Understanding Indian Agriculture: Main problems in this sector

Indian Agriculture: Statistics  of the poorest states in India

Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in Indian Economy. In 2018, it employed around 50% of the workforce. Its contribution to our Gross Domestic Product is around 18%. Even with such a huge workforce, the contribution is comparatively less. This is mainly because the productivity in this sector is low.

The Indian farming sector has a lot of problems that need to be tackled to increase productivity.

  1. The agricultural land is largely fragmented.  The numbers of farms in India have seen a huge rise from 1970-71 to 2015-16. It rose from 71 million to 145 million. The reason for huge scale expansion was the division of land. It is only in Nagaland, where the average size of the land is 5 hectares. In other states, such as Haryana and Punjab, the farmland averages around 3.6 ha. These are also major contributors to agriculture. Majority states in India do not have land above 2ha. Poorerstates see more landless framers, small farmers (land more than 1 ha) or marginal farmers (land less than 1 ha).  With an average size of 5ha, Nagaland is home to India’s largest farms. Punjab and Haryana, two states are known for their agricultural output, also have larger farm sizes (3.6ha in Punjab and 2.2ha in Haryana).

However, these are exceptions. The majority of India’s farms (86%) are less than 2ha. The bulk of which are located in the poorer states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar

  1. Unpredictable monsoon- India has a monsoon type of climate, yet there is no definitive period or amount of rainfall that can be ascertained. Farmers suffer when the monsoon is late or largely absent and even when the monsoon is abundant it leads to failure of crops. This is evident from this year’s rise in the price of onion.
  1. Dependence on fertilisers, pesticides- After the Green Revolution, India shifted to pesticide and fertilisers and the dependence has been very large. These chemicals not only harm the land in the long run but are also bad for the health of the farmers and public health.
  1. Poor infrastructure- It is important that India has a good infrastructure in terms of roads connectivity and storage connectivity. Better roads will help by providing better connectivity to markets.
  1. Lack of knowledge and awareness of the farmers about the use of technology and mechanisation. Even though the Government is working towards ensuring that the farmers benefit from the advanced use of technology, a lot of farmers are reluctant to do so or simply unaware.

Read more: Raisina Dialogue 2020: Know its inception, objective & theme

Understanding the agricultural health of our country    

There is an urgent need that India shifts from the primary sector to different sectors. Even in agriculture, there can be a focus on building cooperatives, Sustainable farming such as Zero Budget Natural Farming, consolidation of land, focusing on alternate activities like animal husbandry, poultry farming etc.

With a better contribution from this sector, our GDP will also improve and help in erasing unemployment.

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