Agriculture and farming in India main information
Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihoods in India. 70 percent of its rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood, with 82 percent of farmers being small and marginal. For such a predominantly agricultural country as India, resources of cultivable soil and water are of crucial importance.
Water availability varies greatly with climate. In all but a small part of the country, the supply of water for agriculture is highly seasonal and depends on the often fickle southwest monsoon. India is blessed with large arable land with 15 agro-climatic zones as defined by ICAR, having almost all types of weather conditions, soil types and capable of growing a variety of crops.
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.
The country has some 195 m ha under cultivation of which some 63 percent are rainfed (roughly 125m ha) while 37 percent are irrigated (70m ha). In addition, forests cover some 65m ha of India’s land.
Agriculture accounts for as much as a quarter of the Indian economy and employs an estimated 60 percent of the labor force. Gross Value Added by agriculture, forestry, and fishing was estimated at Rs. 19.48 lakh crore (US$ 276.37 billion) in FY20. Share of agriculture and allied sectors in gross value added (GVA) of India at current prices stood at 17.8 % in FY20. Consumer spending in India will return to growth in 2021 post the pandemic-led contraction, expanding by as much as 6.6%.
In 2019, India was the 9th largest exporter of agricultural products and the total value of exported agricultural products stood at $37.4 bn. India exported agri-machinery worth $1,024 mn during 2019-20. Of this, 76.4% was exported to the UK, North America, Eastern Europe, EU, Africa, ASEAN, and SAARC.
India is the top producer of milk, spices, pulses, tea, cashew and jute, and the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables, sugarcane and cotton. The Economic Survey of India 2020-21 report stated that in FY20, the total food grain production in the country was recorded at 296.65 million tonnes—up by 11.44 million tonnes compared with 285.21 million tonnes in FY19.
The principal food grain of India is rice. In terms of rice production, the country holds the second position all over the world. Rice is grown in approximately 34% of the overall cropped territory of the country. Rice production comprises 42% of the overall food crop production in the country.
For rice production, it is essential that the production fields receive a mean precipitation of 125 cm every year. It is also necessary that the average temperature of the place stays at 23° C.
In India, rice is grown in the eastern and western shoreline areas, Northeast India, and the drainage basin of river Ganga. The important rice growing states in India are as follows:
- West Bengal
- Uttar Pradesh
The second most important food grain cultivated in India is wheat. The Rabi season is the ideal time to grow wheat. The Green Revolution in India paved the way for a substantial development in wheat production in the nation. Since the revolution, the production of the second most important food crop has risen considerably. The elements that contributed to increased wheat production are better seeds, right usage of water supply, and manures.
In India, wheat is grown in regions which receive a mean precipitation of 75 cm. The region should also have productive soil. The state of Uttar Pradesh ranks first in terms of wheat production. About 35% of the overall wheat production is done by the state. Other than Uttar Pradesh, states like Haryana and Punjab also produce a significant amount of wheat.
Jowar is a major food grain in India as well. The ideal climate for cultivation of Jowar should be warm and arid and the average annual rainfall should be 45 cm.
The state of Maharashtra is the leading producer of Jowar in the country. The state houses about 50% of the overall area for Jowar production in India.
Maharashtra cultivates about 52% of the overall Jowar production in the country. Other important producers of Jowar include states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu Pulses are cultivated in the arid areas of the country. These harvests supply nitrogen to the earth. The population of India prefers a diet which contains pulses since they carry a significant degree of proteins.
The top producer of pulses in India is the state of Madhya Pradesh. The state contributes 24% of the overall pulses production of the nation. Other major pulse producing states include Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
India is a prominent jute producing nation across the world. Some of the important jute producing states in the country are Bihar, West Bengal, and Orissa. A negligible amount of jute is produced in Uttar Pradesh and Assam.
The states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are the major coffee producers in India. They house a number of coffee estates and farms in Southern India. Indian coffee is famous for its flavor and aroma. As a result, it has a significant demand in the global coffee market. India is a major exporter of coffee because of this. The Nilgiri Mountain Ranges produce coffee on a substantial scale.
