Agriculture

Indian agriculture is at crossroads and one of the major challenges is to reverse deceleration in agricultural growth. Main reason for deceleration in agricultural growth is declining investment particularly public investment in agriculture research and development and irrigation, combined with inefficiency of institutions providing inputs and services including rural credit and extension. Other factors such as land fragmentation, out-dated tenancy laws, lack of modern market and rural infrastructure, inappropriate input pricing policies, etc. are also responsible for agrarian and ecological crisis in the country. The crisis of stagnation in agriculture needs urgent attention.

Agriculture

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Salient Features of Indian Agriculture

  • Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian Economy.
  • Agriculture and allied sectors contribute nearly 17% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP of India), while about 55% of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood.
  • The agricultural output, however, depends on monsoon as nearly 60% of area sown in is dependent on rainfall.
  • Land utilisation data is available for 92.9% of total geographical area of 3,287.3 lakh hectares.
  • Agriculture accounts for about 14.7% of the total export earnings and provides raw material to a large number of industries. Agriculture includes agriculture, forestry and fishies
  • The Value of agricultural exports to total exports of the country has been ranging between 15% and 20%. Besides, goods made with the raw material of agriculture sector also contribute about 20% in Indian exports.
  • Agriculture and its related goods contribute about 38% in total exports of the country.
  • Commercial crops are those crops which are produced for trade purpose and not for self-consumption by the farmers. It includes – Oilseeds crops, Sugar crops, Fibre crops, Narcotic crops, Beverage crops.
  • The importance of agriculture in the industrial sector is not only for supply of raw material, but it provides food grains for the people working in that sector and market for industrial products.
  • Total geographical area of India is about 328.7 million hectares. For providing facilities relating to storage of agriculture products, “National Co-operative Development and Warehousing Board” was established in 1956 and “Central Warehousing Corporation” was established in 1957. Thereafter in states also the State Warehousing Corporation were established.

Dual Price Policy

In order to stop distress sale during the harvest season, the government fixes a Minimum Support Price (MSP). But if the prices of a particular agricultural produce goes above the MSP then the farmers should be paid a higher price by the government (similar to the one offered by private players) which is called procurement price.

Minimum Support Price (MSP)

Minimum Support Price (MSP) announced by the government is that price at which government is ready to purchase the crop from the farmers directly, if crop price falls below the MSP.

To encourage the agricultural products, the government announces to minimum support price for important agricultural crops.

The function of Agriculture Cost and Price Commission (ACPC) is to decide the minimum support prices on behalf of the government.

Statutory Minimum Price (SMP)

The Central Government announces Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) for Sugarcane every year

Food stocks are maintained by the central government for 3 purposes:

  • Maintaining prescribed buffer stock norms for food security,
  • Monthly supply through Public Distribution System (PDS),
  • Market intervention to stabilise open market prices.

Public Distribution System (PDS)

Public Distribution System in India is a food security system. Established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and managed jointly with State Government. It distributes subsidised food and non-food items to the Indian poor. Major commodities distributed include staple food grains, such as wheat, rice, sugar, and kerosene, through a network of PDS shop Food Corporation of India, issue food grains to the state..Distribution of food grains to poor people throughout the country is managed by state governments. List of major agricultural revolutions in India.

RevolutionProduction
Black RevolutionPetroleum Production
Blue RevolutionFish Production
Brown RevolutionLeather/non-conventional (India)/Cocoa production
Golden Fibre RevolutionJute Production
Golden RevolutionOverall Horticulture development/Honey Production
Green RevolutionFood grain (Cereals, Wheat & Leguminous plant) production
Grey RevolutionFertilizer Revolution
Pink RevolutionOnion production/Pharmaceutical (India)/Prawn production
Red RevolutionMeat & Tomato Production
Round RevolutionPotato Revolution
Silver Fiber RevolutionCotton Revolution
Silver RevolutionEgg/ Poultry Production
White RevolutionMilk/Dairy production (In India – Operation Flood)
Yellow RevolutionOil Seeds production
Evergreen RevolutionOverall development of Agriculture

Green Revolution

Due to the horrible famine during 1965-66 and 1966-67, the government implemented the new agriculture policy of high yielding seeds so as to increase agriculture production.

The credit of green revolution in India is given to the Agriculture Scientist Dr. Norman Borlaug. However, the contribution of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan is not less. But, its termed name is the contribution of American scientific Dr. William Gande.

