Raju Shroff, president of Crop Care Federation of India urged the government for more focus on boosting agriculture exports to increase farmer’s income. Industry experts say that from present $36 billion, agribusiness has the potential to grow to about a $100 billion.
According to the Census of India 2011, about 52% of the total workforce rely on agriculture which accrues to about 14% of GDP. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari states that the country’s main problem in the agriculture sector is dependency on rain, therefore diminishing water level plays a huge negative role. While more than half per cent of people are involved in agriculture, less than 10% are actually farmers, he said. Deteriorating agriculture is what causes urban migration every year adding to unemployment.
India’s agriculture composition does not just include food grains, animal husbandry and horticulture contributes 60 per cent of the agriculture output. Therefore, innovation and entrepreneurial vision can increase the growth of agriculture exports at an increasing rate.
Centre for Environment and Agriculture together with Tata Strategic Management Group in their recent report have questioned some myths associated with agriculture. The facts and figures used by the report for Indian agriculture have proved that it is not food grain centric and despite its dependence on rain, 70% of wheat land, 59% of rice land and eight top horticulture crops are irrigated. Low farm sizes which otherwise pose the problem of lower returns to scale, have rendered India and China as world leaders in agriculture produce. The report further went to disprove myths relating to the sustainability of organic farming, chemical crop protection and coloring chemicals.
India ranks second globally in terms of agriculture production at $367. However, India’s share in agricultural export, according to latest data from WTO, is less than $35 billion. This indicates towards the possibility of growth.
Agriculture sector has huge potential in India not only to engage the population depended on it but to make it a profitable sector too. Towards that area, specific problems faced by farmers should be tapped. Problems ranging from soil quality, weather unpredictability, storage unavailability, distortions in the market system, rainfall dependence both flood and drought and numerous other possible problems can be solved with innovation and technology. The problems, if addressed can render Indian agriculture from intensive subsistence farming to a profitable industry, doubling farmer’s income.