The major problems confronting Indian agriculture are those of population pressure, small holdings, depleted soils, lack of modern technology and poor facilities for storage.
(a) Population Pressure:
India has a huge population of over one billion and it is increasing at a very fast rate. According to 2001 census figures the over all density of population is 324 persons per sq. km. This is likely to increase further in future. This has created great demand for land. Every bit of land has been brought under the plough. Even the hill slopes have been cut into terraces for cultivation.
(b) Small and Fragmented Land Holdings:
The pressure of increasing population and the practice of dividing land equally among the heirs has caused excessive sub divisions of farm holdings. Consequently, the holdings are small and fragmented. The small size of holdings makes farming activity uneconomical and leads to social tension, violence and discontentment.
(c) Inadequate Irrigation Facilities:
By and large the irrigation facilities available in India are far from adequate. So for half of the total area under food crops has been brought under irrigation and the remaining half is left to the mercy of monsoon rains which are erratic in time and space.
(d) Depleted Soils:
Indian soils have been used for growing crops for thousands of years which have resulted in the depletion of soil fertility. With deforestation the sources of maintaining natural fertility of soil has been drying out. Lack of material resources and ignorance of scientific knowledge have further depleted the soils of the natural fertility. Earlier only animal waste was enough to maintain soil fertility.
(e) Storage of food grains:
Storage of food grains is a big problem. Nearly 10 per cent of our harvest goes waste every year in the absence of proper storage facilities. This colossal wastage can be avoided by developing scientific ware-housing facilities. The government has taken several steps to provide storage facilities.
(f) Farm Implements:
Although some mechanisation of farming has taken place in some parts of the country, most of the farmers are poor and do not have enough resources to purchase modern farm implements and tools. This hampers the development of agriculture.