called water-fertilizer-hybrid seed technology gave an impetus in the development of economy. India still has a great potential to develop and improve the agricultural production on par with the developed countries.

Welfare Measures

Kisan Credit Cards Scheme has been launched to provide timely and adequate credit support to the farmers for their production needs in a flexible and cost effective manner. 51 lakh KCCs had been issued upto December 1999.

National Agriculture Insurance Scheme has been introduced to provide an effective risk cover to all farmers. Small & marginal farmers are eligible for 50 per cent subsidy on premium under the scheme.

Under new scheme capital subsidy of 25 per cent will be provided for construction/modernization/expansion of cold storages.



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