Agriculture in India – There is no doubt that Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. But how can we say that is true? Well, you might be surprised to know that the agriculture industry in india is the primary source of livelihood for nearly 58% of the population in India (directly or indirectly). It contributes almost 17-18% in the GDP and has employed over 50% of the workforce in India.
The Evolution of Agriculture in India
The evolution of agriculture in India has been recorded to have begun since the times of the Vedic literature itself. Historic pieces of evidence also suggest that rice and cotton were cultivated in the Indus Valley. Aside from this, it was also found that the Bhumivargaha classified the agricultural land of India into 12 categories according to the land’s fertility/texture. And while some scientists found evidence of agriculture in 12 sites in the southern Indian states, others claimed that the Indian agriculture began by 9000 BC as an output of early cultivation of plants and domestication of crops & animals.
Did you know? India ranks first in the world with the highest net cropped area followed by the US and China.
The Evolution of Agriculture in India
Gradually the double monsoons led to two harvests in one year and from thereon, the Indian products reached trading networks and foreign crops were introduced. Next came the middle ages that saw irrigation channels reach a new level of sophistication and then our crops were affected by the economies of other regions of the world under the Islamic patronage. Leading this event, the land and water management systems were developed in India with an aim of providing uniform growth.
In the 1950s, our country’s agriculture was marked by stagnation. In 1950-51, India produced around 50 million tonnes of Foodgrain, which was not enough to feed the population of 350 million. This lead India to import food grains and our farms were characterized by a low yield, which lingered around 580 kg per hectare. Further in the mid-1960s, India started to progress into the green revolution era.
The green revolution era in India started in 1965 when India imported nearly 18,000 tonnes of High Yield Variety of seeds from Mexico. This revolution was founded by MS Swaminathan. These HYV seeds in co-occurrence with the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation resulted in a spike in production. Then, by the early 1970s, India attained food security and reduced its import of food grains.
Did you know? India is currently the world’s second-largest producer of several dry fruits, agriculture-based textile raw materials, roots and tuber crops, pulses, farmed fish, eggs, coconut, sugarcane, and numerous vegetables.
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The Evolution of Farmers in India – The future of Agriculture in India
Before the green revolution in India, farmers only used the means of labour to handle all agricultural activities. It also used animals for some processes but otherwise, there was a serious gap between farmers and technology.
The Green revolution in India was only possible because of the pioneering work of the agricultural scientists in India and due to the fearlessness of the Indian farmers who took the risk of adopting new technologies. Just between the 1980s to 2000s, India witnessed an inflated cereal production. The Government then introduced economic reforms that brought greater encouragement to exports. And in just these two decades, India managed to turn itself from a net importer of agricultural products to a net exporter.
Did you know? India is the world’s largest producer of many fresh fruits like banana, mango, guava, papaya, lemon and vegetables like chickpea, okra, and milk, major spices like chilli pepper, ginger, fibrous crops such as jute, staples such as millets and castor oil seed.
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The evolving farmers in india – The future of Agriculture in India
Talking about the adaption of technology for the ease in agriculture production in india, there were several evolving measures that took place after the green revolution. But most importantly, the farmers have come to realize the need for sustainable agricultural development which implies making tiring efforts to meet the needs of 1/3rd of the world’s population without reducing the options that the next generation will have for meeting its own needs.
The development models in agriculture have so far covered technology transfer, integrated rural development, improved support services, farm systems research & development, price policies, and sustainable agriculture. With the change in agriculture technology setting in, the families of farmers in India also got the chance to educate their future generations. This was because of the shift from a narrow obsession with yield and productivity, poverty reduction was introduced as a new focus, only to be added in quick succession by equity, gender issues, food security, and sustainability.
The future of Agriculture in India – Sustainable Agriculture Development
Now, the point to remember is that sustainable agriculture development will not only be successful with the help of introducing better crops, new cattle breeds, more credit or rural cooperatives, etc but will have to be achieved by farmers working in very specific farm-household systems. It must take account of a farmer’s whole rural life situation, including factors beyond the control of the household like the ecology and natural resources, the social-cultural environment of the community, and the policies, prices, services, and infrastructure that affect rural prospects.
The future of the agriculture industry in india will be bright when farmers ensure the development of sustainable agriculture which means they will need to protect the natural environment, create an enabling policy environment for sustainable agriculture, generate & distribute appropriate technology, target disadvantaged groups, improve support services & encourage community participation, improve physical infrastructure and social services, and develop non-farm income-earning opportunities.
Did you know? India is the second-largest producer of wheat and rice, the world’s major food staples.
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