Agriculture is defined as the science and art of soil farming, and this definition emphasizes the primary nature of plant production in agriculture. It is not only a means of livelihood but a way of life. Agriculture is the most fundamental form of human activity and involves not only the cultivation of crops but also the domination of animals. Thus, agricultural land is the most basic of the world’s vast and diverse resources, and it provides food, clothing, and shelter to the human population. It is the main source of food, feed, and fuel. It is the basic foundation of economic development. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy. Agriculture is not only important from an economic point of view, but it has a profound impact on our social, political, and cultural life.
The agriculture industry in India reached a value of INR 63,506 billion in 2020. The agriculture industry represents an important component of the Indian economy both in terms of its contribution to the GDP as well as a source of employment to the majority of the country’s population. This sector is currently showing immense opportunities, with India presently being one of the world’s largest agricultural producers by value. A number of transformations have taken place in this sector over the past few decades. These include – rising penetration of the organized sector, growth in contract farming, agriculture becoming more mechanized, easy loan facilities, rise of exports, use of agrochemicals and high yielding seeds, and an increasing role of the private sector in processing, branding and marketing.
India is the second-largest populated country accounting for 18% of the total world population. With an increase in the population, the need for various agricultural products has increased significantly. This rise has prompted the farmers to adopt enhanced technologies and methods in dairy, fisheries and livestock in order to meet the diversified food needs of the people. Additionally, more than 50% of India’s population is dependent on agricultural products which is further promoting the growth of the market.
Over the past few years, India’s GDP has been growing at a steady pace which has resulted in a rise in the disposable incomes of the consumers. This rise has driven the agriculture market both in terms of the producer and consumer. It has enabled farmers to invest more in advanced agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation facilities, quality seeds, equipment’s, fertilizers, warehousing, cold storage, etc. It has also increased the consumers purchasing power creating a positive impact on the domestic demand of agriculture products. India represents one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. The country encompasses various types of climatic conditions and soil types suitable for cultivating a large number of cereals, fruits, vegetables, flowers, cash crops, etc. The Indo-Gangetic plain, for instance, represents one of the most fertile lands across the globe. In addition, India also represents the second largest fish producing country in the world. The country has diverse resources ranging from deep seas to lakes in the mountains and more than 10% of the global biodiversity in terms of fish and shellfish species.
The establishment of rural banking and credit system has also played a pivotal role in the growth of the agriculture industry. The transformation of agriculture from subsistence to commercialization requires investment on the farm along with the use of modern inputs. With the availability of credit, the constraint on certain inputs like seed, fertilizer, pesticides, hired labor, etc. has been reduced.