Agriculture, Essay, Uncategorized

Material for Essay Topic: Agriculture

Essay Topic: Agriculture

Quotes on Agriculture
●        “Agriculture is the most Healthful, most useful and most Noble Employment of Man.” – George Washington

●        “Everything can wait, but not Agriculture.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

●        “The discovery of agriculture was the first big step toward a civilized life.” – Arthur Keith

●        “Agriculture is civilization.” – E. Emmons

●        “Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy.” – Allan Savory

●        “Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy.” – M. K. Gandhi

●        “Jai Jawan, Jai Vigyan, Jai Vigyan!” – Atal Bihari Vajpayee

●        “If agriculture fails, everything else will fail.” – M. S. Swaminathan

●        “Our farmers are pride of our Nation.” – Narendra Modi

●        What we need is an “Evergreen revolution” in Agriculture – A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Pt. Nehru, the first PM of India advocated that “Everything, except agriculture can wait”. It is of no surprise that farmers and farming activity were given sacred status in Indian civilisation where Goddess Annapurna is the goddess of food and nourishment in Hinduism. In modern times, Agriculture in India boasts of a series of achievements – Largest producer of milk; Second largest producer of rice, wheat, fruits, and vegetables, Fifth largest producer of poultry. However, it also continues to suffer from problems of malnutrition, farmer distress, farmer suicides, post-harvest losses, challenges of climate change etc. Thus, while agriculture in  India may have come a long way, it continues to face series of challenges.

Agriculture is defined as a primary economic activity. In other words, it is the science or practice of farming, including cultivation of the soil for the growing of crops and the rearing of animals to provide food, wool, and other products.

However, implications of agriculture are huge for human life and human society – social, political, cultural, ecological, security, strategic etc. Hence, it is of no surprise agriculture possibly the only economic activity which has ‘culture’ as a suffix corroborating its multiple and multi-dimensional implications.


Agriculture isn’t a uniform activity but dependent on physical and human factors giving rise to different types of farming. Some of which are:

●        Subsistence agriculture

  • It is the cultivation of small and scattered holdings with the help of draught animals and family members with primitive techniques. It is practiced by majority of farmers across the world.

●      Nomadic Herding

  • It is based upon the rearing of animals on natural pastures. This practice is performed by the people of semi-arid and arid regions. Northern Africa, parts of Arabia and parts of northern Eurasia are the typical regions of this type of farming. This is a subsistence type of

●    Plantation agriculture

  • It was introduced in India by Britishers and involves growing and processing of a single crop purely meant for sale. Examples include plantations of Tea, Rubber, Coffee, Cocoa etc. Practiced mainly in Assam, sub-Himalayan, West Bengal, Nilgiri, Annamalai and Cardamom

●        Shifting agriculture

  • It involves clearing of forest land by felling and burning and then growing crops. The land is abandoned in 2-3 years after the fertility of the soil is lost. It is practiced by nearly 250 million people, especially in the tropical rain forests of South America, Central and West Africa, and Southeast

●        Livestock Ranching

  • Under this system of farming, the major emphasis is laid on rearing animals. Unlike nomadic herding, the farmers live a settled This type of farming has developed on a commercial basis in areas of the world where large plots of land are available for animal grazing, such as the low rainfall areas of North America, South America and Australia.

●        Commercial Grain Farming

  • This type of farming is a response to farm mechanization and is the major type of farming in the areas with low rainfall and These crops are prone to the vagaries of weather and droughts, and monoculture of wheat is the general practice. Prairies, steppes, and temperate grasslands of South America and Australia are the main areas for this type of farming.


●        Early History

  • By 9000 BCE, Wheat, Barley, Jujube were domesticated in the Indian This was soon followed by domestication of sheep and goat.
  • During the Indus Valley Civilization, cotton industry was well Rice was cultivated in the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • Mixed farming formed the basis of the Indus valley Also, irrigation developed around 4500 BCE.

