Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy as 54.6% of the population depend on it for livelihood and the sector (along with fisheries and forestry) contribute 17% to the GDP of the country. Of the total geographical area of 328.7 million hectare, 141.4 million hectare or 43% of the landmass is used for cultivation.
India is the second largest producer of food grains after China. The country produced a record 273.38 million tonne of food grains, which include 109 million tonne of rice, 97 million tonne of wheat, 44 million tonne of coarse cereals and 22 million tonne of pulses. India is self-sufficient in food grain production, expect for pulses, which is imported to meet excess domestic demand. India is a major importer of edible oil such as palm oil and soybean oil.
India ranks first in the world in production of milk with annual output of around 156 million tonne (as of 2015-16). India’s per person milk availability is 337 gram on an average, which is higher than the world average of 229 gram. India is also a major producer of fruits and vegetables with annual production of 93 million tonne and 175 million tonne respectively in 2016-17.
Government of India allows public, private investments and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the agriculture and allied sectors. In fact, FDI up to 100% is allowed under automatic route in specified activities of the agriculture and allied sectors.
India’s agriculture sector is witnessing gradual adoption of modern technologies, including information and communication technologies across the value chain. Farmers are using high yielding varieties of seeds, drip and sprinkling irrigation technologies, modern implements for sowing and harvesting crops and so on. Adoption of modern technology is witnessed at the post-harvest storage and processing stages as well. At the marketing stage, Government of India is connecting all the agriculture markets with the help of information and communication technologies to create a single integrated market across the country. So far, 417 markets from 13 states have been integrated with e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM).
Government is India is implementing various progressive measures such as issuing soil health card, crop insurance scheme, encouraging water conservation through innovative irrigation projects and promoting use of solar energy to power irrigation.