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Agriculture Key to India’s Prosperity

  • Categories
    Yojana/Kurukshetra
  • Published
    28th Aug, 2021

Introduction

India is the world's agricultural powerhouse not just in terms of diversity of crops but also in terms of the sheer quantities of production. The proposal of the new laws is a part of a series of reforms and policy interventions that seek to further globalise India's agriculture sector. Alongside lucrative opportunities for farmers and investors, the future will also bring food security to the world by channelling the excess of Indian agriculture to the world market.

Present Situation:

  • Agriculture in India has covered a formidable journey, from facing fatal famines and extreme food insecurity in the early independence period to making India a food surplus nation in the present.
  • The credit primarily going to the introduction and success of the Green Revolution. Indian agriculture further experienced successful revolutions including the white Revolution for milk production, Yellow Revolution for edible oil and Blue Revolution for fisheries.
  • Agriculture employs a majority of the almost 70 percent Indian population living in rural hinterlands. Consequently, India is the world's largest producer of milk, pulses, and jute, and ranks as the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruit, and cotton, accounting for 10.9 percent and 8.6 percent of the world fruit and vegetable production, respectively.
  • It is also one of the leading producers of spices, fish, poultry, livestock, and plantation crops.
  • The gross value addition of the agriculture sector in India has consistently increased through the past decade.
  • Even during the difficult time of pandemic and consequent lockdown, Indian agriculture contributed its share in the world food supply chain, displaying great resilience.
There has been a substantial and laudable increase in export of almost all the agricultural items in the last 15 years, but despite being one of the top producers of agricultural products, India does not feature among the top exporters of agricultural produce. India holds the second rank in the world wheat production but ranks 34th in its export. Similarly, despite being world number 3 in the production of vegetables, the export ranking of India is the only 14th. The same is the case for fruits, where India is the second-largest producer in the world, but its export ranking is 23rd

Concerns:

  • Missing on Global best practices: Lack of adoption of global best practices has resulted in little net development in the sector with the achievements being offset by the stagnant system.
  • Disconnect from global supply and demand: The Indian farmer has been essentially cut off from the global market and an average Indian farmer continues to make decisions based on minimum support and procurement policies of the government rather than global supply and demand.
  • Bad food supply management: While India has become surplus in most agri-commodities, farmers have been unable to get better prices due to a lack of investment in cold storage, warehouses, processing, and export.
  • Lack of Education and migration issues: Farmers of the country are also not agriculture graduates or professionals and thus heavily rely on rudimentary practices. This is further worsened by the migration of youth, especially the educated bunch, to urban areas.

Policy Reforms and Interventions:

  • The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 attempts to remedy the existing situation and also widen India's area on the said agriculture map. The law aims to open up the vastly and rather arbitrarily regulated agricultural market of the country.
  • The Agricultural Outlook Forum was organised in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture with the focus being on farm revenue and sustainability, the role of innovative technology, the use of big data in agriculture, and the strengthening of crop estimation systems.
  • The Export strategy focuses on the export promotion of a fast-evolving niche market of nutraceuticals and the development of "Brand India" in campaign mode to help penetration into new foreign markets and of new products.
  • A product-market matrix has been made containing a list of products of strength that can be expanded in new geographies and a list of known markets which can be introduced with newer products.
  • At the behest of the Department of Agricultural Cooperation & Farmers' Welfare, product-specific Export Promotion Forums have been created to lead agri-exports to new heights.

Conclusion:

With its vast resources, both natural and manmade, India can lead the global war against food insecurity. Alongside lucrative opportunities for farmers and investors, the future will also bring food security to the world by channelling the excess of Indian agriculture to the world market.The agriculture powerhouse of the world is set to undergo a complete metamorphosis through expert-created, targeted policies.

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