Principal crops of India and problems with Indian agriculture

From Biodiversity of India
Jump to: navigation, search

Principal crops of India

According to the Indian Statistical Report, 2011 [1], the following are the principal crops of India*.

Crop Crop group State with the highest area under cultivation (till 2008-09) Area (in thousand hectares) State with highest production Yield (in thousand tonnes) Second highest yield
Rice Cereals Uttar Pradesh 6034 West Bengal 15037 13097 (UP)
Jowar Cereals Maharashtra 4071 Maharashtra 3587 1629 (KN)
Bajra Cereals Rajasthan 5175 Rajasthan 4283 1302 (UP)
Maize Cereals Karnataka 5175 Andhra Pradesh 4152 3029 (KN)
Ragi Cereals Karnataka 841 Karnataka 1394 193 (UK)
Small millets Cereals Madhya Pradesh 307 Uttarakhand 89 89 (MP)
Wheat Cereals Uttar Pradesh 9513 Uttar Pradesh 28554 15733 (PJ)
Barley Cereals Rajasthan 287 Rajasthan 878 276 (UP)
Gram Pulses Madhya Pradesh 2841 Madhya Pradesh 2786 981 (RJ)
Tur Pulses Maharashtra 1009 Maharashtra 605 315 (KN)
Other Pulses Pulses Rajasthan 2394 Uttar Pradesh 1148 830 (RJ)
Groundnut Oilseed Gujarat 1907 Gujarat 2661 1554 (AP)
Sesamum Oilseed Rajasthan 521 Rajasthan 153 133 (WB)
Rapeseed and mustard Oilseed Rajasthan 2388 Rajasthan 3806 874 (UP)
Linseed Oilseed Madhya Pradesh 126 Madhya Pradesh 48 27 (UK)
Castor Oilseed Gujarat 434 Gujarat 852 159 (RJ)
Cotton Others Maharashtra 3107 Gujarat 8787 (000 bales) 4618 (GJ)
Jute Others West Bengal 596 West Bengal 8412 (000 bales) 1253 (BH)
Mesta Others Andhra Pradesh 62 Andhra Pradesh 544 (000 bales) 137 (BH)
Sugarcane Others Maharashtra 761 Uttar Pradesh 109048 60648 (MH)

* Absence of data may contribute to all comparisons. Although other crops such as Tea, Coffee, Natural rubber, Tobacco, Potato, Black pepper, Chillies, Ginger, Coconut, Turmeric as mentioned as principal crops in the report, no state-wise information is available for these.

Comparative trends

The following trends show that both the area under cultivation as well as the yields have remained more or less constant over the last ten years. India's population is projected to grow from 1.2 billion today to 1.6 billion by 2050. We certainly need to increase the yields of our principal crops. However, we cannot encroach upon forest land and wildlife habitats for this purpose nor can we start indiscriminate use of fertilizers and water. The only solution is to increase the yield per hectare in India.' We need to

  1. adopt modern agricultural practices,
  2. plug in all wastages and inefficiencies,
  3. use sustainable agricultural practices and
  4. strengthen the storage capabilities and the supply chain
Trends for the principal cereals of India (till 2007-2008)

The following section has been copied from Wikipedia article on Agriculture in India

The following table presents the twenty most important agricultural produce in India, by economic value, in 2009. Included in the table is the average productivity of India's farms for each produce. For context and comparison, included is the average of the most productive farms in the world and name of country where the most productive farms existed in 2010. The table suggests India has large potential for further accomplishments from productivity increases, in increased agricultural output and agricultural incomes.[2][3]

Major crop areas in India
Agriculture in India, largest crops by economic value[4]
Economic value Unit price Average yield, India
World's most productive farms
Rank Produce (2009 prices, US$) (US$ / kilogram) (tons per hectare)[5] (tons per hectare)[6] Country
1 Rice $35.74 billion 0.27 3.3 10.8 Australia
2 Buffalo milk $25.07 billion 0.4 1.7[7] 1.9[7] Pakistan
3 Cow milk $14.09 billion 0.31 1.2[7] 10.3[7] Israel
4 Wheat $12.13 billion 0.15 2.8 8.9 Netherlands
5 Sugar cane $8.61 billion 0.03 66 125 Peru
6 Mangoes $8.12 billion 0.6 6.3 40.6 Cape Verde
7 Bananas $7.60 billion 0.28 37.8 59.3 Indonesia
8 Cotton $5.81 billion 1.43 1.6 4.6 Israel
9 Potatoes $5.31 billion 0.15 19.9 44.3 USA
10 Fresh Vegetables $5.28 billion 0.19 13.4 76.8 USA
11 Tomatoes $4.12 billion 0.37 19.3 524.9 Belgium
12 Buffalo meat $3.84 billion 2.69 0.138[7] 0.424[7] Thailand
13 Onions $2.92 billion 0.21 16.6 67.3 Ireland
14 Okra $2.90 billion 0.64 10.6 20.2 Cyprus
15 Chick peas $2.83 billion 0.4 0.9 2.8 China
16 Fresh fruits $2.79 billion 0.35 7.6 23.9 Israel
17 Eggs $2.65 billion 0.83 13.8[8] 24.7[8] Jordan
18 Soybean $2.61 billion 0.26 1.1 3.7 Turkey
19 Cattle meat $2.39 billion 2.7 0.1[7] 0.42[7] Japan
20 Groundnuts $2.33 billion 0.42 1.1 5.5 Nicaragua