●        Vedic period – Post Maha Janapadas period (1500 BCE – 200 CE)

  • In the later Vedic texts (c. 1000–500 BC), there are repeated references to iron. Cultivation of a wide range of cereals, vegetables, and fruits is Meat and milk products were part of the diet as animal husbandry was important. The soil was plowed several times. Seeds were broadcast. Fallowing and a certain sequence of cropping were recommended. Cow dung provided the manure. Irrigation was practiced.

●        The Mauryan Empire (322–185 BCE)

  • Soils were categorized and meteorological observations for agricultural use were
  • In addition, the administration facilitated construction and maintenance of dams, and provision of horse-drawn chariots.
  • Early Common Era – High Middle Ages (200–1200 CE)
    • The Tamil people cultivated a wide range of crops such as rice, sugarcane, millets, black pepper, various grains, coconuts, beans, cotton etc.
  • Systematic ploughing, manuring, weeding, irrigation and crop protection was practiced  for sustained
  • Spice trade involving gained momentum as India started shipping spices to the Mediterranean.

●     Late Middle Ages – Early Modern Era (1200–1757 CE)

  • There were advancements in Irrigation technologies along with division of agricultural ‘Zones’ into producing rice, wheat or
  • Cultivation of tobacco (introduced by the Portuguese) spread rapidly. Malabar Coast became the home of spices, especially black pepper.
  • New species of fruit, such as the pineapple, papaya, and cashew nut, also were introduced by the Portuguese.
  • Land management was particularly strong especially during the regime of Akbar, under whom Todarmal formulated and implemented elaborated methods for agricultural management.

●        Colonial Era (1757–1947 CE)

  • Agriculture in India during this time was marked by a downward The new methods of Land revenue system led to massive agrarian distress and poverty.
  • In addition, deliberate de-industrialisation led to massive pressure of land leading to further
  • The emphasis on Commercial Crops over food crops led to series of famines and increases risks for
  • The state of agriculture during the interwar period was even more tragic and marked by high population growth but almost stagnant food output. The crisis was most acute in Bengal leading to infamous Bengal famine.

●        Republic of India (1947 CE onwards)

  • Post-Independence, India was faced problems of food shortage, war with Pakistan and refugee crisis. Hence, tackling food shortage became utmost priority and formed the basis of first five year
  • Gradually, there was a more coherent and balanced approach to agricultural
  • “Agenda of Land reforms” led the strategy of agricultural development followed by development of Dams which were touted as “Temples of Modern India”.
  • Grow More Food Campaign (1940s) and the Integrated Production Programme (1950s) focused on food and cash crops supply respectively. In addition Land reclamation, land development, mechanization, electrification, use of chemicals—fertilizers in particular, and development of agriculture oriented ‘package approach’ of taking a set of actions instead of promoting single aspect soon followed under government
  • Introduction of a series of production revolutions from 1960s -: Green Revolution; Yellow Revolution (Oilseed – 1986-1990), Operation Flood (Dairy – 1970-1996), and Blue Revolution (Fishing – 1973- 2002)
  • Institutional support -Indian Council of Agricultural Research; Dairy Development Board; National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Post 1991 – Growth in agricultural sector benefiting from the earlier reforms and the newer innovations of Agro-processing and
  • As of today – Food security as well as export house for the world; Contract farming along with e- commerce in agriculture is propelling agricultural sector; Organic farming has become a major potential for
  • Challenges – Declining public expenditure, small landholdings, exposure to global glut in agri- commodities, inadequate governance capacity continue to create problems for India’s farmers


●        Political

  • It forms the largest vote-bank as more than 50% of the Indian workforce is engaged in agriculture and allied
  • Agricultural priorities and others became major part of manifesto of every party. In 2014, BJP proposed to set up a Price Stabilisation Fund and evolve a single ‘National Agriculture Market’ and promote area specific crops and vegetables linked to food habits of the people. The Congress party promised to focus on increasing agriculture productivity and farmer incomes by increasing investments in irrigation, agricultural value chains, cold storage and warehousing,
  • Food Inflation especially of Onion led became a moot point in 2004 Lok Sabha
  • Peasant and farmer movements have been a continued feature of Indian society. Some of the most prominent ones include Champaran Satyagrah, Kheda Peasant Struggle, Bardoli Movement in Gujarat, Moplah rebellion in Malabar, Peasant revolt in Telangana
  • It is often said that whosoever ignores agriculture is bound to lose the election.

