In India during the time of Independence agriculture was in deplorable condition. Agriculture was practiced on traditional lines in which there was very little use of improved seeds, chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and farm machineries. Fields were small and scattered and irrigational facilities were limited.
The agriculture was of subsistent type with predominance of food crops. With the loss of sizeable area of wheat (30%), rice (28.1 %), Jute (76.6%), and cotton (26.6%) to then Pakistan after partition the condition worsened and the country had to import good grains from abroad. Because augmenting the production of food grains was our compulsion the highest priority was given to the agricultural development in the First Five Year Plan. Between 1950-51 and 1996-97 there has been phenomenal increase in the agricultural production as a result of which we are not only self-sufficient in the matter of food grains but have been able to build a sizeable buffer stock to be utilised during the crisis and generate some surplus for export to neighbouring countries.
During 1950-51 and 1995-56 there has been 3.6 times increase (264.13%) it food grains production. In 1950-51 the food grains production was only 50.52 million tones which increased to 108.4milliontonnesin 1970-71,129.6million tones in 1980-81; 176.4 million tons in 1990-91 and a peak of 191.5 million tons in 1994-95. This was due to the impact of green revolution.
The present target of 240 million tones seems difficult to be achieved although it is expected to reach 200 million tones. However, the growth in food-grains production was not smooth. It was characterised by the wide fluctuations such as in 1965-67, 1972-73, and 1991- 92 and 1995-96 mainly due to erratic weather conditions. While there has been appreciable increase in the production of cereals (4.05 times or 305.23% during 1950-51 and 1995-96) the production of pulses has witnessed marginal increase (1.57 times or 56.83%).
Similarly the rate of increase has been 10.35 times or935% in case of potato, 4.95 times or 396% in case of sugarcane, 4.35 times or 334.7% in case of oil seeds, 4.31 times or 330.6% in case of cotton and 2.7 times or 168.9% in case of jute and Mesta. Here an attempt has been made to examine the development of Indian agriculture during the five year plans.