Even as more than half of India’s population is dependent on agriculture, Indian farm exports are declining every year due to various reasons. Comment. Suggest measures for India to take advantage of its wide climate and soil variations to better position itself for increased exports.

Even as more than half of India’s population is dependent on agriculture, Indian farm exports are declining every year due to various reasons. Comment. Suggest measures for India to take advantage of its wide climate and soil variations to better position itself for increased exports.

Approach

  • Introduce with agriculture in India and decline in agriculture exports
  • Highlight reasons for decline in exports
  • Discuss how India can boost agriculture to better position for exports
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Around 60–70%% of Indian population directly or indirectly depends upon Agriculture sector and the sector currently contributes to 16–17% of the GDP. India is a net exporter in agriculture products and governments have been taking measures to promote more exports. However, India’s agricultural exports have declined to $33.87 billion in 2016-17 from $43.23 billion in 2013-14.

Export and import of agricultural products depend on various factors such as availability, international and domestic demand and supply situation and quality concerns. Some of the causes for decline in exports include:

  • Weak global prices which have the export of our major agriculture commodities uncompetitive.
  • Significant fall in exports of our marine products, buffalo meat, rice including basmati which have been top contributors in exports basket.
  • Domestic prices of three major agri commodities in India – wheat, soya meal and maize – have remained higher than international market in the last 18 months, which restricted the prospects of Indian commodity exports in the international market.
  • Exports of some commodities like spices has faced with several quality related issues, such as adulteration in jeera and chilli.

India has largest arable land acreage and a wide variety of agro-climatic conditions which can be leveraged to make India the growth engine and food provider to the world. Some of the measures that can be taken include:

  • Productivity – of our farmers, which is much below global average, must be raised by providing farmers with good variety of seeds, irrigation and helping them choose crops pertinent to local climate.
  • Value addition – Food processing industry (FPI) must be given boost, as currently only 6% of our food is processed.
  • Extension services – On soil health, use of fertilizers, veterinary services, crop varieties, dryland farming etc must be provided.
  • Technology – Sensors to monitor soil, weather and crop conditions, Hydrology survey, pest management, precision farming etc, Animal biometric collars, Kisan Suvidha App, SmartAgri, ‘AgriMarket’ etc
  • Land reforms – Problem of small land holding must be solved by cooperative farming or land consolidation facilitated by contract farming, feeding to FPI and improvement in supply chain.
  • Other measures could include massive awareness campaigns for best agricultural practices, greater capital investments and developing export infrastructure etc.

Agriculture exports are important for boosting farmers’ income and government of India has been implementing a number of measures and incentives for promoting the their exports, including financial assistance from APEDA and incentives under Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS).

Subjects : Editorials

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