The Statistics Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization reported that, per final numbers for 2009, India had grown to become the world's largest producer of the following agricultural produce:[9][10]

  • Fruit Fresh
  • Lemons and limes
  • Buffalo milk, whole, fresh
  • Castor oil seed
  • Safflower seed
  • Sorghum
  • Millet
  • Spices
  • Okra
  • Jute
  • Beeswax
  • Bananas
  • Mangoes, mangosteens, guavas
  • Pulses
  • Indigenous Buffalo Meat
  • Fruit, tropical
  • Ginger
  • Chick peas
  • Areca nuts
  • Other Bastfibres
  • Pigeon peas
  • Papayas
  • Chillies and peppers, dry
  • Anise, badian, fennel, corian
  • Goat milk, whole, fresh

Although agriculture in India has shown an increase in average agricultural output per hectare in last 60 years, much more needs to be accomplished to reach the top-ranking countries and ensure our food safety. The table below presents average farm productivity in India over three farming years for some crops. Improving road and power generation infrastructure, knowledge gains and reforms has allowed India to increase farm productivity between 40% to 500% over 40 years.[11] India's recent accomplishments in crop yields while being impressive, are still just 30% to 60% of the best crop yields achievable in the farms of developed as well as other developing countries. Additionally, despite these gains in farm productivity, losses after harvest due to poor infrastructure and unorganized retail cause India to experience some of the highest food losses in the world.

Agriculture productivity in India, growth in average yields from 1970 to 2010
Crop[11] Average YIELD, 1970-1971 Average YIELD, 1990-1991 Average YIELD, 2010–2011
kilogram per hectare kilogram per hectare kilogram per hectare[12]
Rice 1123 1740 2240
Wheat 1307 2281 2938
Pulses 524 578 689
Oilseeds 579 771 1325
Sugarcane 48322 65395 68596
Tea 1182 1652 1669
Cotton 106 225 510

Problems and solutions

Farmers manually harvesting paddy in Kerala

One study suggests Indian agricultural policy should best focus on improving rural infrastructure primarily in form of irrigation and flood control infrastructure, knowledge transfer in forms of better yielding and more disease resistant seeds with the goal of sustainably producing as many kilograms of food staples per hectare as already produced sustainably in other nations. Additionally, cold storage, hygienic food packaging and efficient modern retail to reduce waste can also dramatically improve India’s agricultural output availability and rural incomes.[13]

The low productivity in India is a result of the following factors:

  • The average size of land holdings is very small (less than 2 hectares) and is subject to fragmentation due to land ceiling acts, and in some cases, family disputes. Such small holdings are often over-manned, resulting in disguised unemployment and low productivity of labour. Some reports claim smallholder farming may not be cause of poor productivity, since the productivity is higher in China and many developing economies even though China smallholder farmers constitute over 97 percent of its farming population.[14] Chinese smallholder farmer is able to rent his land to larger farmers, China's organized retail and extensive Chinese highways are able to provide the incentive and infrastructure necessary to its farmers for sharp increases in farm productivity.
  • Adoption of modern agricultural practices and use of technology is inadequate, hampered by ignorance of such practices, high costs and impracticality in the case of small land holdings.
  • According to the World Bank, Indian Branch: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development", India's large w:agricultural subsidies are hampering productivity-enhancing investment. Overregulation of agriculture has increased costs, price risks and uncertainty. Government intervenes in labour, land, and credit markets. India has inadequate infrastructure and services.[15] World Bank also says that the allocation of water is inefficient, unsustainable and inequitable. The irrigation infrastructure is deteriorating.[15] The overuse of water is currently being covered by over pumping aquifers, but as these are falling by foot of groundwater each year, this is a limited resource.[16]
  • Illiteracy, general socio-economic backwardness, slow progress in implementing land reforms and inadequate or inefficient finance and marketing services for farm produce.
  • Inconsistent government policy. Agricultural subsidies and taxes often changed without notice for short term political ends.
  • Irrigation facilities are inadequate, as revealed by the fact that only 52.6% of the land was irrigated in 2003–04,[17] which result in farmers still being dependent on rainfall, specifically the Monsoon season. A good monsoon results in a robust growth for the economy as a whole, while a poor monsoon leads to a sluggish growth.[18] Farm credit is regulated by NABARD, which is the statutory apex agent for rural development in the subcontinent. At the same time overpumping made possible by subsidized electric power is leading to an alarming drop in aquifer levels.[19][20][21]
  • A third of all food that is produced rots due to inefficient supply chains and the use of the "Walmart model" to improve efficiency is blocked by laws against foreign investment in the retail sector.[22]

