In India, population pressure is increasing while area under cultivation is static (as shown in the land utilization statistics given below) or even shrinking, which demand intensification of cropping and allied activities in two dimensions i.e., time and space dimension. India is endowed with tropical climate with abundant solar energy throughout the year, which favours growing crops round the year. There is a vast scope to increase irrigation potential by river projects and minor irrigation projects. In additional to the above, India is blessed with more labourer availability. Since agriculture is the primary sector, other sectors are dependent on agriculture.

Total geographical area : 328.848 million ha. Total reporting area : 304.300 million ha. Area under cultivation : 143.000 million ha. Total cropped area : 179.750 million ha. Area sown more than once : 36.750 million ha. Area not available for cultivation : 161.300 million ha. Area under forest : 66.400 million ha.

In India, major allocation has been done in each five-year plan to agriculture. In 8th five-year plan, nearly 23% of the national budget allocation goes to agriculture and allied agro-based cottage industries run on small scales. More than 60% of the Indian population (60 millions/1.05 billion) depends or involved in agriculture and allied activities. Nearly 40% of the net national product is from agricultural sector. Approximately 35% employment is generated from agriculture, out of which 75% is found in rural areas either directly or indirectly.

In India, food grain production increased almost four folds from about 50 million tones at inde- pendence to more than 220 million tones in 2005 through green revolution. Despite variation in the performance of individual crops and regions, total food grain production maintained a growth of 2.7% per annum, which kept ahead of population growth at about 2.2% per annum. Through white revolu- tion, milk production increased from 17 million tones at independence to 69 million tones (1997-98). Through blue revolution, fish production rose from 0.75 million tones to nearly 5.0 million tones during the last five decades.

Through yellow revolution, oil seed production increased 5 times (from 5 million tones to 25 million tones) since independence. Similarly, the egg production increased from 2 billion at independence to 28 billion, sugarcane production from 57 million tones to 276 million tones, cotton production from 3 million bales to 14 million bales which shows our sign of progress.

India is the largest producer of fruits in the world. India is the second largest producer of milk and vegetables. In future, agriculture development in India would be guided not only by the compulsion of improv- ing food and nutritional security, but also by the concerns for environmental protection, sustainability and profitability. By following the General Agreement on Trade and Tariff (GATT) and the liberaliza- tion process, globalization of markets would call for competitiveness and efficiency of agricultural production. Agriculture will face challenging situations on the ecological, global climate, economic equity, energy and employment fronts in the years to come.

by Abdullah Sam
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