Guest author: Vijay Rawal | Director | LEMKEN India Agro Equipment Pvt. Ltd.

Current situation

The Agriculture sector is a very important contributor to the Indian economy. India has 159.6 Million hectare of cultivable land and that is the second largest in the world, after the US. Out of total cultivable land, 2/3rd is rain-fed and dependent on Monsoons. Still with irrigated crop area of 82.6 Million hectares, it is the largest in the world. Furthermore, India is the 2nd largest food grain producer with 265.57 Million tons in 2013-14. It is one of the top 3 global producers of most of the crops and the largest producer of milk. In addition, India is the largest manufacturer of tractors with 29% of the world’s output in 2013 and has also the largest market.

The data below reflects the importance of agriculture in the Indian economy and how it has changed in the last 68 years since independence.

Year/Sector Year 1951 Year 1973 Year 1994 Year 2010
% of GDP % of Population % of GDP % of Population % of GDP % of Population % of GDP % of Population
Agriculture 51.81 NA 40.92 73.92 30.01 63.98 15.23 51.30
Industry 14.16 NA 23.32 11.30 25.15 14.96 25.92 22.02
Services 33.25 NA 35.75 16.47 44.84 21.07 58.84 26.67

(Source: http://isidev.nic.in/pdf/ICSSR_TSP_PPS.pdf page 36)

From the above data, we can list out some challenges of Indian agriculture which in turn also serves as an opportunity for the society as a whole to work upon and plan out future strategy.

  • The percentage contribution of agriculture in total GDP has significantly decreased from 52% to 15% but still 51% of population is dependent on agriculture. It emphasizes on the need for vocational training of a large population that could be absorbed in Industries including food processing and Infrastructure sector.
  • This dependency has resulted in small farm sizes and it hampers the usage of latest agricultural technology to improve the yield of different crops in comparison to other countries like the USA, China etc.
  • Though India is the largest tractor manufacturer but agricultural mechanization goal is still to be achieved. Indian farmers are looking for affordable farm mechanization technology.
  • With global warming and climate changes, water management for agriculture gives an opportunity to provide best irrigation technology and usage of variety of seeds suitable for such conditions.
  • Fast growing middle class and urbanization has opened a window for food processing industry and health care services.

History & Development

Agriculture is an integral part of Indian civilization and culture. There are archeological evidences that people have been practicing agriculture in India since 10000 years. There is also evidence of planting crops in rows, storing grain in granaries and of animal husbandry. The Indian sub-continent is blessed with yearly rainy season known as Monsoon, South-west Monsoon during June to September and North-east Monsoon during December to March.

After Independence in 1947, India began its growth story and rapid growth in population emphasized on growth of agriculture for food security. In the 1960’s, the Government of India adopted modern agriculture technologies to commence the Green Revolution with a goal of food grain self-sufficiency. Later on similar revolutions were initiated to improve the production of other agriculture produce like Dairy (Operation flood), Oilseeds (Yellow revolution) and Fisheries (Blue revolution).

In 1991, India initiated major economic reforms resulting in rapid growth and prosperity of the middle class. There has been a major change in food habits and consumption patterns from staple-based to high-value agriculture products like fruit & vegetables, dairy & meat and so on.

LEMKEN GmbH with a legacy of 235 years in Germany established its first manufacturing facility outside of Germany in 2012 at Nagpur, India to provide access of advanced farm technology to Indian farmers. This will help farmers to improve their profitability by better crop yield and by reducing cost of production through minimum no. of operations, less usage of fertilizers & other farm inputs. The objectives of LEMKEN India also coincide with the goal of Government of India to make agriculture a profitable and sustainable venture and we at LEMKEN are committed to achieve this.

To read the latest news on Agriculture in India click Agriculture Newsletter