India leads the world in groundnut production. She enjoys monopoly in tea production in the world. India ranks as the second largest producer in the world in respect of jute, sugar, rice, rape seed, cotton, scsamum.
It stands at third place in the production of millets in the world. India’s ranking in the production of above crop is entirely on account of acreage devoted to that particular crop in the country. As regards per acre yield of crops, India lags far behind. The per acre yields are further lessened in case of drought conditions in a particular year.
The following figures present a dismal picture of India’s per acre yields:
Causes of Low Productivity
The following are the major causes of backwardness of Indian agriculture: 1. Small farms and fragmentation of Landholdings: The population in India is increasing at a faster rate. Land resources are limited, thus per capita availability of land had come down to 0.16 h.a. in 1991. It shall be further less in the times to come.
From 0.75 h.a. in 1951 per capita land availability has been reduced to 0.16 which gives a very poor show of Indian agriculture. The land holdings get reduced on account of inheritance laws. Thus small land holdings are uneconomical.
Small fragmented holdings discourage use of machines; digging of tube wells etc. and ultimately tells upon the economy of a farmer and his dependents’ welfare due to poor farm produce.
3. Lack of facilities of Irrigation:
It is very well understandable that Indian agriculture depends upon the mercy of monsoon. The higher percentage of 63% cropped area is dependent on rain and only 37% of the cropped area gets irrigated by means of different sources which speaks of dependency of Indian farmer on rains. Thus due to lack of assured means of irrigation agricultural productivity gets a great set back.
4. Soil Erosion:
Soil erosion has become a burning problem in the country. It is a menace frequent in every state of India. Nearly 80 million h.a. of India’s land is affected by this phenomenon. De-forestation, faulty methods of farming, over grazing, forest fires etc. has rendered land unfit for agriculture and this has adversely affected per h.a. yield of the crops.
4. Faulty drainage has been caused due to construction of roads, embankments, canals and railways. It has resulted in disturbance in natural drainage by checking normal flow of rain water and results in floods and loss to standing crops.
5. Marginal and submarginal lands, which are being put to cultivation due to pressure of population, being infertile, results in low productivity.
6. Agricultural land is shrinking under the impact of urbanization, thus taking a heavy toll of land for construction of means of transport, settlements, recreational facilities etc. As such agricultural productivity has suffered.
7. With the depletion of forest wealth, scarcity of fuel is felt in the rural areas particularly, with the result cow dung which ought to have been used as manure for increasing soil fertility is burnt as fuel. Thus, it gives set back to agricultural productivity.
8. Poor, illiterate farmers are unable to afford and understand working of expensive modern farm machines as such continue farming with old traditional, crude farm implements which are obsolete and result in low yields
9. Small marginal farmers being poor can ill afford expensive farm inputs like improved high yielding variety seeds, pesticides, fertilizers etc. Thus by using inferior seeds the farmers reap poor yields.
10. A farmer’s poverty, illiteracy, fatalist nature are the basis of his poor economic condition. A poor farmer is charged high rate of interest by the village money lender against his land mortgaged in his name very often the farmer is unable to pay the debt thus loses his land to the money lender. In this way, productivity in agriculture is lessened because the money lender is not a farmer by occupation.
11. Indian agriculture suffers from lack of organizational skill, vagaries of monsoon, unpredictable weather, fluctuating crop prices, obsolete and crude methods of agriculture, lack of storage facilities, lack of marketing facilities, remunerative price and making least use of extension service provided by the government and research done in soil, agronomy and animal husbandry in the agricultural universities.
All these reasons affected agricultural productivity in India.