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videos | Aug 15, 2022 6:01 PM IST

India@75: Evolution and road ahead for agriculture sector

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From an acute food shortage to becoming a net exporter of several commodities, agriculture in India has transformed in many ways in the past 75 years. In the 2021-2022, the agri sector grew by 3.9 percent. Today India is the world’s largest milk producer with dairy exports growing over 96 percent in 2021-2022. India’s overall agricultural exports rose by 20 percent to $50.21 billion during the same period. However farmer income in India is still very low. At a macro level income per worker in non-agriculture is 3.75 times the income of an average agriculture worker which includes agricultural labourers and cultivators.

From an acute food shortage to becoming a net exporter of several commodities, agriculture in India has transformed in many ways in the past 75 years.

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Despite being an agrarian economy where over 75 percent of the population earned its livelihood from agriculture, the country at the time of independence and after was plagued with low productivity, food shortage, the Bengal famine and a heavy import dependence.
Then in 1960s, the Green Revolution changed the course for agriculture in India. In the last 50 years the per capita production of food in the country has more than doubled. The share of agriculture and allied sectors in the total gross value added of India was 18.8 percent in 2021-2022. But while the share of agriculture has been declining in the overall gross value added of India, it continues to grow in absolute terms and employees almost 49 percent of the total households in 2020 and 2021.
When the country and the globe was ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agriculture sector registered an above average real growth of 3.6 percent in 2020-2021 even as the overall economy contracted by 6.2 percent.
In the 2021-2022, the agri sector grew by 3.9 percent. Today India is the world’s largest milk producer with dairy exports growing over 96 percent in 2021-2022. India’s overall agricultural exports rose by 20 percent to $50.21 billion during the same period.
However, farmer income in India is still very low. At a macro level income per worker in non-agriculture is 3.75 times the income of an average agriculture worker which includes agricultural labourers and cultivators.
Indian agriculture still faces issues of low farm productivity, high food price volatility and climate change related issues.
According to Siraj Hussain, Former Agriculture Secretary, “For a variety of reasons the agriculture incomes are low, including low productivity in many areas of the country, irrigation coverage is still just about 49.5 percent and also in some years the prices of agricultural commodities are too low as a result of which the farmers do not earn enough. So the government has been trying to draw out people from agriculture into other sectors of economy. We have not succeeded much in doing that but I hope that we continue to strive for that.”
Watch video to know more about evolution of India’s agriculture and rural economy in the past 75 years and the road ahead for the sector.
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