Rubber is a tree crop which is grown in agricultural estates. It is made from latex which is emitted from the stems of the plants. The ideal weather for rubber growing is a warm and moist weather and the soil should be sufficiently watered. The following states are the important cultivators of rubber in India:
- Tamil Nadu
Production of horticulture crops in India was estimated at a record 326.6 million metric tonnes (MMT) in FY20 as per third advance estimates, an increase of 5.81 million metric tonnes over FY20
As per National Horticulture Database (Second Advance Estimates) published by National Horticulture Board, during 2019-20, India produced 99.07 million metric tonnes of fruits and 191.77 million metric tonnes of vegetables. The area under cultivation of fruits stood at 6.66 million hectares while vegetables were cultivated at 10.35 million hectares.
According to FAO (2019), India is the largest producer of ginger and okra amongst vegetables and ranks second in production of potatoes, onions, cauliflowers, brinjal, Cabbages, etc. Amongst fruits, the country ranks first in production of Bananas (26.08%), Papayas (44.05%) and Mangoes (including mangosteens and guavas) (45.89%) Grapes, Pomegranates, Mangoes , Bananas, Oranges account for larger portion of fruits exported from the country while Onions, Mixed Vegetables, Potatoes, Tomatoes, and Green Chilly contribute largely to the vegetable export basket.
India is the second largest onion growing country in the world. Indian onions are famous for their pungency and are available round the year. Indian onions has two crop cycles, first harvesting starts in November to January and the second harvesting from January to May.
The major varieties found in India are Agrifound Dark Red, Agrifound Light Red, NHRDF Red, Agrifound White, Agrifound Rose and Agrifound Red , Pusa Ratnar, Pusa Red, Pusa White Round. There are certain varieties in yellow onion which are suitable for export in European countries Tana F1, Arad-H, Suprex, Granex 55, HA 60 and Granex 429. The Major Onion producing states area Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Telangana. Maharashtra ranks first in Onion production with a share of 28.32%.
The country has exported 1,578,016.59 MT of fresh onion to the world for the worth of Rs. 2,826.50 crores/ 378.49 USD Millions during the year 2020-21.
Major Export Destinations (2020-21) :Bangladesh Pr, Malaysia, U Arab Emts, Sri Lanka Dsr, Nepal.
India grows the largest number of vegetables from temperate to humid tropics and from sea-level to snowline, Vegetables are excellent source of vitamins, particularly niacin, riboflavin, Thiamin and vitamins A and C. They also supply minerals such as calcium and iron besides proteins and carbohydrates. Vegetables combat under nourishment and are known to be cheapest source of natural protective tools. Most of the vegetables, being short duration crops, fit very well in the intensive cropping system and are capable of giving very high yields and very high economic returns to the growers.Major vegetables grown in India are Potato, Onion, Tomato, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Bean, Egg Plants, Cucumber and Garkin, Frozen Peas, Garlic and okra.
The major varieties under different vegetables products are as follows Potato (Kufri Sindhuri, Kufri Chandramukhi, Kufri Badshah, Kufri Bahar), Tomato (Vaishali, Rupali, Rashmi, Rajni, Pusa Ruby),Cauliflower(Pusa Deepali, Early Kunwari, Punjab Giant-26, Pant Shubhra, Dania Kalimpong), Cabbage (Golden Acre, Pusa Mukta, Pusa Drumhead, K-1), Peas (Asauji, Lucknow Boniya, Alaska, Bonneville, T-19), Okra (Pusa Makhmali, Punjab Padmini, Pusa Sawani, Parbhani Kranti, Arka Anamika).
Walnut (Juglans sp.) is the most important temperate nut fruit of the country. Walnut in India are found in differet sizes and shapes. The Indian walnuts are categorized into 4 categories viz., paper-shelled, thin-shelled, medium-shelled and hard-shelled. Walnuts flourished at altitudes of 900 to 3000.
The major growing area is Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, with Jammu & Kashmir occupying the largest share in total area and production. The country has exported 1,069.70 MT of Walnuts to the world for the worth of Rs. 29.75 crores/ 3.97 USD Millions during the year 2020-21. The major importing countries of walnut from India are U K, U Arab Emts, Germany, New Zealand, France.
