Agriculture has a paramount role to play in boosting the Indian economy. The entire economy is supported by agriculture, which 16 per cent of the overall GDP. The share of the agriculture and allied sector in the total Gross Value Added (GVA) of the economy is almost 18.8 per cent in FY22. An ICAR report finds out that India has huge tracts of agronomic land that are broadly divided into 15 agro-climatic zones with diverse soil types, weather patterns, and crop-growing potential. The country has also emerged as the world’s highest milk producer along with other agrarian produces, such as spices, pulses, tea, cashew, and jute. India also tops as the second largest producer of rice, wheat, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables, sugarcane, and cotton.
According to the Sustainable Development Goals stated by the United Nations, India is devotedly working towards the achievement of the Goal of Zero Hunger (SDG-2) by 2030. Under this SDG, the countries require to mitigate the serious hunger and famine issues. Not only this, but on the G20 agenda also the agriculture sector is of utmost priority. The concept aims to stimulate sustainable food systems and build resilient food systems.
This is indeed a moment of celebration when the Indian government has stepped up to realise these agendas. The government is in the process to provide farmers with farm-gate infrastructure. Almost 1 trillion of financing is estimated in the 10 years that would boost the farm-gate and aggregation point agriculture infrastructure projects. The funds will aid Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, Farmers’ Producer Organisations, etc.
The government has achieved huge successes by launching schemes to tackle the grave issues of malnutrition and food insecurity. With an aim to provide free food grains to all NFSA beneficiaries, including Antyodaya Ann Yojana households and Priority Household individuals, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana, was launched this year as the new integrated food security scheme. This will be achieved through a vast network of 5.33 lakh fair price shops across the nation.
Apart from all these achievements, the sector is steadfastly moving towards realising sustainable ways of practising agriculture processes, for instance creating awareness on soil degradation, nutrition deficiency in the crops, and mitigating issues of insects and pests resulting from the serious climatic conditions.
This year when the Union Budget was announced, it showed a nuanced focus on the nation’s agro-sector. With the launch of initiatives like the Agriculture Accelerator Fund, the sector is going to have innovative and affordable solutions for farmers in terms of increasing profitability out of their agro-yields. With new provisions for farmers, they have access to disease-free and clean planting materials, thus muti-folding crop production.
Science and technology in farming
Since the Neolithic Revolution, the agrarian industry has made significant moves in embracing science and technology to boost and organise production and fortify sales. The agriculture accelerator fund will boost various agro set-ups to create innovative solutions for the farmers. The digital public infra for agriculture will stimulate the use of technology in the agro-sector by farmers. Also, the government eyes leveraging AI to maximise output in this industry along with supporting the Indian Institute of Millet Research to be developed as a centre for excellence.
Indian agriculture has always faced challenges in disease-infested crop yield, almost 35 per cent of crop yields have faced the wrath of wastage. With provisions under the aegis of the Atma Nirbhar Clean Plant, the nation aims at sustainable agriculture with disease and pest-free crops. While combating the rising menace of pests and insects, farmers aim to volumise production. Also, India also aims to reduce carbon intensity and fossil fuel usage and targets green hydrogen production in the next ten years. Also, this indigenous sector will become self-sufficient in pulses and genetically modified crops.
With a more and more dedicated focus on the agriculture sector, provisions for more investment in infrastructural developments, development of irrigation facilities, warehousing, and cold storage, the sector aspires to celebrate bigger achievements in the forthcoming years.
The writer is Managing Director, Insecticides India Limited