Agriculture is the most important sector of India and largest contributor to India’s GDP and overall growth of socio-economic sector. It has played a significant role in providing livelihood to two-thirds of the population
India has been greatly dependent on agriculture for food production and imports. Green Revolution took place to improve Indian agriculture in 1960’s due to food crisis. This revolution involved adopting new irrigation facilities, high-yielding variety of seeds, better technologies, proper fertilizer and pesticide usage. This initiative steadily increased wheat and rice production in India. According to the recent survey, total food production during 2020-2021 year was approximately 296 million tones. India is among the 15 leading countries in the world to export agriculture products. Year 2020 has marked a high investment in the agricultural sector. Major companies like Nestle and Haldiram had made major investment in food industry.
Government initiatives to improve agriculture
Pradhan Mantri Mandhan Yojana was launched for small farmers. Under this initiative, farmers between the age of 18 to 40 will have to contribute Rs 55 to Rs 200 and by the time they reach their retirement age i.e., 60 years they will receive Rs3000 per month as pension.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana was launched to provide Rs 60,000 to those farmers who own less than two hectares of land in three installments.
On 1st July, 2015, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana was launched to provide better irrigation supply solutions to farmers. As per the budget of 2021-2022, Rs 4000 crore was enforced towards this this initiative.
To promote organic cultivation among a group of farmers in India, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana was launched. This inititiave is believed to increase domestic production.
National Animal Disease Control Programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work toward animal diseases related to foot, mouth in livestock.
Animal husbandry industry development was vital. Funds have been announced to improve this industry.
Electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) launched in 2016 enabled e-marketing that provides a combined market for all the food products at a national level.
These initiatives have been helpful to farmers. Such programmes have given big relief to farmers and are continuing to support during this global pandemic.
Covid-19 impact on agriculture
Coronavirus has an adverse impact on many sectors, however growth in agriculture had been unpredictable due to distinction in essential and non-essential goods. During lockdown, many farmers had to throw out their yield to lack of transportation services and restrictions imposed on inter-city travel. Uncertainties in market was observed because of scarcity of money. Initially, certain productions could not make it to the market due to inability to sell it during lockdown. This resulted in increase in overall prices. Consumers had lost their jobs or went through salary cuts, which forced them to prioritize their need according their ability to pay. Demand for non-essential products had reduced has it did not fit in the priority list. Hoarding patterns were adopted by consumers due to uncontrollable demand for essential goods. Despite higher prices of essential goods, people consumed it by shortening demand for non-essential. Pulses, wheat flour, rice and had about 5%- rise in prices post-lockdown. Edible oil prices lowered with removal of restrictions and free distribution of food grains.
Covid has ruined overall food production and food imports. It has damaged Indian and global agricultural system. Farmers have been severely impacted by Coronavirus. Agriculture has not completely recovered but seems to gradually improve post-lockdown.