Agriculture Does Well in Output Growth

Food grains production in India has shown remarkable improvement in recent years. The production of food grains in 2011-12 was at a record high of 259.32 million tones. Nevertheless the XIth Five Year Plan (2007-12) witnessed an average annual growth of 3.6% in GDP from agriculture and allied sector against a target of 4 per cent realized agriculture growth has been higher than the average annual growth achieved during the IXth and Xth Plans despite drought and deficient monsoon conditions.

The Survey finds that despite an all time high total food grain production during 2011-12, the production of 2012-13 kharif crops is likely to be adversely affected by deficiencies in south west monsoon and the resultant acreage losses. Output is expected to decline in all major crops. However, yield levels significantly improved for cotton, pulses and coarse cereals during 2000-2012.

The Survey noted that as a result of central sector schemes for development and strengthening of infrastructure facilities for seeds, there is an increased availability of certified quality seeds from 140.5 lakh quintals in 2005-06 to 328.6 lakh quintals in 2012-13. In hilly /remote areas of North Eastern States, a Transport Subsidy on Movement of Seeds Schemes is in operation whereby grants-in-aid of Rs, 12.6 crores was to be reimbursed. The Government has notified the new investment policy of 2012 in the urea sector which will lead to increase in indigenous capacity and reduction in imports. India has made considerable progress in developing irrigation infrastructure. However, irrigation efficiency is low for both surface and ground water.

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The live stock sector achieved an average growth rate of 4.8 per cent during XIth Plan. In 2011-12 the production of milk was estimated at 127.9 million tonnes, eggs at 66.45 billion, wool at 44.73 million Kg and meat at 5.51 million tonnes. A new scheme called National Dairy Plan Phase-I has been launched in March, 2012 with the objectives of improving productivity of milch animals. Poultry Venture Capital Fund Scheme is being implemented in capital subsidy mode since 1st April, 2011. Production of fish, both marine and inland has gone up from 5.6 million tonnes in 2000-01, to 8.7 million tonnes in 2011-12.

The Government continues to provide large and growing amount of subsidy on food grains for distribution under the TPDS, other nutrition based welfare schemes and open market operations. India has improved its position in agriculture and food exports to 10th globally. Exports of agriculture and allied products during 2011-12 accounted for 9.08 % of India’s total exports against 6.9% during 2010-11. The Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public distribution has submitted its report on the National Food Security Bill to the Speaker Lok Sabha on 17th January, 2013 which is being processed in consultation with concerned Ministries and States/ UTs.

Of the various challenges that the agriculture faces, the Survey finds that the country faces the stiff challenge of feeding its growing population. According to the Survey, the country will have to invest heavily in farm research, rural infrastructure, provide better access to high value markets better credit facility and input use. Wide Yield gaps among various crops exists across the country which needs to be bridged by adopting technological and policy interventions. There are also challenges to maximize agriculture income while adopting more sustainable agriculture strategy. The current crop insurance system also needs to be further refined. A thrust on Horticulture products and protein-rich items is required for enhancing per capita availability of food items as well as ensuring nutritional security.

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