●        Social

  • Form the very basis of rural life; penetrating into every aspect of social and cultural The rising agricultural surplus caused by increasing agricultural production and productivity tends to improve social welfare, particularly in rural areas.
  • Agriculture influences every aspect of culture – beliefs, food, festivals, dress etc – For e.g. Makar Sankranti, Baisakhi, Onam, Pongal are examples of harvest festivals
  • A number of trees like Peepal and animals like Cow are revered in India
  • Status of agriculture has a huge impact on health and status of women and children. It is considered as the best tool for tackling malnourishment

●        Economic

  • One of the most employment-intensive sectors. In fact, agriculture in India has been characterized by a high degree of disguised unemployment.
  • Forms the basis for other manufacturing (as raw material) and service sector (for  supporting services). Many raw materials and inputs used in industrial production, e.g., cotton, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, etc., is supplied by the agricultural sector. Such production linkages demonstrate that a 10% increase in agricultural output results in an increase in industrial output by as much as 5%.
  • Is becoming a hub for Entrepreneurship in Agri-based start-ups e.g. Kamal Kisan which develops customized low-cost farm equipment, Ninjacart which is a technology based supply chain management system.

●        Security and Strategic

  • Food is an important source of security for a nation.
  • During world wars, attacking food carrying ships/submarines became a potent tool for winning
  • Food-price spike formed the final nail in the coffin for regimes in Middle-east during Arab
  • Recently, countries are buying land in foreign countries for Agriculture. For example more than 80 Indian companies have invested about £1.5 billion (about Rs. 11,300 crore ) in buying huge plantations in countries in eastern Africa, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal and Mozambique that will be used to grow food grain for the domestic

●         Ecological

  • Agriculture combined with forestry and other land use is the second biggest contributor to Green House Gas emissions after the energy sector
  • The prospects of future intensification of agriculture will have major detrimental impacts on the non-agricultural terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of the
  • The doubling of agricultural food production during the past 35 years was associated with a 6.87-fold increase in nitrogen fertilization, a 3.48-fold increase in phosphorus fertilization, a 1.68-fold increase in the amount of irrigated
  • Agriculture impacts the ability of non-agricultural ecosystems to provide services which are vital to humanity.


  • Agriculture in India represents a very paradoxical situation – A situation of hope a situation of crisis:
    • Food security Vs Nutrition – Ranked 100 out of 119 on Global Hunger Index, 2017 India’s continues to retain its tag of world’s fastest growing large economy Farmers continue to dump vegetables, fruits, milk to protest against government’s apathy; Farmer suicides
    • Rising Agricultural exports Vs Agricultural sector not generating enough revenues to keep farmers profitable for nearly two decades now (As per study by OECD)
    • The very people who made India self-sufficient in food themselves at times go hungry.


Land and Soil

  • As per World Bank, India has close to 60% of its land as agricultural land and is the second largest agricultural land globally.
  • However, the Land reforms agenda still continues to be an unfinished
  • As per latest Agriculture census, close to 67% of India’s farmland is held by the marginal farmers (< 1 hectare).
  • In addition, only 5% of India’s farmers control a massive 32% of land.
  • Though often neglected, close of one third of India’s soil has turned The organic matter content has been reduced to a critical level of 0.3% to 0.5%.
  • Subsequently, the conventional problems of soil salinity, soil degradation, desertification and soil erosion have continued to persist.
Suggested Reforms
●        There is a need to conclude the agenda land reforms by modernising and digitising of land records, distribution of ceiling-surplus and waste lands.

●        In addition, there is a need to prevent diversion of prime agricultural land and forest land for non- agricultural usage.

