12-point agenda: Stimulating agricultural growth
1 month ago Shruti Goel 0
On 19 January, Vice-President M.Venkaiah Naidu presents a 12-point agenda for spurring the growth of agriculture. Agriculture is being considered as an unattractive profession by the farmers. This is due to low income and sluggish productivity.
Agriculture means rearing and procreation of animals, plants, and fungi for various products needed to sustain and enhance the lives of humans. It used to be the key development during the rise of human civilization. The initiation of agriculture dates back thousands of years and its development has gone through highly different climates, culture, and technologies. Modern agriculture techniques like the use of pesticides and fertilizers, etc. have sharply increased yields from cultivation. At the same time, they have caused much ecological damage, disturbed the atmosphere, as well as have a negative impact on human health. Food production by agriculture is becoming a global issue and a matter of concern and debate in many aspects of life. Although it usually refers to human activities, yet it is observed in certain species of ants, termites, and ambrosia beetle.
It largely refers to the amount of stress generated in the agrarian sector. In India, large amounts of suicides carried out by several farmers clearly prompt that something is severely wrong with the rural sector. There is a clear idea of why the agrarian sector has started internal migration on a large scale. It is the low growth and poor earnings from productivity which have led to such an impact. This distress is due to fragmented holdings, dependence on monsoon, markets, depletion and degradation of resources, etc. GDP holds a share of agriculture which has been observed to be falling over the years. High agriculture has always benefitted the economy of the country. Therefore, strategies for faster and sustainable growth are the need of the hour. They must be developed in order to address the issues faced by millions of people. Farmers and their crops are often subjected to serious stresses relating to the irregular monsoon, and natural calamities like floods, and hailstorms, etc. There is a huge decline in income for those among the rural poor who derive a larger share of their income from cultivation.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was a productive step for the farmers and similar initiatives are required for addressing the risks in the livestock sector. On the 47th Founders’ day of the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Mr. Naidu delivered the VKRV Rao Memorial Lecture on ”Challenges and Opportunities Facing Indian Agriculture”. He revealed a 12-point agenda for advancing the growth in this sector. It included the following:
- Providing good quality seeds
- Balanced use of fertilizers
- Release of timely institutional credit
- Diversification of agricultural activities by concentrating on poultry, dairy, etc.
- Food processing
- Farm mechanization
- Intensification of agriculture by focusing on horticultural activities
- Judicious use of water, particularly surface water
- Larger share in consumer prices for farmers by declaring higher MSP
- Reform in land policy such as contract farming
- Climate change
- Strengthening R&D in the farm sector
Despite many challenges, Indian agriculture has made rapid advancement since independence. The country proceeded from food imports to self-sufficient productions and exports. “We have made the transition from subsistence farming to intensive and technology-led cultivation.”
- In the present time, India is placed in the first position in the production of many crops. It has the highest production of milk in the world.
- The growth rate in the production of food has exceeded that of the growth of population.
- During 2016-2017, the output of agriculture has increased by a rate of 5% with an all-time record of production.
- There is a perceptible achievement through innovations in technology, infrastructure for irrigation, and water resources.
- Public investment in agriculture increased from 2.8% of GDP in the 10th Plan to 3.1% in the 11th Plan whereas the private investment increased from 15.9% of agricultural GDP to 18.1%.
- Private investment (by farmers) contributes to 85% of total investment in agriculture unlike public investment, contributing less than 15%.
Mr. Naidu said that “We need to formulate a long-term and a medium-term action plan detailing how private and public investments will be channeled and the strategic directions we should pursue to revitalize this sector.”