Agriculture in India

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Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is unquestionably the largest livelihood provider in India, more so in the vast rural areas. It also contributes a significant figure to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Sustainable agriculture, in terms of food security, rural employment, and environmentally sustainable technologies such as soil conservation, sustainable natural resource management and biodiversity protection, are essential for holistic rural development. Indian agriculture and allied activities have witnessed a green revolution, a white revolution, a yellow revolution and a blue revolution.

This section provides the information on agriculture produces; machineries, research etc. Detailed information on the government policies, schemes, agriculture loans, market prices, animal husbandry, fisheries, horticulture, loans & credit, sericulture etc. is also available.

Types of Agriculture in India

India’s agriculture is composed of many crops, with the foremost food staples being rice and wheat. Indian farmers also grow pulses, potatoes, sugarcane, oilseeds, and such non-food items as cotton, tea, coffee, rubber, and jute (a glossy fiber used to make burlap and twine). India is a fisheries giant as well. A total catch of about 3 million metric tons annually ranks India among the world’s top 10 fishing nations.

Despite the overwhelming size of the agricultural sector, however, yields per hectare of crops in India are generally low compared to international standards. Improper water management is another problem affecting India’s agriculture. At a time of increasing water shortages and environmental crises, for example, the rice crop in India is allocated disproportionately high amounts of water. One result of the inefficient use of water is that water tables in regions of rice cultivation, such as Punjab, are on the rise, while soil fertility is on the decline. Aggravating the agricultural situation is an ongoing Asian drought and inclement weather. Although during 2000-01 a monsoon with average rainfall had been expected, prospects of agricultural production during that period were not considered bright.

Despite the fact that agriculture accounts for as much as a quarter of the Indian economy and employs an estimated 60 percent of the labor force, it is considered highly inefficient, wasteful, and incapable of solving the hunger and malnutrition problems. It is estimated that as much as one-fifth of the total agricultural output is lost due to inefficiencies in harvesting, transport, and storage of government-subsidized crops.

Presently, Indian Agriculture is witnessing a phase of diversification. During recent years, much awareness has been generated on shifting to high-yielding varieties (HYV) of crops from conventional crops.

The competitive advantages that Indian agriculture can surely boost of are:

  • Favorable Agro-climatic Zones
  • Huge Irrigated lands
  • Enough supply of Skilled, educated, technical and scientific workforce suitable for this field.

Agriculture Problems

1.Seed:

Seed is a critical and basic input for attaining higher crop yields and sustained growth in agricultural production. Distribution of assured quality seed is as critical as the production of such seeds. Unfortunately, good quality seeds are out of reach of the majority of farmers, especially small and marginal farmers mainly because of exorbitant prices of better seeds

In order to solve this problem, the Government of India established the National Seeds Corporation (NSC) in 1963 and the State Farmers Corporation of India (SFCI) in 1969. High Yielding Variety Programme (HYVP) was launched in 1966-67 as a major thrust plan to increase the production of food grains in the country.

The Indian seed industry had exhibited impressive growth in the past and is expected to provide further potential for growth in agricultural production: The role of seed industry is not only to produce adequate quantity of quality seeds.

The policy statements are designed towards making available to the Indian farmer, adequate quantities of seed of superior quality at the appropriate time and place and at an affordable price so as to meet the country’s food and nutritional security goals.

Indian seeds programme largely adheres to limited generation system for seed multiplication. The system recognises three kinds of generation, namely breeder, foundation and certified seeds. Breeder seed is the basic seed and first stage in seed production.

2.Agricultural Marketing:

In most of small villages, the farmers sell their produce to the money lender from whom they usually borrow money. Such a situation arises due to the inability of the poor farmers to wait for long after harvesting their crops.

In the absence of an organised marketing structure, private traders and middlemen dominate the marketing and trading of agricultural produce. The remuneration of the services provided by the middlemen increases the load on the consumer, although the producer does not derive similar benefit.

In order to save the farmer from the clutches of the money lenders and the middle men, the government has come out with regulated markets. These markets generally introduce a system of competitive buying, help in eradicating malpractices, ensure the use of standardised weights and measures and evolve suitable machinery for settlement of disputes thereby ensuring that the pro­ducers are not subjected to exploitation and receive remunerative prices.

