Basic National Conditions and Agricultural Development in India
release time:2020-06-12 20:50 source:Shanghai Coorperation Organization Countries Regional Agricultural Cooperation Network
  • Basic National Conditions

India, located in the subcontinent of South Asia, covering an area of 2.98 million square kilometers, is the largest country in South Asia. The population of India is 1.324 billion (2019), 50.4 people/km2 (2017). The Indian economy is dominated by farming, modern agriculture, handicrafts, modern industry and its supporting industries.

The total area of India is 32,872,600 hectares, and the agricultural land area is 17,796,500 hectares. The population is about 1.205625 billion, the agricultural population is 832.723 million, the agricultural labor force is 266.5609 million, the per capita cultivated land is 0.149 hectares (2.24 mu), and the agricultural population accounts for 69.07% of the total population. Among the existing 143.8 million hectares of arable land in India, dry land accounts for approximately 73.5% of the total arable land. Water stress and soil stress are two serious problem of India agricultural. In the western desert area, the annual rainfall is only 100-400mm. Even if the rainfall is normal, the crop production is still severely restricted by insufficient water. The problem is more serious when the precipitation is less. Precipitation in India is unevenly distributed and the rate of change in precipitation is large. In the dry land in the north and the Degan Plateau in the south, if the precipitation is less than 20% of the average annual precipitation, drought will occur; if it is less than 30% the average annual precipitation, it will seriously reduce food production. And the situation than the precipitation is less than 20%-30% happens every 3-5 years, so the droughts are frequent. Soil stress in the arid regions of India is also quite serious. Statistics show that in India's 329 million hectares of land, 175 million hectares have suffered different types of erosion or land degradation, most of which are in arid and semi-arid areas.

  • Agricultural Producion

India is one of the largest food producers in the world. Rural population accounts for 72% of the total population, and 58% of rural population makes living in agriculture. The output of India agriculture accounts for 20.4% of its GDP. In recent years, the annual increase of India's agricultural output value is about 3%. In 2017-2018 crop year, India’s grain output reached 277 million tons, a record high, and fruit output was 305 million tons, ranking second in the world. The main cash crops in India are rice, coarse grains, beans, oilseeds, sugar cane and cotton. In 2017-2018 crop year, the output of rice was 94.5 million tons, coarse grains was 31.5 million tons, beans was 8.7 million tons, oilseeds was 20.7 million tons, sugar was 337.7 million tons and cotton was 32.3 million bales. Except for sugar, the output of other major crops has declined to a certain extent compared to 2017.

  • Agricultural Technology

Indian agriculture implements a strategy of developing high-yielding varieties, combining water, fertilizer, pesticides and other agricultural technologies to develop modern agriculture, that is, the "green revolution". Meanwhile, the country further improves the agricultural science and technology extension system combining production, education and research, guides farmers to apply chemical fertilizers scientifically, spreads advanced irrigation methods such as drip irrigation to farmers, and promotes agricultural development. By the beginning of this century in 2004, the second "green revolution" was launched. The second “green revolution” increased agriculture’s connection with science, technology and industry, reduced agriculture’s depending on nature. Among the agricultural technologies in India, rain storing for dry farming technologies is representative. Rain storing agricultural technology is a very important part of India’s dry farming agricultural technology, it mainly adopts three forms in area with low rainfall. The first form is to uses water storage tanks to collect field rainfall, 16%-26% of the total rainfall can be collected in a good year of precipitation, as a supplementary irrigation water source. The second is the use of field rain storing, that is, to stabilize crop yield by storing rain from the flat land or water catchment area around the field. The specific method is to divide the cultivated land into different strips. On flat ground, the strips are divided according to the direction of cultivation; on the slopes, the strips are divided according to contour lines. The strips are divided into planting strips and non-planting strips, and the two area are arranged alternately. The non-planting strips are catchment area, which is inclined to the planting strips. The third way is to develop micro-catchment area, where the planting area is a ditch and the water catchment area is a ridge, which are inclined to the ditch in a single row, similar to the ditch and ridge planting in China, except that the crops are planted in the ditch, not on the ridge. According to field experiments, water collection in the field can improve the soil moisture status, reduce the risk of crop failure in drought years, steadily increase crop yields, and improve crop water and nutrient use efficiency.

