India is an agricultural country not so much because agriculture gives more income than other activities but because this sector still provides livelihood to nearly 60% of our people and contribute about 20% of the gross domestic product.
It also ensures fold security for the country and produces several row materials for industries.
Therefore the prosperity of the country is also linked with agriculture. However, all lands are not suitable for cultivation and raising crops a number requirement are needed such as land must be level, covered with fertile soils and have adequate rainfall and favorable temperature. Apart from this agricultural productivity also depends on the technology available, tenure, and size of the holdings, government policies and several other infrastructural factors.
To ensure a better life for women and men engaged in agriculture, it is necessary to double the growth rate achieved in 10thplan and put agriculture on a growth path of around 4%. To do this and at the same time maintain prices and profitability, a corresponding increase in demand for agricultural output matched with the supply side response based on productivity improvements is also required. So, the Eleventh Plan strategy to raise agricultural output is based on some strategic elements such as-
(i) Doubling the rate of growth of irrigated areas.
(ii) Improving water management, rain water harvesting and watershed development.
(iii) Reclaiming degraded land and focus on soil quality.
(iv) Diversifying the agricultural outputs such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, spices, medicinal plants, bamboo, bio diesels etc.
(v) Also taking adequate measures to ensure food security.
(vi) Promoting animal husbandry and fishery.
(vii) Providing easy access to credit at affordable rates.
(viii) Improving the incentive structure and functioning of markets.
(ix) Refocusing on land reforms issues.