●        As per Swaminathan Committee, there is a need to establish a National Land Advisory Service.

Case Studies/Best Practices
●        West Bengal and Kerala are often cited as model states for land reforms implementation.

●        China’s ‘Great Green Wall’ programme has been highly successful in fighting desertification in Gobi desert.


  • Seeds play a major input in agriculture with close to 20-25% productivity dependent on seed
  • However, India suffers from a dismal seed replacement ratio due to huge demand supply
  • There has been a failure of extension service and gradual withdrawal of state agencies from seed sector especially post 1991 leading to introduction of unreliable technologies in seed
  • Recently, the emergence of hybrid seeds without due awareness and absence of a prudent regulatory framework has adversely impacted the self-sufficiency of
  • For e.g. Controversy over GM Mustard DMH-11 is a case in


Suggested Reforms
●        There is a need for reforming the regulatory framework in seeds sector along with encouraging private sector participation in seed production and distribution

●        In addition, there is a need for encouraging robust third party quality certification system for seeds.

●        There is a need for encouraging community seed and germplasm banks for both conservation and breeding purposes along with a Seed information system

Case Studies/Best Practices
●        Village level Seed banks in Tumkur (Karnataka), Datia (Madhya Pradesh) etc. have helped in  making these villages self-sufficient in Seeds.


  • Only 46% of India’s net sown area is irrigated and rest continues to depend on
  • This problem is aggravated by the huge regional imbalance w.r.t rainfall and water
  • In addition, there is a sub-optimal utilization of irrigation infrastructure. For g. India uses 2-4 times water to produce one unit of major food crops as compared to other major agricultural countries like China, Brazil and USA.
  • Also, Indian agriculture largely depends on groundwater with more than 60%


Suggested Reforms
●        There is a need for promoting rainwater harvesting and water level recharging by mandatory aquifers.

●        A mission mode project – Million Wells Recharge programme – needs to be initiated targeted at private wells.



●        In addition, there is need for reforming the method of irrigation with use of techniques like Drip irrigation, Micro-irrigation, System of Rice Intensification (SRI) etc.

●        Finally, there is a need to increase funds for Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) along with establishment of a dedicated agency at national level to push PMKSY.

●        Also, the programme of inter linking of river projects needs to be given serious consideration.

Case Studies/Best Practices
●        Israel has been cited as a model example in irrigation owing to its expertise in micro-irrigation, desalination and recycling techniques. It has emerged as a template for reusing  wastewater  for irrigation.


  • Indian fertilizer sector suffers from a series of While 80% of Urea requirement is met domestically, production of Potassium and Phosphorus is heavily dependent on imports.
  • In addition, India’s per hectare consumption (around 146 Kg) is far lower than developed countries;
  • The impact of keeping Urea out of Nutrient Based Subsidy Scheme (NBS) has led to series of adverse consequence -:
    • Worsening of N:P:K ratio to 2:3.2:1 (2013-14) as opposed to the desired 4:2:1.
    • Worsening of Soil nutrient quality along with problem of algal
    • Smuggling of cheap Urea to Nepal, Bangladesh etc.
Suggested Reforms
●        There is a need to include Urea within purview of NBS system. Also, there is a need to deregulate fertilizer sector along with establishment of a healthy regulatory ecosystem.

●        Farmers need to be made aware of the optimal nutrient mix and optimal level of fertiliser in accordance with the quality of soil and choice of crops.

●        Finally, there is also a need for focussing on micronutrients needs apart from NPK.

Case Studies/Best Practices
●        Farmers in Tamil Nadu are successfully using the technique of fertigation leading better fertilizer efficiency and crop productivity.

Scientific Know-How

  • Scientific know-how in agriculture forms an important part in agriculture
  • However, India has only 1 extension worker per 800-1000 farmers. Also, around 60% farmers don’t receive technical know-how.
  • India farming scenario is also characterised by lack of crop rotation, predominance of cereal-centric and water-intensive crops.