India has provided sufficient investment in seed technology research, and a large number of scientific research teams have collaborated to create a series of new crop varieties that have created profits for Indian growers. Most of the new plant varieties in India come from the private sector, and the private seed industry is more competitive and more productive. India is actively involved in biotechnology research. In 2003, the area of genetically modified crops in India was only 100,000 hectares, and by 2010 it had increased dramatically to 9.4 million hectares. With regard to the research and development of horticultural crop technology, India established the “National Horticultural Committee” in 2005 to stimulate horticultural crop production. The main measures include scientific research support, improvement of production technology, improvement of management, marketing, encouragement of exports, and enhancement of added value of products. In terms of vegetable technical services, the implementation of the All India Vegetable Coordinated Reconstruction Project has prompted the cultivation of 45 hybrid varieties of vegetables. In the field of fruit technology services, India attaches importance to the research and promotion of high-density planting technology. At present, high-density cultivation techniques for bananas, pineapples, guava, papayas, mangoes, and cashews have been standardized and adopted by fruit farmers. In the area of high-tech horticultural research and development, it covers a variety of intervening measures, such as micro-irrigation, drip fertilization, protection and greenhouse cultivation, fertilizer and water management techniques for soil and leaf nutrients, and has established 17 precision agriculture development centers in different regions of the country.

Future technology needs will mainly focus on germplasm resources cooperation, make full use of the germplasm resources of the two countries, and strengthen cooperative research on the cultivation of new varieties of wheat, rice, oilseeds, sugarcane, etc. China can export excellent varieties of Chinese grain, cotton, oil, sugar and other products to India, and promote technical cooperation in cultivation management, strengthen technical exchanges on cultivation technique of major crops, pest control, etc., improve the technical level of integrated agricultural production management and green tea production efficiency in India, promote water storing irrigation equipment and technical cooperation, mainly including the reconstruction and construction of small water conservancy facilities in farmland and the exchange and cooperation of drip irrigation technology and equipment.

  • Agricultural Policies

India’s agricultural policies has mainly gone through four stages: ① the stage of transforming the rural production relationship (1947-1965): the government has vigorously reclaimed wasteland, expanded planting area, and achieved a substantial increase in crop output through system reform. ② the stage of supporting the “green revolution” (1966-1990): through the promotion of high-yield and excellent varieties, expansion of irrigation area, and development of agricultural machinery and other measures, the India government promotes the modernization and intensive development of agriculture, and achieve stable and high yields of crops, especially grain. ③ the stage of promoting market reform (1991-2005): the government makes more use of the price mechanism to stimulate agricultural production, gradually reduce preferential loans to agriculture, and gradually reduce subsidies to agricultural inputs, etc. ④ the stage of supporting the second “green revolution” (after 2006): promote the overall development of agricultural department, focusing more on the improvement of farmer’s economic conditions and the rural development, rather than agricultural production. The point is to give farmers the right to access assets, provide farmers with broader service support, and formulate appropriate price and risk management measures. The pattern of agricultural subsidies in India includes: ① price supporting policy of agricultural products. The government's financial subsidies for agricultural products are gradually increasing, and the number of subsidies has increased about 22 times in 20 years. ② agricultural input subsidy policy. The government begins to increase subsidies for the construction and management of agricultural irrigation facilities. Subsidies for beans, cotton, rice, corn seeds and crop insurance schemes have grown rapidly in recent years, and price subsidies are given to irrigation, electricity and agricultural machinery. The government also provides preferential interest on agricultural loans and even exempts loan repayment, thereby directly reducing the physical and chemical costs of agricultural production. Since the beginning of the 21st century, India has continuously increased its support for agricultural inputs, from the initial 421.30 billion rupees to 1976.32 billion rupees in 2016, an average annual increase of 10.1%. Among them, fertilizer subsidies are the largest agricultural input subsidy program, followed by electricity and irrigation subsidies. ③ General service supporting policy. The support of Indian policies for irrigation, roads and other infrastructure has reduced the economic burden of farmers in the process of agricultural production to a considerable extent, increased the enthusiasm of farmers in agricultural production, and ensured the smooth progress of agricultural production. In terms of border trade policy, except for agricultural products that cannot be produced locally, India still applies tariff or non-tariff barriers to the import of other agricultural products. India generally sets the bound tariff rate at the upper limit of 100% to 300%, and stipulates the scope of tariff restrictions for the import of some important agricultural products.