Agriculture plays a significant role in enhancing the Indian economy. The share of the agriculture and allied sector in total Gross Value Added (GVA) of the economy is almost 18.8 per cent in 2021-22. Indicators of progress compiled by the World Bank place the employment rate in the Indian agriculture industry at 41.5 per cent as of 2020. According to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR), India is blessed with vast tracts of arable land divided into 15 agro-climatic zones with diverse soil types, weather patterns, and crop-growing potential. India is the world's leading producer of milk, spices, pulses, tea, cashew, and jute and ranks second in the world for producing rice, wheat, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables, sugarcane, and cotton.
Being such an important sector requires attention, focus and awareness at all levels. Soil degradation, nutrition deficiency, natural calamity, inadequate infrastructure or loss of harvest and climate change are the issues faced by the sector. Thus, the future of agriculture that is planned and organised is vital. The Government and other organisations are working towards addressing the critical challenges faced by farmers in Indian agriculture. Thus, working on cost-effective solutions that safeguard the environment and preserve our natural resources is necessary. The face of agriculture in India is changing due to government initiatives and investments, particularly in research and development and new agricultural technologies. Numerous start-ups are also reshaping Indian agriculture by fusing technology with knowledge. These are the little efforts taken to convert challenges into opportunities for agriculture in India. \
The growth rate for agriculture and related activities was 3.9 per cent in 2021. By 2025, Inc42 projects that the Indian agricultural sector would grow to $ 24 billion. The world's sixth-largest food and grocery market are India, where 70 per cent of sales are made through retail. The second advance estimates predict that India will produce 316.06 metric tons of food grains in the financial year (FY) 2021–22.
Investments and growth in the sector
- The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) estimates that between April 2000 and March 2022, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflow totalling around $ 2.55 billion attracted the Indian food processing sector.
- The Indian Government introduced 558 unique identification systems, Kisan Drones for crop evaluation, digitisation of land records, and nutrient and pesticide spraying in 2022.
- In comparison to $ 1.01 trillion in (FY) 2020, private consumer expenditure was anticipated to be $ 1.08 trillion in (FY) 2022.
- India received about $ 1 billion in agri-tech funding between 2017 and 2020. India ranks third in agri-tech finance and the number of agri-tech start-ups, with strong investor interest. Indian agri-tech enterprises are anticipated to receive investments around $ 30-35 billion by 2025
- To ensure that newer technology, like enhanced crop seeds, new breeds and strains of livestock and fish, and improved production and protection methods reach farmers, a nationwide network of 729 Krishi Vigyan Kendras has been set up at the district level.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced 35 crop varieties in September 2021 with unique qualities, including increased nutrient content and climate adaptability.
- For agriculture initiatives based on cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, drones, robotics, and others, the Indian government has launched the Digital Agriculture Mission for 2021–25.
- The Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Food Processing Industry (PLISFPI) has been approved with a budget of $ 1.46 billion to support Indian food brands abroad and create global food manufacturing champions commensurate with India's natural resource endowment.
- In the crop year 2020–21, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare's first advance projections, 102.36 million tonnes (MT) of rice and 144.52 MT of food grains were produced.
- The first commercial shipment of Kashmir's Mishri cherry was sent to Dubai in July 2021, opening the door for increased horticulture crop exports.
- Groundnut exports from Eastern India increased in June 2021 because India exported 24 metric tonnes of groundnuts to Nepal from West Bengal.
- As of November 2021, 22 of the 39 mega food parks authorised in India are open for business.
- In order to connect the current Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMCs) and provide a uniform national market for agricultural commodities, the Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) was introduced in April 2016. Up till February 2021, it had 16.9 million farmers and 157,778 traders registered on its site. In India, more than 1,000 mandis have already been connected to e-NAM, and 22,000 more are anticipated to do so by the end of 2022.
By 2022, it is anticipated that India will have doubled its farm revenue. Due to increased investment in agricultural infrastructures, such as irrigation facilities, warehousing, and cold storage, the agriculture sector in India is anticipated to produce higher momentum in the upcoming years. Additionally, India's agriculture is anticipated to benefit from its self-sufficiency in pulses and genetically modified crops. Under the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana, the Central Government also intends to invest $ 9 billion in fisheries. By 2024–2025, the government hopes to increase fish production to 220 lakh tonnes.
This has been co-authored by Bhakti Jain and Ishita Dhar.