White Revolution

  • Speedy increase in the field of milk production is called White Revolution.
  • To increase the pace of White Revolution, the Operation Flood was started. The Father of Operation Flood was Dr. Verghese Kurien. He is given full credit for successful implementation of this plan.
  • The Operation Flood was the largest integrated dairy development programme of the world. It was started by National Dairy Development Board in 1970.
  • India is the largest milk producing country in the world.
  • In milk production of the country the share of Buffalo, Cow and Goat is 50%, 46% and 45% respectively.
  • Per capita milk consumption in Punjab, it is 800 gm (maximum in India) and in Haryana, it is 640 gm.

Yellow Revolution

The increase in oil seeds production was due to “Yellow Revolution”.

Blue Revolution

The progress in increase of fish production was called “Blue Revolution”. India is the sixth largest fish producer in the world. India is on second position in inland fish production in the world.

India is the largest producer and consumer of tea in the world accounts for around 27% of world production and 13% of world trade. Assam is the biggest tea producer in the country.

India ranks sixth in world coffee production and contributes only 4% of world coffee production. Karnataka is the largest producer of coffee in the country and it accounts for 56.5% of total coffee production in India.

Cuba is known as the Sugar Bowl of the world. Here, sugar is made of Beetroot.

India holds first position in the world in the production of sugar cane and sugar.

Agricultural Production

  • Indian agricultures till depends upon monsoon.
  • Agricultural production can be divided into two parts — Food grains and Non-food grains, in which the share of food grains is two-third and non-food grains is one-third.

Largest producers of various crops:

CropsStates% Share (All India)
RiceWest Bengal19.81
WheatUttar Pradesh36.27
PulsesMadhya Pradesh19.84
GroundnutGujarat25.00
SoyabeanMadhya Pradesh56.58
SunflowerKarnataka45.05
SugarcaneUttar Pradesh41.31
CottonMaharashtra29.82
JuteWest Bengal75.40
Total FoodgrainUttar Pradesh20.84
Total OilseedsMadhya Pradesh19.92
  • Cashew nuts assume an important place in the Indian Economy. India produces 45% of the global production of Cashew.
  • India is the largest producer, processor, consumer and exporter of Cashew in the world.
  • India contributes about 13% to the world vegetable production and occupies first rank in the production of cauliflower, second in onion and third in cabbage in the world.
  • India’s share in the world production of mango is about 54%
  • India occupies the first rank in banana production of 1.16 million tonnes.
  • Agriculture accounts for about 14.7% of the total export earnings and provides raw material to a large number of industries.
  • During the first decade of planning (1951-61) when the First and Second Five Year Plans were implemented, the annual rate of growth in agriculture was 3.3%.
  • During the next two decades of planning in 1961-81, despite spectacular progress achieved under the new agricultural strategy and IADP and HYVT the overall progress in agriculture was dismal; the annual average rate of growth declined to 2.2% and 1.7% respectively, mainly because of bad weather and poor monsoon conditions.
  • The growth rate in the 1980’s was highly respectable (3.9%).
  • The Tenth Plan has fixed a target rate of growth of 4% in agriculture to achieve 8% rate of growth in GDP.
  • The production of wheat which stood at 11 million tonnes in 1960-61 rose to 76 million tonnes in 1999-2000 (but declined to 72 million tonnes in 2003-04).
  • Even now the production of pulses fluctuates between 13 and 15 million tonnes per year.
  • Neither did green revolution cover barley, ragi and minor-millets.
  • Thus, the green revolution was confined only to High Yielding Varieties (HYV) cereals mainly rice, wheat, maize and jowar.
  • National Agriculture Insurance Scheme was implemented in October 1999.
  • On 28 July 2000, the Central government fixed target for rate of growth in agriculture sector at more than 4% by 2005 under the National Agriculture Policy.

Land Reforms Programs in India include

  • Elimination of intermediaries
  • Tenancy Reforms
  • Determination of ceiling of holdings per family
  • Distribution of surplus land among landless people
  • Consolidation of holdings (Chakbandi)
  • By the end of first five year plan middlemen had been removed (except small areas).