Indian mangoes come in various shapes, sizes and colours with a wide variety of flavour, aroma and taste. The Indian mango is the special product that substantiates the high standards of quality and bountiful of nutrients packed in it. A single mango can provide up to 40 percent of the daily dietary fibre needs – a potent protector against heart disease, cancer and cholesterol build –up .In addition, this luscious fruit is a warehouse of potassium, beta- carotene and antioxidants. In India, mangoes are mainly grown in tropical and subtropical regions from sea level to an altitude of 1,500m. Mangoes grow best in temperatures around 27˚C.
The major mango-growing states are Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Uttar Pradesh ranks first in mango production with a share of 23.47 % and highest productivity.
India is also a prominent exporter of fresh mangoes to the world. The country has exported 21,033.58 MT of fresh mangoes to the world for the worth of Rs. 271.84 crores/ 36.23 USD Millions during the year 2020-21. Major Export Destinations (2020-21): U Arab Emts, U K, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait. Grape (Vitis vinifera) is grown from temperate to warm regions; however, hot and dry climate is ideal. Indian grapes come in varied characteristics namely coloured, white, seeded, unseeded, large and small berries. Indian grapes are successfully grown at and above 250 mean sea level.
Major grape-growing states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana,Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and the north-western region covering Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Maharashta ranks first in terms of production accounting for more than 81.22 % of total production and highest productivity in the country.
Grape is one of the important fruit covering an area of 123 thousand hectares occupying 2.01 % of the total area. The country is also a major exporter of fresh Grapes to the world. The country has exported 2,46,107.38 MT of Grapes to the world for the worth of Rs.2,298.47 crores/ 313.57 USD Millions during the year 2020-21 .
Major Export Destinations (2020-21): Netherland, U K, Bangladesh Pr, Russia, U Arab Emts.
India is the one of the largest producer of Fruits in the world and is known as fruit basket of world. The major fruits grown in India are Mangos, Grapes, Apple, Apricots, Orange, Banana Fresh, Avocados, Guava, Lichi, Papaya, Sapota and Water Melons.
The major varieties under Other Fresh Fruit products are as follows: Mangoes (Langra, Chausa, Fazli, Krishna Bhog, Himsagar, Neelam, Baneshan, Badami) Grapes (Anab-e-shahi, Cheema sahebi, kishmish chorni, perlette, Arkavati) Apple (McIntosh, Chaubattia Anupam, Lal Ambri, Golden Delicious) Banana Fresh (Dwarf Cavendish, Robusta, Rasthali, Poovan) Guava (L-49, Allahabad Safeda, Banarasi, Chittidar, Harijha) Papaya(Coorg Honey Dew, Pusa Dwarf, Pusa Giant, Pusa Majesty) Sapopta (Kalipatti, Pilipatti, Pala, Guthi), Lichi (Shahi, Swarna Roopa, China, Kasba, Elachi, Purbi).
The Betel is the leaf of vine. In India, it is known as "paan". Betel vine is a perennial, evergreen climber which grows in tropics and subtropics. Betel leaf is mostly consumed in Asia and elsewhere in the world by some Asian emigrants. Today betel is grown for local consumption and exports. Major betel leaves growing countries are Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Bangladesh.
The areca nut is the fruit of the areca palm (Areca catechu), which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Southeast and South Asia, and parts of east Africa. It is commonly referred to as betel nut so it is easily confused with betel (Piper betle) leaves that are often used to wrap it (paan).
Chewing the mixture of areca nut and betel leaf is a tradition, custom, or ritual which dates back thousands of years in much of the geographical areas from South Asia eastward to the Pacific. In India there are two varieties of areca nut, also called supari in Hindi language. One is the white variety and the other is the red variety. The white areca nut is produced by harvesting the fully ripe nuts and then subjecting it to sun drying for about 2 months. In the red variety the green areca nut is harvested, boiled and then its exterior husk is removed. The country has exported 6,159.39 MT of Betel Leaves to the world for the worth of Rs. 26.18 crores/ 3.55 USD Millions in 2020-21.
The share of livestock in agricultural sector GDP growth has been increasing faster than the crop sector in the past decade because of the rising demand for livestock products propelled by income and population growth and urbanization. The livestock sector plays an important role in the socio-economic development of rural households.India has the largest livestock population of around 535.78 million, which translates to around 31% of the world population. Milk production in the country is expected to increase to 208 MT in FY21 from 198 MT in FY20, registering a growth of 10% y-o-y.
- First in the total buffalo population in the world - 109.85 million buffaloes
- Second in the population of goats - 148.88 million goats
- Second largest poultry market in the world
- Second largest producer of fish and also second largest aquaculture nation in the world
- Third in the population of sheep (74.26 millions)
- Fifth in in the population of ducks and chicken (851.81 million)
- Tenth in camel population in the world - 2.5 lakhs
Source: 20th Livestock Census.
The total area of permanent pastures and grasslands is about 6& oh the contry’s geographical area. The grassland based production system is prevalent in the Himalayas where there are several nomadic tribes. The animals are moved to sub-alpine and alpine pastures during summer, while during winter they are grazed at adjoining plains. Small scale mixed crop livestock farming is the common and most dominant form of animal husbandry in India.
Livestock are linked closely with crop production. The linkages are stronger on smaller land holdings. Households having less than 2 ha of land possess a larger share of livestock. The average size of livestock holding is small. The average number of animals per 100 households is 198 bovines and 85 ovines. The number of animals owned, however, has a direct relationship with size of land holding. Livestock production involves few cash expenses; animals are often fed on homegrown crop residues and grasses from common grazing lands. Crop residues account for more than 50% of the total dry matter intake in several regions. Use of concentrate feed is low and is limited only to more productive bovines. Small ruminants are maintained mainly by grazing. This results in low productivity. Mean milk yield of lactating indigenous cattle is 620 kg annum-1, crossbred cattle 2130 kg annum-1, and buffalo 1340 kg annum-1. Cattle milk yield is about half of the world average and about 12% to15% of that in the USA, Canada, and Israel. Average meat yield of goats, sheep, and pigs in India is 10, 12, and 55 kg annum-1 respectively; about 60% less than those of the above countries.
Even at low productivity and off-take rates, livestock contribute significantly to economic development. Their developmental role in the mixed farming systems transcends direct economic benefits. Use of manure contributes to agricultural sustainability and conservation of the environment.
The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth, increasing its contribution to world food trade every year due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry. Indian food and grocery market is the world’s sixth largest, with retail contributing 70% of the sales. The Indian food processing industry accounts for 32% of the country’s total food market, one of the largest industries in India and is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth.
The organic food segment in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% during 2015-25 and is estimated to reach Rs. 75,000 crore (US$ 10.73 billion) by 2025 from Rs. 2,700 crore (US$ 386.32 million) in 2015. The processed food market in India is expected to grow to Rs. 3,451,352.5 crore (US$ 470 billion) by 2025, from Rs. 1,931,288.7 crore (US$ 263 billion) in FY20 on the back of government initiatives such as planned infrastructure worth US$ 1 trillion and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojna. The food processing industry employs about 1.77 million people. The sector allows 100% FDI under the automatic route. Between April 2020 and February 2021, the total value of processed food products exports was Rs. 43,798 crore (US$ 6.02 billion). India exported key processed food products such as pulses, processed vegetables, processed fruits and juices, groundnuts, guar gum, cereal preparations, milled products, alcoholic beverages and oil meals.
With a population of 1.27 billion India is the world's second most populous country. It is the seventh largest country in the world with an area of 3.288 million sq kms. It has a long coastline of over 7,500 kms.
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.
The social aspects around agriculture have also been witnessing changing trends. The increased feminisation of agriculture is mainly due to increasing rural-urban migration by men, rise of women-headed households and growth in the production of cash crops which are labour intensive in nature. Women perform significant tasks, both, in farm as well as non-farm activities and their participation in the sector is increasing but their work is treated as an extension of their household work, and adds a dual burden of domestic responsibilities.