India’s agriculture sector plays a crucial role in the country’s economy, as it employs more than 50% of the country’s workforce and contributes around 17% to the country’s GDP. However, the sector has been facing several challenges in recent years, including low productivity, lack of investment in research and development, and a lack of access to modern technology and equipment.
One of the major challenges facing the agriculture sector in India is the low productivity of crops. Despite being one of the world’s leading producers of food grains, India ranks low in terms of crop productivity when compared to other major agricultural nations. This is primarily due to the small landholding size and lack of access to modern technology and equipment for farmers.
Another major challenge facing the agriculture sector in India is the lack of investment in research and development. India currently spends only 0.3% of its agricultural GDP on research and development, which is significantly less than other major agricultural nations such as China and the United States. This lack of investment has resulted in a lack of new and improved crop varieties and farming techniques, which has further contributed to the sector’s low productivity.
In recent years, the Government of India has taken several steps to address these challenges and boost the agriculture sector. The government has announced several schemes and policies aimed at increasing the income of farmers, such as the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. The government has also announced several measures to boost the use of technology in agriculture, such as the National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) and the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
As the country is going through the budget session, the industry leaders are expecting the government to announce more measures to boost the agriculture sector. Some of the key expectations from the industry leaders include:
- Increase in investment in research and development: Industry leaders are expecting the government to announce a significant increase in investment in research and development to improve crop productivity and develop new and improved crop varieties.
- Increase in access to modern technology and equipment: Industry leaders are expecting the government to announce measures to increase access to modern technology and equipment for farmers, such as subsidies for purchasing tractors and other equipment.
- Increase in credit access: Industry leaders are expecting the government to announce measures to increase credit access for farmers, such as interest-free loans and subsidies for purchasing equipment.
- Increase in minimum support price: Industry leaders are expecting the government to announce an increase in the minimum support price for crops to help farmers get better prices for their produce.
- Increase in the allocation for the agriculture sector in the budget: Industry leaders are expecting the government to increase the allocation for the agriculture sector in the budget to support the growth and development of the sector.
MK Dhanuka, Managing Director, Dhanuka Agritech, said, “We expect that the government will take a view on reducing the custom duty on import of Pesticides. This move will enable our farmers to buy pesticides at reasonable prices. Apart from this, the GST on agro chemicals should be reduced to either 5% or be eliminated completely so that companies like Dhanuka can pass on the benefits to the farmers.”
Overall, the agriculture sector in India is facing several challenges, but with the right policies and investments, it has the potential to become a major contributor to the country’s economy. The upcoming budget session is an opportunity for the government to take further steps to boost the agriculture sector and improve the livelihoods of farmers across the country.