Agriculture Labor & Mechanization

  • Agriculture in India is mostly dominated by manual However, the composition of labour is skewed towards women, lower castes and tribals who have migrated to mainland.
  • In addition, agriculture also suffers from problem of disguised unemployment and labour shortage owing to competition with
  • In addition, mechanization in agriculture is restricted due to low and fragmented size of land-holdings and inadequate access to credit for buying equipment.
Suggested Reforms
●        There is a need to impart agricultural scientific know-how to farmers by reforming Kisan Call Centres.

●        Also, imparting agricultural skills to farmers along with participation of self-help groups and Primary Agricultural Cooperative societies (PACS).

●        In addition there is a need to promote -:

○        Genetically modified (GM) seeds with adequate safeguards

○        Precision farming and related new technologies like the system of rice intensification, poly house cultivation of fruits and vegetables, laser land levellers, self-propelled sprayers and multi-crop threshers and harvesters

●        Finally, there is a need to promote a vibrant, responsive, market oriented and globally competitive agricultural research ecosystem.

Case Studies/Best Practices
●        The participation of private sector under the supervision of public sector in Agricultural Extension participation in Nigeria has been a successful model in agri-extension services.

●        ‘eSagu’ in Andhra Pradesh has been a successful case-study for providing web-based personalized agro- advisory system which uses Information Technology to solve the unscientific agricultural practices.

●        Madhya Pradesh has emerged as a role model in agri-mechanization by providing for Custom Hiring centres which rents out machinery to small farmers.


  • In-spite of series of financial inclusion programs, close to 44% of rural houses borrow from informal credit sources.
  • Also, credit taken has been found to be mostly cornered by rich farmers and used for consumption as opposed to productive purposes.
Suggested Reforms
●        There is .a need to expand financial inclusion.

●        Also, there is a need to provide moratorium on debt recovery especially during disasters like floods or droughts.

●        There is a need to constitute an Agricultural risk fund.

●        In addition, Women farmers must be issued Kisan Credit Cards and an integrated Credit-cum-Crop- Livestock Human Health insurance package must be launched for farmers.

Case Studies/Best Practices
·         M-Pesa in Kenya has emerged as a successful model for enhancing financial services to farmers and field workers.

Post-harvest losses

  • India suffers from huge post-harvest losses which stand at 40% because of poor infrastructure- Transportation and Cold-storage facilities and use of unscientific practices.
Suggested Reforms
●        There is a need of enhancing investment in transportation, cold storage  infrastructure  and dissemination of best post-Harvest practices

●        There is a need for promotion of Food Processing Industries especially through SHGs and MSMEs.

●        Finally, Food Corporation of India (FCI) must be reformed on the lines of Shanta Kumar Committee recommendations

Remunerative prices for farmers

  • Marketing Issues
    • Indian agriculture suffers from policy distortions and also problem of proliferation of intermediaries.
    • In addition, poor infrastructure, lack of vertical integration and stranglehold of official mandis sanctioned by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) acts of the states have acted as a major hindrance to agricultural marketing.
  • MSP Issues
    • It has led to distorted cropping patterns with excessive focus on the cultivation of wheat, rice and sugarcane.
    • It has also resulted in depletion of water resources, soil degradation and deterioration in water quality in some states, especially in the north-western
    • Finally, procurement under MSP remains abysmally low, especially in Eastern For e.g. only 28- 30% of Wheat and 30 to 35% of paddy is procured while for coarse grains the procurement is less than 1%.
  • International Issues
    • There has been emerging concerns regarding WTO subsidies and Agreement on Agriculture
    • For e.g. Recent issue of public stockholding for food security at WTO
    • Countries especially developed countries have also erected tariff and non-tariff barriers for trade in agricultural goods.
  • Value addition
    • In-spite of record production, value addition remains dismal at only 2%.
Suggested Reforms
Marketing ●        There is a need for state-wide adoption of reformed APMC laws and exemption of perishables from the from the APMC act.

●        Policies must be formulated to encourage investments in supply chains.

