Indra Sharma has some interesting data about India’s agriculture:
Share of agriculture sector has come down from 61% in 1951 to 24% in GDP.
Population dependent on rural economy has gone up from 299 million in 1951 to 709 million in 2001.
Gross investment in economy is about 26% but the government’s investment in agriculture is only 1.3%. Agriculture’s contribution of 24% to GDP demands an investment of at least 6% of GDP (Som Pal, the former Chairman of the National commission of Farmers, NCF)
Growth rates in agriculture sector dropped to 1.7% in 1997-2001 from 3.5% in 1980-90.
Food processing is only 2% of the produce. An investment of Rs 1,40,000 crore is needed to raise the food processing to 10%.
Over 60% of the price paid by the consumers goes to the traders.
Food grain production is about 220 million tones, but the storage capacity is only 70 million tones. Private investment is required in increasing the storage capacity.
Power subsidies total to Rs 25,000 crore.
Interest on credit is strangely higher for agricultural equipment. One can buy a car on credits from banks at 7% interest but for tractors, the credit interest rates are 12%.
National Insurance Scheme covers 41.7 million farmers. But insurance does not cover failure of crops of individual farmers.
Investment on irrigation has dropped from 22.6% in 1950s to 5.6%. Over 400 irrigation projects worth Rs 79,000 crore that can irrigate 21 million hectares remain stalled since 1960.
Farming in nearly 70% of cultivable land – 100 million hectares out of 142 million hectares is dependent on the mercy of monsoon..
Indian farmers use poor quality of 1960 vintage seeds. Practices are primitive to a great extent.
India is the second largest food producer in the world. But India has the lowest yield.