The following measures were made effective for the betterment of farmers

  • Regulation of tax
  • Security for the rights of farmers
  • Right of land ownership for the farmers
  • For the reorganisation of agriculture land holding mainly two measures were taken — (i) Land ceiling and (ii) Chakbandi.
    Land ceiling determines the maximum land which can be held by a farmer. Holding more than that area will be illegal.
    Chakbandi of land means to aggregate the divided and broken land.
  • The land within area less than 1 hectare, is called marginal land holding, 1 to 4 hectare area is called small land holding and the land within area more than 4 hectare, is called large land holding.
  • Chakbandi was implemented first time in India in the year 1920 in Baroda.
  • The irrigation potential in India in 2000-01 was 9.47 crore hectare.
  • Green Revolution was started in the Third Five Year Plan.
  • The most positive effect of Green Revolution was on wheat. There was 500% increase in crop production.
  • Unorganised sources of agriculture finance are money-lenders, money-dealers, relatives, businessmen, landlords and commission agents.
  • Organised sources of agriculture finance are Co-operative Committees, Co-operative Banks, Commercial Banks, Regional Rural Banks, the Government etc.
  • Co-operative Credit Organisation started first time in 1904.
  • Primary Co-operative Committees provide credit for short period.
  • State Co-operative Agriculture and Rural Development Banks provide credit for long period.
  • Land Development Bank provides long-term loans.
  • Land Development Bank was established in the year 1919 in the form of Land Mortgage Bank.
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the apex institution of Rural Credit. It was established on 12th July, 1982 by the merger of Agriculture Credit department and reconstruction of Agriculture and Development Corporation of the Reserve Bank of India. Its establishment is based on the recommendation of Shivraman Committee.
  • Authorised share capital of NABARD was Rupees 500 crore. However, after an amendment its authorized share increased upto 5000 crore with effect from 1st February, 2001.

Two Major Crops of India

Kharif Crops – Sown in July and harvested in October. They include Rice, Jowar, Bajra, Maize, Cotton, Sugarcane, Soyabean, Groundnut.

Rabi Crops – Sown in October and harvested in March! April. They include Wheat, Barley, Gram, Tur, Rapeseed, Mustard.

Zayad Crops – Sown during March to June. It include Watermelons, Vegetables, Moong etc.

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Important Questions on Agriculture

Questions 1
Extensive subsistence agriculture is ___
(A) Farming on the slopes of Western Ghats
(B) Farming in the thickly populated areas
(C) Farming in the thinly populated areas
(D) Farming in the forests of equatorial region

Questions 2
Which of the following districts of Tamil Nadu is not suitable for farming due to rising salinity in soil?
(A) Tiruchirappalli
(B) Nagapattinam
(C) Ramanathapuram
(D) Coimbatore

Questions 3
In India the problem of utilisation of agricultural wastes is in
(A) Conversion of cellulose into sugar
(B) Conversion of bran into molasses
(C) Conversion of starch into alcohol
(D) Conversion of sugar into carbohydrates

Questions 4
Science dealing with study of soil is called
(A) Pedology
(B) Pedagogy
(C) Ecology
(D) Pomology

Questions 5
The Plantation agriculture produces
(A) Only Food Crops
(B) Plantation Crops
(C) Cash Crops
(D) Four Crops

FAQs on Agriculture

Which of the following components was not part of the agricultural policy of the Green Revolution?

Guaranteed maximum price instead of maximum price was a part of green revolution policy. Today it
has taken the form of MSP i.e. Minimum Support Price and it is declared by ACP i.e. Commission for
Agricultural Costs & Prices.

As per the classification by the agriculture ministry, how many agro climatic zones are in India?

Although the planning commission has divided India into 15 agro climatic zones, the Agricultural
Ministry on the other hand has divided India into 127 zones.

Agricultural commodities are graded with ___

AGMARK is a certification given to agricultural commodities in order to comply with the Agricultural
Products Act 1986. It is given for the assurance of quality.

What is the percentage of the Indian population engaged in agriculture?

Although agriculture contributes only 14% towards GDP yet more than 60% of the population is
engaged in it. It is still considered the backbone of the economy. as per the current data 56.6% are
engaged in Agriculture.

In the agricultural resources, cereals comprise ___

In the agricultural resources, cereals comprise of Rice, wheat, millets. The seven principal cereals
grown in the world are wheat, maize, rice, barley, oats, rye and sorghum. Wheat became very
popular because of the bread produced.

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