●        In addition, Contract farming and group farming through Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) must be encouraged.

●        Finally, revamping e-NAM with third party assaying and quality certification mechanisms, dispute settlement mechanisms, digital infrastructure must be included within the ambit of NAM.

MSP ●        Government must introduce Price Deficiency Payment in place of MSP.
Case Studies/Best Practices
●        Maharashtra has recently removed trade in fruits and vegetables from the purview of APMC act.

●        Price deficiency payment schemes in Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Telangana have been hailed as a model scheme for country wide emulation.


Government Initiatives
Sector Scheme
Land and Soil ●        Soil Health Card

●        National Project on Soil Health and Fertility

●        National Action Programme to Combat Desertification

Seeds ●        National Seed Policy 2002

●        Sub-mission on Seeds and Planting material under National Mission on Agricultural Technology

●        Seed Village Scheme

●        Establishment and maintenance of Seed Bank

●        Assistance for Boosting Seed Production in the Private Sector

Irrigation ●        Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)
Fertilizer ●        Revamping Urea Production

●        Neem Coating of Urea

●        DBT for Fertilizers

Scientific Know-how ●        National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology (NMAET)

●        Use of ICT

Mechanization ●        Macro-Management of Agriculture
Credit ●        Reforming Priority Sector Lending

●        Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

●        Increased allocation in Budget

●        Interest Subvention Scheme

●        Kisan Credit Cards

●        Promoting of Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) by Banks

Post-Harvest losses ●        Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
Marketing ●        National Agriculture Market (e-NAM)

●        Formulation of Model Contract Farming (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017

●        22,000 Rural hats to be upgraded and turned into Gramin Agricultural  Markets (GrAMs) – Budget 2018-19

●        Encouragement to Organic farming by Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and Village Producers Organizations (VPOs) in large Clusters – Budget 2018-19

Minimum Support Price ●        Minimum support price for all the unannounced Kharif crops to be kept at least 150 per cent of their production cost – Budget 2018-19


REFORMS  –  THE  UNCONVENTIONAL AGENDA                                           

  • While a series of reforms have been suggested in the earlier sections and recommended by a series of committees and experts, some of the other areas worth considering but lesser prioritised are -:
  1. Change of attitude:
  • Must be viewed as a sector of infinite opportunities;
  • Shift of attitude from viewing farmers as poor, vulnerable etc. to one of hope, hardworking, risk- taking
  • Integrative approach
    • Need to formulate, implement and monitor policies which adopt a integrative approach to agriculture as a part of rural development – Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Water resources
  • Agri-tourism
    • India has huge potential for agri-tourism which must become a core element of our Tourism policy.
  • Urban farming
    • Agriculture is mostly viewed as a rural practice; Need to change the perception by promoting Urban farming – Truck farming in Semi-Urban areas, Rooftop farming
  • Agriculture as Entrepreneurship – Next Start-up sector
    • Like IT, Agriculture must be promoted as the new start-up sector in
  • Governance Initiatives
    • A series of steps by government like -:
      • Agri-Budgeting
      • Setting up of Agri Innovation Hubs
      • Constituting an Indian Agriculture Service or Indian rural service
    • Export potential and Value addition
      • Agriculture needs to viewed as a ‘Sunrise sector’; Huge potential owing to Organic farming, Huge domestic market, Food Processing Industry, ‘Vegan’ movement
    • Cooperative and competitive federalism
      • Agri-Federalism on the lines of fiscal federalism
      • Constitute an empowered committee of State rural development/Agriculture ministers on Agriculture.


The agriculture sector in India is experiencing structural changes which are opening up new  challenges and The Government has initiated reforms in the field of agricultural marketing,  given a  big push to the use of technology in agriculture, and also adopted Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode for timely delivery of extension services, credit and other inputs to small and marginal farmers. However, the challenges in agricultural sector can’t be handled by government alone. There is a need to involve corporates, civil society organisations, academia and society as a whole for reforming agriculture. While infrastructure support like land, irrigation, seed etc. are necessary, there is also a need for cultural shift, need for viewing agriculture in a positive light, need for perception change. In this context, our past provides us with the guiding light where land was used as a gifted to people with intellectual prowess,  had a sacred status. Or as famous agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan has said – “If agriculture fails, everything else will fail”. The choice is ours!


