By Arunav Goel for NeemTree Agro Solutions
In his address to the nation on 12th May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted that
the biggest lesson from the Covid-19 pandemic was for India to be self-reliant and
self-sufficient which is necessary for the country in case it faces a similar crisis in future again.
He emphasized on the need to become vocal for our local products and make them
global. The government has recently brought in extensive reforms in many sectors
including the agricultural sector hoping to incline the Indian economy towards growth.
For India to be truly self-reliant, it needs to give immense support to the rural livelihoods
involved in agriculture, animal husbandry, fishery, etc.
Empowered and supported rural communities hold the potential to overcome any crisis
in the future. We have various examples from the current pandemic to show how helpful
a self-reliant group can be to fight against such emergencies. For instance, we have
Mrs. Kaveri, from a small district called Medak in Telangana who grows 40 different
varieties of organic crops om her rainfed plot and has enough food to survive the
lockdown. She along with many others like her were able to collect and contribute
20,000 kg of foodgrains to her village’s Covid-19 relief fund.
The agricultural produce of not just various crops like wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton but
also other products like milk has been constantly increasing every year, with India being
the highest producer and exporter of many of these in the world.
Yet the contribution of agriculture to the Indian GDP has continuously declined from
more than 50% in the 1950s to 15-17% after 2015. These numbers might seem bad for
India, but actually they are a sign of India’s path on development. This trend is similar to
that observed in developed countries. India’s agricultural productivity in this sector has
increased from 20.5 Bn USD to 150+ Bn USD between 1950 and 2016 and the
value-added per workforce in the agriculture sector has increased in the last 60 years:
by a factor of 3.
Agricultural produce in India is also a significant contributor to the supply of raw
materials to various important industries around the country. About 50% of the income
generated in the manufacturing sector comes from all these agro-based industries in
India and agriculture provides a market for industrial products as an increase in the
agricultural income leads to expansion of the market for industrial products.
Indian agriculture also plays a very important role in the export sector, contributing
directly to 50% of our total exports in products like tea, coffee, spices, etc, and
contributing another 20% indirectly through the export of products manufactured from
the agricultural raw materials.
The agriculture sector in India today holds the potential to be revolutionized completely
through the intervention of the latest technological advancements making it more
productive, resource-efficient, and profitable for the farmers and rightly so, to cater to
the growing demands for the products. Every advancement in this sector is going to
boost the economic advancements in the country too.
Agriculture in India is more inclined towards the production of food crops like wheat,
maize, rice, and compared to food crops the production of cash crops like cotton, jute is
Some of the innovative methods of farming that can be adopted and promoted are:
- Undertaking precision agriculture; that is the use of advanced analytical
capabilities and the use of ariel imagery, sensors, accurate weather forecasts, or
all together intelligent robotics for improved results.
- Wider association of AI in farming practices like functional driverless tractor
technology, using robots for precise sowing and harvesting of crops.
- Try genetic surgeries to engineer crops that require less water, produce more
food, and are resilient to changing weather conditions.
- Provide support to beekeepers since the bees play an important economic role
as pollinators helping sustain agricultural production but also look for alternative
methods to reduce the load on bees like usage of drones for pollination.
- Vertical and Roof-top farming in urban environments have come up as
alternatives to traditional farming methods with better space efficiency and
- Production of cash crops like cotton, jute, coffee should be escalated to gain
benefits from the profits made through these crops.
- Digitalization of agriculture as being done by some upcoming start-ups like ours
where we provide a platform for the farmers to receive the best advice on farming
procedures based on data analytics and AI models.
The above steps are going to generate numerous job opportunities not just in the
agricultural sector but in other sectors like IT as well.
Hence, an expansion and evolution of the agricultural sector is directly going to
strengthen the Indian economy and pave the way for India’s journey to be a self-reliant
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