3.Irrigation:

Although India is the second largest irrigated country of the world after China, only one-third of the cropped area is under irrigation. Irrigation is the most important agricultural input in a tropical monsoon country like India where rainfall is uncertain, unreliable and erratic India cannot achieve sustained progress in agriculture unless and until more than half of the cropped area is brought under assured irrigation.

However, care must be taken to safeguard against ill effects of over irrigation especially in areas irrigated by canals. Large tracts in Punjab and Haryana have been rendered useless (areas affected by salinity, alkalinity and water-logging), due to faulty irrigation. In the Indira Gandhi Canal command area also intensive irrigation has led to sharp rise in sub-soil water level, leading to water-logging, soil salinity and alkalinity.

  1. Lack of mechanisation:

In spite of the large scale mechanisation of agriculture in some parts of the country, most of the agricultural operations in larger parts are carried on by human hand using simple and conventional tools and implements like wooden plough, sickle, etc.

There is urgent need to mechanise the agricultural operations so that wastage of labour force is avoided and farming is made convenient and efficient. Agricultural implements and machinery are a crucial input for efficient and timely agricultural operations, facilitating multiple cropping and thereby increasing production.

Some progress has been made for mechanising agriculture in India after Independence. Need for mechanisation was specially felt with the advent of Green Revolution in 1960s. Strategies and programmes have been directed towards replacement of traditional and inefficient implements by improved ones, enabling the farmer to own tractors, power tillers, harvesters and other machines.

Strenuous efforts are being made to encourage the farmers to adopt technically advanced agricultural equipments in order to carry farm operations timely and precisely and to economise the agricultural production process

  1. Soil erosion:

Large tracts of fertile land suffer from soil erosion by wind and water. This area must be properly treated and restored to its original fertility.

Agriculture vs Horticulture

Although horticulture is generally classified as a subdivision of agriculture which deals with plant gardening, it is actually different from agriculture. It is easy to relate the two because some of the techniques employed are used interchangeably in both sciences, for instance in the cultivation of crops which is an agricultural process, many horticulture methods are employed. Horticulture is a complete science of its own as well as a full industry.

Horticulture is defined in the strict sense as the science that employs special techniques and methods to cultivate plants, including methods used to properly condition the soil for seed planting or planting tubers. The domain of horticulture includes cultivation, plant propagation, breeding of plants, production of crops, plant physiology as well as biochemistry and genetic engineering. The plants looked at are mainly vegetables, trees, flowers, turf, shrubs, fruits and nuts. Horticulturalists carry out extensive research in their domain in order to get better quality crop yields, improve their nutritional value to humans, make crops pest and disease resistant and adjust to environmental stresses. The most notable difference from agriculture is that horticulture deals with small scale gardening and usually in enclosed gardens although this is not a necessity while agriculture is done on large scale with extensive crop cultivation.

Agriculture is the science of growing food crops and rearing animals for farming. It involves the whole web of processes employed in the redirection of the natural flow of the food chain and the rechanneling of energy. The natural food web starts with the sun providing sunlight to plants which is then converted to sugars which are processed into plant food in a process called photosynthesis. Herbivores animals will eat plants as their food and the carnivores animals will eat the herbivores for food. Dead animals and plants will be decomposed by bacteria and return to the soil as plant nutrients and the whole chain repeats afresh. Agriculture actually rearranges this web so that plants are protected for human consumption although plants can be grown specifically for animal (herbivores) consumption like cattle, which is in turn reared for human consumption. Agriculture can be divided into two categories, which are conventional and sustainable agriculture. Conventional agriculture deals with modifying some environmental factors like trees, soil tilling, and irrigation and all activities that favor single crop growing especially for crops like wheat, rice and corn. Sustainable agriculture is where ecological principles are employed in the farming. It is also known as agro-ecology. It aims at sustainable farming practices. It involves planting of a variety of crops together so the farming garden will never be bare at any time

Summary:

  1. Horticulture strictly involves plant cultivation only while agriculture deals with cultivation of crops as well as animal farming.
  2. Horticulture may include plants that are not for human consumption while agriculture mainly focuses on crops for human consumption.
  3. Horticulture is done on smaller, enclosed plots while agriculture is done on extensive pieces of land on large scale.

Conclusion

Like every other sector, the agricultural sector has also evolved over the centuries and its development has brought about certain positive and negative repercussions to the society. Please imporved over Agriculture devlopment.

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