Agriculture in India is one of the major parts of economy with around 1.53 million square km of arable land that is the second largest area of cultivable land in the world only behind the USA. It’s total cultivated area of land compared with the total area of land is fifty-two percent the second highest of all(Bangladesh has the largest cultivable area of land which is around sixty-eight percent of it’s total land). The total Indian area of land as compared with that of the USA’s and China’s is marginally bigger than one third.
India’s total arable land area is slightly bigger than of China’s and smaller to a slight extent of that of the USA’s.
In an article of the New York Times in the year 2008, it was claimed that with the right technology and policies, India could contribute to feeding not just itself but the world. However, eight years down the line, the total output of agriculture lags far behind to that of it’s potential to produce. Few of the major reasons of such low productivity are listed below –
- Agricultural Subsidies – According to the World Bank, it’s large agricultural subsidies are distorting what farmers grow and that in turn also hampers the investment it could have attracted for productivity-enhancing.
- Irrigation Facilities – Only forty-six percent(46%) of the entire cultivable land was irrigated as of 2016, according to the data put up in the public domain, which reveals the extent to which irrigation facilities fall inadequate to the needs of agriculture. Not to mention that such inadequate irrigation facilities make farmers heavily depend on rainfall which is highly inconsistent across the country throughout all seasons.
- Average Size of Land-Holding – The land holdings that are smaller than one hectare in size accounts for seventy percent(70%) of it’s total land holdings, directly affecting the production output negatively.
- Spoilage of Agricultural Produce – Due to the lack of storage facilities country’s one third produce gets spoiled every year. Such storage inadequacy causes low income to farmers as they don’t get the money they could have earned by selling their total produce in the markets.
While over regulation has caused significant hike in costs, governmental intervention in labor, land, and credit markets, uncertainty and price risks are affecting the market negatively. India needs to address the poor infrastructure such as electricity supply, food storage and roads in the rural areas whereas developing ports, improving mostly unorganized retail markets and services. An amount of INR 80,000 crore has been sanctioned in the union budget to bring an additional two crore hectares of land under irrigation through various agriculture schemes including Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP).