Dr. Nazeerudin and Dr. BM Rajani Kanth
Indian agriculture employs the largest share of the workforce – about 42 percent in 2019 – though its share in overall gross domestic product (GDP) is only 16.5 percent. India is still largely a rural economy with 66 percent of the country’s population living in rural areas (World Bank, 2019) and agriculture continues to be the mainstay of a large segment of this section of the population. Agriculture is also important for consumers, as an average Indian household spends about 45 percent of its expenditure on food.1 Moreover, given that India is going to be the most populous country, surpassing China, by 2027 (according to United Nations population projections, 2019), it would be a major challenge for Indian agriculture to feed this large population especially in the wake of the emerging challenges of climate change and the degradation of natural resources such as air, water and land, etc. This challenge becomes more serious with the expected rise in per capita incomes2 as well as increasing urbanization – the urban population is estimated to be 600 million by 2030 – both of which are likely to increase the demand for food, feed and fiber. Moreover, not only will there be more mouths to feed, but, as per capita income grows, there will be much higher demand for high value agriculture products such as meat, fish, dairy, fruits and vegetables (OECD/FAO, 2019). This would be very much in line with Bennett’s Law of food consumption, which states
The paper is organized as follows: Section 1 presents the backdrop of Indian agriculture within the context of the Indian economy
Section 2 critically examines the Challenges in agriculture sector raising agricultural productivity per unit of land: Reducing rural poverty. Ensuring that agricultural growth responds to food security needs
Section 3 mainly focuses on priority areas in agriculture which includes Promoting new technologies and reforming agricultural research and extension: Water Resources and Irrigation/Drainage Management Facilitating agricultural diversification to higher-value commodities. Poverty alleviation Sustaining the environment and future agricultural productivity Finally It also highlights the intervention of World Bank Support to achieve sustainable agricultural growth.
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