  • Facts
    • Share of Food Processing Sector in GVA of manufacturing sector was 71% and in that of agriculture, forestry and fishing stands at 10.04% in 2015-16
    • Major employment intensive industry, constituting 77% of employment generated in all manufacturing factories
    • Makes up for 13% of India’s exports and 6% of total industrial
    • Considered as a Sunrise sector and the 13th largest recipient of FDI in India.
  • Challenges
    • Low level – Currently only 2% as compared to USA and China where it is 90% and 40% respectively; About 75% is Unorganized; Low adherence to quality standards – For e.g. EU bans pest-ridden Indian mangoes;
    • Supply side and Infrastructure bottlenecks – Small and fragmented holding; Archaic APMC laws; >30% post-Harvest losses; Weak Regulatory Structure; Restrictions on Contract farming
  • Government Schemes
    • SAMPADA or Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development Of Agro-Processing Clusters
    • 100% FDI for trading through e-commerce and manufacturing of food products through automatic
    • Establishment of 60 fully equipped Agri-Export Zones (AEZs), in addition to 42 mega food parks and 128 cold chains;
  • Success stories – Amul; Mother Dairy; Lijjat Papad; Pepsico


  • Suggested ways to deal with preventing farmer suicides
    • Providing affordable health insurance at primary healthcare centres in villages;
    • Mapping suicide hotspots on priority basis;
    • State level farmers’ commissions with representatives of farmers,
    • Covering all crops by crop insurance;
    • Providing Psychological Counselling through mass media like Radio and Television;


  • Background
    • Was in vogue during Mughals and British period; Discontinued post-Independence.
    • Post-independence committees like K.N. Raj Committee and Vijay Kelkar Committee recommended for taxing agricultural income
    • For assessment year 2014-15, nine of the top 10 claimants for tax exemption of agricultural income were corporations;
  • Rationale
    • Brings equity to tax structure; Increase Tax to GDP Ratio (Currently 16.5%) ; More resources at the disposal of government for development ; Enable better data collection about rural economy;
    • International examples – Japan, Soviet Union and China extracted a large part of resource for industrialisation from agriculture; Prevent misuse of exemption as agricultural income of non- agriculturists is being increasingly used as a conduit to avoid tax and for laundering funds;
  • Challenges
    • Problem of reliable and credible data regarding Land titles, Crop etc.; Difficulty in assessing productivity of Crop; Issue of Crop failures; Lack of political consensus on the issue especially in wake of farm distress and suicides;


  • Practice of cultivating trees on farm;
  • Benefits
    • Food, Fodder, Wood, Fuel and
    • India’s 65% timber needs met through farm grown trees; st Half of its fuel wood is sourced from farm forestry.
    • Helps in fighting Climate Change – Carbon sequestration
    • Prevents Deforestation, Promotes Soil and Water Conservation;
    • Government Initiatives
      • India has become the first country to have separate policy on agroforestry – National Agroforestry Policy, 2014
      • Salient Features:
        • Impetus to simplification of rules and land tenancy reforms
        • Provision for Loans and Insurance for trees
        • Provision for R & D, Quality Seeds
        • Provision for PPP model for non-farm land


  • Livestock Sector – Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries Sector

Related image

●        Facts

  • World’s Highest Livestock Owner at 512 million;
  • Contributes 16% to the income of Small farm households; Provides employment to 8.8 % of the population in India; Contributes 4.11% to GDP and 25.6% of total Agriculture
  • Contribution of Livestock – Food -> Milk, Meat and Eggs; Fibre and Skins; As Drafts; Provides Dung and other Animal Waste materials;

As Biological method for controlling Weed; For Sports / recreation; As Companion animals; For Income and Employment

  • Government Initiatives – National Livestock Mission; Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM)

