Agriculture refers to the concept of cultivating the soil, raising livestock, and growing crops. It comprises the preparation of plant and animal products and their distribution to people and markets. Agricultural products are many like, cotton, wool, and leather. Commercial farms and ranches which give vegetables and meat to the overall public are samples of agriculture. India is one of the highest three global producers of various crops, like wheat, rice, pulses, cotton, peanuts, fruits, and vegetables.
India is the largest producer of milk and has one of the most important and fastest-growing poultry industries. Uttar Pradesh is one of the highest farming states in India. Uttar Pradesh is counted under major state-wise crop production in India including crops like bajra, rice, sugarcane, food grains, and lots more. It comes under the highest wheat-producing states in India, followed by Haryana, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh.
Features of Indian Agriculture
- Source of livelihood: Agriculture is the main occupation. It provides employment to 61% of the total population. It contributes 25% out of the total value.
- Dependence on monsoon: In India, agriculture depends on the monsoon. Sometimes floods play havoc with our crops. Agriculture depends on the monsoon as irrigation facilities are quite inadequate to be able to contribute to a good harvest.
- Labour intensive cultivation: Due to the increase in population, the pressure on landholding also increases. Landholdings get fragmented due to which these holdings become uneconomical. Farmers cannot use machinery and equipment on such farms.
- Underemployment: Due to inadequate irrigation facilities and unsure rainfall, farmers find work only for a few months within the year. Their capacity of labour can’t be properly utilised. In agriculture, there’s under-employment also known as disguised unemployment.
- The small size of holdings: Landholding size is small due to large-scale sub-division and fragmentation of these holdings. Average size of land holding was 2.3 hectares in India while in Australia it had been 1993 hectares and in the USA it had been 158 hectares.
- Traditional methods of production: In India, methods of production of agriculture alongside equipment are traditional. It leads to poverty and illiteracy of individuals. Traditional technology is the main explanation for low production.
- Low Agricultural production: Agricultural production is minimum in India. India produces 27 Qtls. wheat per hectare. Britain 80 Qtls per hectare and France produce 71.2 Qtls per hectare. The average annual productivity of an agricultural labourer is 973 dollars in Norway, 2408 dollars in USA, and 162 dollars in India.
- The dominance of food crops: Food crops comprises of 75% of the cultivated area including crops like Wheat, Rice, and Bajra, while commercial crops comprises of 25% of cultivated area. This pattern is the explanation for backward agriculture.
The status of institutional weaknesses in Indian agriculture is as follows:
- We need to involve the tiny and marginal farmers and therefore the landless labour in deriving benefits of increased agricultural exports through integrated cooperatives just like the mother dairy and other service co-operatives; contract farming, etc.
- The present system of credit doesn’t ensure the timely availability of credit. In many nations, reform remains woefully unfinished and tenancy regimes need urgent reform.
- Indian agricultural system is affected by the issues of subsidized interest rates, poor recovery of loans, high intermediation costs of cooperatives and commercial banks, and debt write-offs.
- We also got to make efforts to develop new technologies for the farming sector and making it available for farmers with limited capital, so that they’ll diversify their production towards high-value commercial and export commodities.
- We need to make institutions like trading houses, market intelligence services, and the creation of a network of data on national and international prices.
- We also need infrastructure for marketing, processing, and investment in information, etc.
One of the key causes of our low agricultural output and backward position is the subdivision and fragmentation of holdings. To move seeds, manure, implements, and animals from one piece of land to another lead to wasting a lot of time and effort.
In such small and fragmented areas, irrigation becomes impossible. Furthermore, much productive agricultural land is squandered on the construction of fences. In such situations, the farmer is unable to focus on improvement.
The only solution to this vexing situation is to consolidate holdings, which entails reallocating fragmented holdings and establishing farms with only one or a few parcels instead of the number of patches formerly in each peasant’s possession.
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