We have been hearing this from quite a while that India is a land of agriculture. Indeed, a large proportion of Indians are engaged in agriculture. I believe that Facts speak more than mere literature. Let’s look at some facts India’s agriculture
Facts regarding Indian Agriculture:
- India ranks 46th out of 149 countries in terms of agricultural growth.
- Indian farmers have 2,528,122 machinery out of which 1,525,000 are tractors.
- Area under permanent cropland is 169,700,000 hectares out of which 159,650,000 hectares (394.6 million acres) is used for farming which is the second largest in the world, after the United States.
- Indian farmers use 98.6kg of fertilizers per hectare.
- India ranks second worldwide in farm output.
- Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry and fisheries accounted for 16.6% of the GDP in 2009, about 50% of the total workforce.
- According to 2010 FAO world agriculture statistics, India is the world's largest producer of many fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, major spices, select fresh meats, select fibrous crops such as jute, several staples such as millets and castor oil seed. India is the second largest producer of wheat and rice, the world's major food staples. India is also the world's second or third largest producer of several dry fruits, agriculture-based textile raw materials, roots and tuber crops, pulses, farmed fish, eggs, coconut, sugarcane and numerous vegetables. India ranked within the world's five largest producers of over 80% of agricultural produce items, including many cash crops such as coffee and cotton, in 2010. India is also one the world's five largest producers of livestock and poultry meat, with one of the fastest growth rates, as of 2011
- As of 2011, India had a large and diverse agricultural sector, accounting, on average, for about 10 percent of export earnings.
- It's gross irrigated crop area of 82.6 million hectares (215.6 million acres) is the largest in the world.
- India has grown to become among the top three global producers of a broad range of crops, including wheat, rice, pulses, cotton, peanuts, fruits, and vegetables.
- Worldwide, as of 2011, India had the largest herds of buffalo and cattle, is the largest producer of milk, and has one of the largest and fastest growing poultry industries.
Yes indeed, you must be feeling proud reading this. But, this just what the facts say, there is more to it.
Let’s look at the darker side of Indian Agriculture:
- India has very poor rural roads affecting timely supply of inputs and timely transfer of outputs from Indian farms, inadequate irrigation systems, crop failures in some parts of the country because of lack of water while in other parts because of regional floods, poor seed quality and inefficient farming practices in certain parts of India, lack of cold storage and harvest spoilage causing over 30% of farmer's produce going to waste, lack of organized retail and competing buyers thereby limiting Indian farmer's ability to sell the surplus and commercial crops.
- The Indian farmer receives just 10 to 23 percent of the price the Indian consumer pays for exactly the same produce, the difference going to losses, inefficiencies and middlemen traders. Farmers in developed economies of Europe and the United States, in contrast, receive 64 to 81 percent of the price the local consumer pays for exactly the same produce in their supermarkets.
- Indian Government gives Loan waivers, but just only to the farmers? Here are some more facts:
- Rs. 88,263 crore is the loan waived for Corporate.
- Rs. 2,80,000 crore waived in excise duties.
- Rs. 1,80,000 crore waived in custom duties.
- Rs. 5,00,000 crore have been waived as loans for the whole corporate sector which is more than the Rs. 1,79,000 crore 2G SCAM.
Conclusions by the Facts:
- Agriculture occupies a prominent position in Indian policy-making not only because of its contribution to GDP but also because of the large proportion of the population that is dependent on the sector for its livelihood.
- The growth in population and wealth has stimulated demand to the extent that domestic production has not always been able to keep up and there is increasing speculation that the Indian economy may be overheating leading to inflation.
- The downside of the increased import demand and the current commodity boom is that India’s food import bill will rise sharply.
- However it is clear that India’s agricultural sector has made huge strides in developing its potential.
- The green revolution massively increased the production of vital food grains and introduced technological innovations into agriculture.
- This progress is manifested in India’s net trade position. Where once India had to depend on imports to feed its people, since 1990 it is a net exporter of agri-food products.
- Its agriculture is large and diverse and its sheer size means that even slight changes in its trade have significant effects on world agricultural markets.
- As the service economy grows, the share of agriculture will diminish, which may also have implications for India’s stance on trade and agriculture policy in the future.
FACTS OF AGRICULTURE IN MAHARASHTRA:
- 147 farmers commit suicide each day.
- 1600 farmers attempt suicide every three days.
- 4000 farmers leave farming each day.
- 13,000 children die of malnutrition in each day.
- Maharashtra ranks 1st in Per Capita Income, but also is 1st in number of farmer suicides and 1st in number of malnourished children.
- Still, 23 out of 55 billionaires are in Maharashtra!
WORLD BANK REPORT ABOUT INDIAN AGRICULTURE:
- Slow agricultural growth is a concern for policymakers as some two-thirds of India’s people depend on rural employment for a living. Current agricultural practices are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable and India's yields for many agricultural commodities are low. Poorly maintained irrigation systems and almost universal lack of good extension services are among the factors responsible. Farmers' access to markets is hampered by poor roads, rudimentary market infrastructure, and excessive regulation."
—World Bank: "India Country Overview 2008"
- With a population of just over 1.2 billion, India is the world’s largest democracy. In the past decade, the country has witnessed accelerated economic growth, emerged as a global player with the world’s fourth largest economy in purchasing power parity terms, and made progress towards achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals. India’s integration into the global economy has been accompanied by impressive economic growth that has brought significant economic and social benefits to the country. Nevertheless, disparities in income and human development are on the rise. Preliminary estimates suggest that in 2009-10 the combined all India poverty rate was 32% compared to 37% in 2004-05. Going forward, it will be essential for India to build a productive, competitive, and diversified agricultural sector and facilitate rural, non-farm entrepreneurship and employment. Encouraging policies that promote competition in agricultural marketing will ensure that farmers receive better prices."
—World Bank: "India Country Overview 2011"
Facts provided by Palagummi Sainath at his speech at the SECOND INDIAN STUDENT PARLIAMENT
- Anand Purohit
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