Dairy Sector: 

Image result for dairy sector in india

  • Facts
    • Largest Milk producer; Expected to grow at a compounded 15% annually till 2020;

○        Challenges

  • Continues to be a subsistence activity; Only 20% of the milk produce is channelled for Organised marketing; Quality and Standards Issue – FSSAI survey in 2012 pointed out that 70% of the Urban and 31% of rural supplies don’t meet standards; Shortage of feed/fodder; Lack of value addition and marketing facilities; Lack of Veterinary Services

○        Government Schemes

  • National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development
  • National Dairy Plan (Phase-I)
  • Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme

●        Fisheries

  • Facts – Globally 3rd in Fisheries 2nd in Aquaculture;

Engage about 14 million people in different activities; About 6.3% of the global fish production;
Contributes to 1.1% of the GDP and 5.15% of the agricultural GDP; Nearly 65% contribution from the inland sector

  • Challenges
    • Lack of Infrastructure – Usage of Old wood boats, Low quality Trawlers and Fishing nets; Potential of Deep-Sea fishing is yet to be realized; Poor quality of Fish Feeds; Security of Fishermen especially along the maritime boundaries with Sri Lanka and Pakistan; Structural issues with National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)
  • Government Schemes
    • Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries
    • National Fisheries Action Plan-2020
  • Buzz Words
  • Coastal aquaculture; Inland fisheries; Freshwater aquaculture; Coldwater fisheries; Ornamental Fishing

Image result for fisheries sector in india

Image result for fisheries sector in india


  • Horticulture comprises of fruits, vegetables, plantation crops, flowers, spices and

●        Trends

  • Second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world;
  • Leader in several horticultural crops including mango, banana, papaya, cashew nut, potato and lady’s finger etc.
  • Horticulture production – 305.4 mt (2017-18)

●        Reasons

  • Access to irrigation
    • Around 70% of area under horticulture has access to irrigation

○        Rising  incomes, urbanization

  • Better incomes, urbanization and higher consumption of fruits and vegetable -> Driving demand for protein rich diets

○        Infrastructure

  • Infrastructure facility like Cold Storage; Transportation etc. have helped in marketing of

○        Forward Linkages

  • Forward linkages such as contract farming (where allowed) have helped reduce wastage, increase yield and ensure greater income realization for

○        Government Support

  • National Horticulture Mission launched in 2005 focused on nutritional security and increasing farm income in horticulture

●        Challenges

  • High Post-Harvest Losses; Low Productivity; Inadequate Finance; Marketing Challenges; Lack of Cold Storage; Low Value addition
  • For e.g. Vegetables and Fruits continue to come under the purview of APMC laws; Only 10-11% of the fruits and vegetables in India uses Cold Storage;

●        Government Schemes

  • Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
  • National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
  • Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH)
  • Operation Green- Budget 2018-19

Image result for horticulture sector in india

Image result for horticulture sector in india

Positive for horticulture is that fruits and vegetables are mostly grown by marginal and small farmers (with less than 2 hectare of land). This means that resource-poor farmers are likely to have benefitted most from the growth in horticulture sector. More so, because the value of the horticulture output grew more than double compared with all other crops put together in the four years between 2008-09 and 2012-13.

Fruits and vegetables are grown in less than 5% of the country’s gross cropped area, compared to over 63% of the area used to grow foodgrains.

What drove the growth of horticulture sector in India?

Better incomes, urbanization and higher consumption of fruits and vegetable seem to be driving the demand which is addressed by small farms.

Consumption data from the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) shows that while monthly consumption of cereals per person in rural areas declined from 13.4 kg in 1993-94 to 11.2 kg in 2011-12, consumption of vegetables went up from 2.7 kg to 4.3 kg during this period.

In 2013-14, the ministry discontinued the earlier methodology and replaced it with what is known as CHAMAN (coordinated programme on horticulture assessment and management using geoinformatics). This uses a combination of remote sensing technology, sample surveys and market arrivals to estimate horticulture output and area.

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