Mumbai, August 2017 (GNS) : India ranks second globally in agricultural production ($367 billion in 2014) whereas India’s rank in services and manufacturing sectors are way below – 11th and 12th respectively. Agriculture’s contribution to our country’s economy extends beyond rural economy and encompasses many activities in manufacturing and services sector. Export surplus from our agricultural trade is higher than the corresponding figure achieved by manufacturing sector.
India’s agriculture is as diverse as its culture. No other country produces as many crops as we do. Indian agriculture is no more food grain centric. Horticulture and livestock sectors now account for >50% of our agricultural production- in value. India’s present agriculture is structurally different from the one that existed earlier. Our farmers have ensured country’s food security and nutritional security as well.
Indian farming is backward, un-enterprising, distressed, debt ridden and a drag on economic resources what millions tend to believe. The empirical evidence shows a delightfully different picture. The compilation of these facts was released in the form of a report by Honorable Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari in Delhi at a function organized by ASSOCHAM. Center for Environment and Agriculture (CENTEGRO), a Mumbai based not for profit organisation has prepared this comprehensive report on Myths & Realities in association with experts from Tata Strategic Management Group.
Honorable Union Minister of State (Agriculture) Shri. Purshottam Rupala & Hukumdev Yadav – Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture were both present on the occasion and appreciated the compilation of facts contained in the report.
Rajju Shroff – Chairman of CENTEGRO and Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI) addressing the press stated “Traditionally used – Yield per acre for crops is an unfair measure of Indian farm productivity. Globally India is the largest producer of milk, second largest in fruits + vegetables & fish. Third largest in Egg production in the world. This is all due small and marginal farmers who deploy family labour and engage in intensive multi cropping all year round. They also manage livestock & poultry efficiently using agriculture waste as animal feed and to produce manure.”
India has 91 million ha. of irrigated land for agriculture(highest in the world). Thanks to multi product and multi seasonal and mixed farming (crops and livestock) there is negligible impact of deficit rainfall on agriculture now. In 2010 -11 with a 20% deficit in rainfall Agri-output stood steady at US$203 Billion registering NIL decline across most segments.
S Ganesan – Advisor (CCFI) observed that in order to double farmers income, our focus should shift from production to increasing consumption within and outside the country. In order to bring price stability in domestic market, we must access foreign markets. Global exports in agricultural products is over $1500 billion annually as per the latest data from WTO. Of this, India’s share is less than $35 billion. One of the ways to double farmers income is to increase our agricultural exports to over $100 billion by 2022. Increasing our international presence is a key to mitigating problems arising from production glut. He also debunked many myths about Indian agriculture such as farmer’s suicides, increased rate of cancers linked to agriculture etc. Globally8 lakh people commit suicide each year (WHO). In 2015 133,623 suicides were reported in India of which less than 10% (12603) were of farmers. Incidence of cancer in India- a global leader in agriculture- is way below the world average. Singapore with no agriculture has higher incidence of cancer than India.
CENTEGRO’S study also debunked popular notions about farmers injecting hormones, coloring chemicals into fruits and vegetables improve color and size(Watermelons, pomegranate etc.).Organic farming is not sustainable because of low yield and need for huge amount of unavailable manure. Farmers spend on crop protection chemicals is just 1% of the value off total agriculture production. The health scare about pesticide residues in food is a malafide campaign propagated by foreign funded NGO’s in order to tarnish Indian agriculture, a spokesperson of CENTEGRO said.
With the introduction of GST, there will be sooth movement of many agricultural commodities enhancing inter- state trade.
On lines of the MAKE IN INDIA campaign, the report urged the union government to launch GROW IN INDIA campaign aiming for substantial gains in agri-exports with a single authority to monitor India’s international agricultural trade-both exports and imports.
As India has several Agro-climatic zones and required labor with multi-tasking skills, India can produce and supply to the world a variety of crops. India has sunlight round the year. Countries that have scarce labour and lands, harsh weathercan consider outsourcing agriculture to India.ENDS