India Agriculture

India Agriculture and Breeding

Development and growth Indian economic history was marked for a long time by the unequal exchange relationship established between the India and Great Britain starting from the colonial age, and consequently from significant imbalances and a poor correspondence to the needs of the territorial reality of the country. The five-year development plans drawn up after independence, also for rebalancing purposes, were characterized by the provision of extensive state interventions both directed and controlled by the private sector. In the first three five-year plans (1951-66) the emphasis was placed on social reforms, the setting up of a basic industrial sector and the improvement of agriculture. The proposed objectives (doubling per capita income for 1971-72) were only partially achieved due to the agricultural emergencies of 1966 and 1967, which produced a more general economic and political crisis. It was therefore necessary to concentrate interventions in some fundamental sectors and in the most favorable areas, which accentuated the regional imbalances, but produced notable progress, albeit at the cost of an increased incidence of foreign capital and technologies. In the 1970s, the war with Pakistan for the independence of Bangladesh, new agricultural (1973-74 and 1975-76) and meteorological crises, the deterioration of the world economy and the continuing political uncertainty (with repercussions on international relations: for example., the suspension of US aid in 1971) held back the development process. With the 1975-79 five-year plan, the focus was on intensification of production rather than on improving socio-cultural conditions, land reform carried out in the countryside in favor of the poorer classes. The subsequent 1980-85 plan instead set the goal of improving the standard of living in rural areas, allocating resources to social services, alongside the strengthening of energy production, communications and the secondary sector. Subsequently, alongside the interventions aimed at rebalancing the internal social framework and limiting demographic growth, the increase in private investments in the production field was favored. The weight of foreign capital emerges in investments (especially in the form of joint ventures) and state, with highly concentrated interventions from the point of view of location and corporate structure; The cost of labor, which on average can be estimated at about one fifth of the cost of labor in advanced countries, attracts investment in the first place. For at least twenty years, industrialization has recorded average growth rates of just under 10% per year, with increasing use of capital and decreasing labor. The resulting increase in wealth is beyond question, although the industry appears disconnected from the food demand and agricultural reality of the majority of the population: in fact, the production of consumer goods is destined for the foreign market, to the 80-100 million Indians endowed with an income comparable to that of the West and to as many citizens with an income in any case significantly above the average; the presence of this internal market (modest in percentage terms, very significant in absolute terms) has guaranteed the location of industrial production and the creation of economies of scale. Employment growth in the secondary sector is modest overall, and has had little impact on the rise in lower incomes, confirming the low purchasing power of a large part of the population, as is clear from the fact that over a third of the Indian population has less than a dollar a day, and that the domestic product per capita (at purchasing power parity) is still barely around 2700 dollars per year.

Agricultural activities

The basis of the Indian economy remains agriculture, which however now participates for less than 18% of the domestic product, while it still employs about 60% of the active population, whose productivity per employee remains very low: it has been calculated that the wealth produced from the approximately 600 million Indians who live off agriculture is equivalent to the wealth produced by the approximately 1.5 million fellow citizens involved in the information technology sector. Agricultural organization and irrigation in particular have established themselves in the country, eliminating its food vulnerability, also thanks to the introduction of particularly productive crop varieties and the increasingly widespread use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; moreover, the result is a consistent dependence of farmers on the market and the monetary circuit and, in another sense, a sudden increase in the pollution levels of soils and water strata, with particularly evident repercussions in delta areas and in general in low courses of rivers. In the field of irrigation, great barrage works have been carried out, especially at the foot of the Himalayas and in the Ghats: among others, the gigantic dam of Bhakra-Nangal, on the Sutlej, the plants of the Damodar valley, the Hirakud barrage, on the Mahanadi, and the Ramganga-Kosi complex, in Uttar Pradesh. The large estates are still extensive, despite subsequent land reforms, which are matched by a very strong splitting of the small property; agricultural wages are very low and peasants are generally forced into heavy debt. The availability of energy, thanks to the hydroelectric plants connected with the dam works, has allowed the diffusion of mechanical pumping of water from deep wells and the electrification of the villages. Approximately one third of the country’s surface is reached by adequate irrigation works, with peaks in Punjab. There are two crop cycles, one summer, or kharif, which generally involves cereals (excluding wheat), cotton, jute, peanuts, and one winter, or rabi (wheat and barley, legumes, oil plants, especially sesame); the possibility of alternating the two cycles on the same field depends on the irrigation conditions and the availability of fertilizers. In the northern states, where winter temperatures allow it, wheat and legumes in rabi cultivation prevail, associated with summer crops of cotton, millet and, in the middle Ganges valley, also with rice. The western regions and the more arid inland plateaus are mainly cultivated with millet, alternating, depending on the type of soil, with sorghum, peanuts and cotton. Finally, in the wetter regions, rice dominates, in exclusive or associated cultivation, in the Deccan, with coconut, tea, coffee and rubber plantations, and in Bengal with jute: it is the most widespread cereal (about 43 million ha, followed from wheat, with about 26 million ha); in the more humid regions (Kerala), up to three harvests can be obtained in one year.¬†For India 2010, please check

Both rice and especially wheat, through appropriately selected varieties, have achieved very high productivity. The third grain is millet, a typical crop of poor and dry soils, whose cultivation is however shrinking. The production of corn, sorghum, potatoes and sweet potatoes, legumes and, above all, oilseeds is on the rise. Sugar cane has reached great diffusion, which from the middle valley of the Ganges has spread, thanks to irrigation, in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (over 3.7 million ha); the product partly feeds the numerous sugar factories (14 million t of sugar) and partly is fermented (gur). In the south, the production of bananas and coconuts (fiber and copra) is important. The area devoted to cotton has decreased, but production has nevertheless greatly increased and improved. Other relevant traditional productions are that of tea, widespread in Assam, West Bengal and in the Chennai area; coffee, in the south of the country; and then spices, tobacco, cocoa rubber.

Farming and fishing

Cattle breeding is very consistent (185 million head), but not well cared for and profitable; strong presence of buffaloes (98 million), more resistant to work in the rice fields, and of sheep and goats (182 million), mostly reared in the Muslim regions of the NO for skins, meat, milk and wool (precious that of Kashmir). Fishing is active only locally, but involves a substantial product (approximately 6.3 million tonnes). Forests cover about 23% of the territory; the timber (almost 328 million m 3), mainly valuable, is largely exported.

India Agriculture