Farmers ride on a cart loaded with grass in a village on the outskirts of Jalandhar, Punjab on January 31, 2023. According to the economic survey, the performance of agriculture and related sector has been buoyant over the past years due to measures taken by Center to increase crop and livestock productivity | Photo credit: AFP
The economic study noted that the country’s agricultural sector grew by 3% in 2021-22, which is lower than an average growth of 4.6% over the past six years. In 2020-21, the growth of this sector was 3.3%. In 2016-17, the growth rate was 6.8%, followed by 6.6% in 2017-18, 2.1% in 2018-19 and 5.5% in 2019-20. The survey indicates that private investment in agriculture increased to 9.3% in 2020-21. Public investment, however, remained at 4.3%, the same as in 2019-20. In 2011-12, public investment in agriculture was 5.4%.
The survey, tabled in both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday, said the performance of the agricultural and related sectors had been buoyant in recent years due to measures taken by the Center to increase the productivity of crops and agriculture. livestock, ensure the certainty of farmers’ yields through price support, promote crop diversification, improve market infrastructure through the impetus given to the creation of producer organizations and the promotion of investment in infrastructure through the Agricultural Infrastructure Fund. The survey also praised programs such as the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi to help farmers.
The survey indicates that the country has quickly become the net exporter of agricultural products. “In 2020-2021, exports of agricultural and related products from India increased by 18% compared to the previous year. In 2021-22, agricultural exports hit a record high of US$50.2 billion,” the survey says.
The survey indicated that there was a sustained increase in the production of food grains in the country, but expressed concern about climatic issues which have impacted agriculture. “According to the fourth advance estimates for 2021-2022, the production of food grains and oilseeds has increased year on year. Production of pulses has also been significantly above the average of 23.8 million tonnes over the past five years,” the survey says, adding that climate change has had a negative impact on agriculture.
“The year 2022 was marked by an early heat wave during the wheat harvesting season, negatively affecting its production. The year also saw a drop in the area sown for paddy cultivation during the Kharif season in due to delayed monsoons and insufficient rainfall,” he noted.
The survey concluded that the performance of the agricultural sector remains essential for growth and employment in the country. “Investment in the sector must be encouraged through an affordable, timely and inclusive approach to credit provision,” he said. The focus on the horticultural sector and the push into related activities has diversified farmers’ incomes, making them more resilient to climatic shocks, the survey found.
“A greater focus on the development of the food processing sector can reduce waste/loss and increase storage time, ensuring better prices for farmers,” he added.