Additional media

What plagues Indian agriculture Problems of small scare-farmers Organic farming in India


  1. ^ Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, India (Table 8.2 - Area under Principal Crops)
  2. ^ a b "FAOSTAT: Production-Crops, 2010 data". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2011. 
  3. ^ Adam Cagliarini and Anthony Rush (June Quarter, 2011). "Bulletin: Economic Development and Agriculture in India". Reserve Bank of Australia. p. 15-22. 
  4. ^ "Top Production India: 2009". FAOSTAT, The United Nations. 2009. 
  5. ^ The numbers in this column are India's average, metric tons per hectare per year; regional farm productivity within India varies. For milk and other produce, productivity is on per livestock animal basis.
  6. ^ The numbers in this column are country average; regional farm productivity within the most productive country varies, with some farms even higher.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Tons output per year per livestock animal
  8. ^ a b The unit is 100Mg per hen
  9. ^ "Country Rank in the World, by commodity". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2011. 
  10. ^ These are food and agriculture classification groups. For definition with list of botanical species covered under each classification, consult FAOSTAT of the United Nations; Link:
  11. ^ a b "Handbook of Statistics on Indian Economy". Reserve Bank of India: India's Central Bank. 2011. 
  12. ^ Data checks suggest there is difference between FAO's statistics office and Reserve Bank of India estimates; these differences are small, and may be because of the fiscal year start months.
  13. ^ Mahadevan, Renuka (December 2003). "PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH IN INDIAN AGRICULTURE: THE ROLE OF GLOBALIZATION AND ECONOMIC REFORM". Asia-Pacific Development Journal 10 (2): 57–72. 
  14. ^ "Rapid growth of select Asian economies". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2006. 
  15. ^ a b "India: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development". World Bank.,,contentMDK:20273764~menuPK:548214~pagePK:34004173~piPK:34003707~theSitePK:452766,00.html. 
  16. ^ Biello, David (2009-11-11). "Is Northwestern India's Breadbasket Running Out of Water?". Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  17. ^ Multiple authors (2004). Agricultural Statistics at a Glance 2004.,%20Production%20and%20Yield%20of%20Rice.xls. 
  18. ^ Sankaran, S. "28". Indian Economy: Problems, Policies and Development. pp. 492–493. 
  19. ^ "Satellites Unlock Secret To Northern India's Vanishing Water". 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  20. ^ "Columbia Conference on Water Security in India" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  21. ^ Keepers of the spring: reclaiming our water in an age of globalization, By Fred Pearce, page 77. Retrieved 2011-09-17. 
  22. ^ Zakaria, Fareed. "Zakaria: Is India the broken BRIC?" CNN, 21 December 2011.


blog comments powered by Disqus

More notes like this

Page titleAuthorTopicSpecies group, if anyState discussed, if any
Wolf in Indian cultureGaurav MogheMythology and religionMammalsPan-India
Why the Ketaki flower was cursed by godsGaurav MogheMythological storiesPlantsPan-India
Why Lord Ganesha has a mouse as his vehicleGaurav MogheMythology and religionMammalsPan-India
Warli tribe and their tribal artGaurav MogheTribal mythologyNot notedPan-India
Varaha (boar) avatar of VishnuGaurav MogheMythological storiesMammalsPan-India
Uses of Neem plantWikipediaUses of biodiversityPlantsPan-India
Uses of Henna plantGaurav MogheUses of biodiversityPlantsPan-India
Tulsi plant in Indian cultureGaurav MogheMythology and religionPlantsPan-India
The Soliga tribe of Karnataka and its intimate relationship with natureGaurav MogheIndigenous practicesNot notedKarnataka
The Asiatic Lion in Indian cultureGaurav MogheMythology and religionMammalsPan-India
Serpents in Indian cultureGaurav MogheMythology and religionReptilesPan-India
Satyanarayan pooja and biodiversityGaurav MogheMythology and religionMammalsPan-India
Samudra manthan and the Kurma avatar of VishnuWikipediaMythological storiesNot notedPan-India
Salman Khan and the sacred Blackbuck episodeGaurav MogheIndigenous practicesMammalsRajasthan
Reference libraryCollaborativeReference LibraryNot notedPan-India
… further results

Only 15 articles are shown in this list. A total of 64 articles in the database as of this moment. For the complete list, click on further results on the bottom right corner of the above table.

Semantic tags

Title Principal crops of India and problems with Indian agriculture Article is on this general topic Biodiversity data Author Gaurav Moghe
Specific location(s) where study was conducted Not noted General region where study was conducted Not noted State where study was conducted Pan-India
Institutional affiliation Not noted Institution located at Not noted Institution based around Not noted
Species Group Plants User ID User:Gauravm Page creation date 2012/02/18

Share this page: