AGRICULTURE IN INDIA
Since time in memorial agriculture has been the mainstay of people in India. Even now agriculture provides employment to 58.4%of the people. It is also a major contributor to industrial development because it acts as a source for raw material to industries.Cotton, jute, sugar, vanaspati etc… are examples of this. It also contributes 10% of India’s total export revenues and approximately one-fifth of the GDP
Before independence the area of cultivated land rose by 18% between the years 1901-1941.Average productivity of all crops was 13% and food crops 1%.This was despite the increase in population during the period by 38%.
Soon after independence there was a steady increase in area under cultivation and rise in average yield per hectare. All agricultural crop production steadily increased and agriculture was slowly gaining momentum. But low productivity hampered better growth.
CAUSES FOR LOW PRODUCTIVITY
One of the major factors contributing to low productivity was overcrowding and its pressure on land. The average size of holding was less than five acres and land tenure was characterized by high rent and insecurity of tenancy. The farmers were also tradition bound and conservative and unwilling to adopt new techniques of cultivation. There was also the added problem of non-farm services like finance and marketing. Inadequate irrigation facilities added to their woes.
A new agricultural strategy was formulated after independence with emphasis on the use of fertilizers, pesticides and agricultural machines. Public sector undertakings like FACT organized FARM MELAS in rural areas to sensitize people in the use of fertilizers during the sixties. The result was that there was a boost in production of cereals and commercial crops like, sugarcane, cotton, jute, oilseeds etc. consequently there was change in the cropping patterns and boost in agriculture production. Punjab was a beneficiary of the green revolution, and was in the forefront of rural prosperity. But there were disadvantages too; agriculture continued to be gamble with monsoon, as is evident in the current year and in many parts of the country there were growth of capitalist farmers. However some states like Kerala, which had implemented the land reforms act way back in the late sixties, witnessed more or less equitable distribution of land holdings. But the overall picture was one of widening income disparity of big farmers and those with small holdings. When there were periods of drought rural indebtedness forced many to migrate to the cities thereby giving rise to the problem of labor displacement.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL POLICY OF 2000
With the beginning of the new millennium and the need to improve a crucial sector like agriculture, the new agricultural policy was formulated to usher in a growth of more than 4%. Emphasis was also placed on maintaining biodiversity and conserving soil and water. Growth was envisaged to be demand driven using sustainable technologies preserving the environment and Incentives designed to encourage overall development using transfer of technology.