70% of Indian population is dependent on Agriculture for their livelihood.
Around 190 million hectares area in under total gross cropped area, which is
largest in the world. The Indian economy is significantly dependent on
agriculture. It contributes to 27% of total GDP and provides employment to
67% of total workforce of India. Despite this, all has not been well with
Agriculture sector in India. However, the annual growth rate of agriculture
is less than 0.2% per annum. Farmers have been facing several complex
problems such as growing costs, low productivity, lower market prices for
agricultural produce immediately after harvesting season, high interest
rates in rural credit market, spurious seeds and pesticides etc. The farmers
are facing multi layers problem. There are problems at government policy
level, business/market level as well as at village/individual levels.
Therefore, the project tries to address these problems.
The core objective of the Project “To improve the livelihoods of the
farmers, thereby the quality of their life, by creating enabling policy
environment through policy advocacy and by lobbying for support from
national and international organizations.”
The project considers establishing a network and platform, whereby farmers
can raise their issues, concerns, problems, suggestions, recommendation
related to agricultural policies at Central and State level and participate in
policy making are crucial activities for creating enabling policy
environment. Knowing that these farmers have limited resources for
investing in agricultural activities, the project emphasises in lobbying with
national and international level organisation for mobilising support and
resources in terms of cash, kind and services.
The income from agriculture is increased, whereby its livelihoods and
quality of life has improved.
Farmers’ position within the society is improved so that they are able to
get respect in the society for their occupation.
The policy advocacy hub has created a strong platform for farmers to
participate in policy making through suggesting changes, raising their
issues and problems at national level.
Creation of favorable policy environment, which is enabling the inputs
flow in Indian agriculture and improvements in agricultural activities.
The constraints, bottlenecks and gaps in the policies addressed
The farmers are linked with national and international level
organizations and these organizations are supporting them in cash, kind
The main partners in the project are Federation of Farmers Associations
Andhra Pradesh (FFAAP), other state level Federations of Farmers
Associations (FFAs) (existing and planned ones) and local organizations.
FFAAP will be accountable for coordinating and managing the overall
project as well as the Policy Advocacy Hub at national level, whereas other
partners will be the link between Policy Advocacy Hub and the farmers in
the respective states. The other state FFA and local organizations will
interact with farmers, identify their problems, raise these problems at
national level through PAH and mobilize the farmers to interaction with
policy makers, legislators and support organizations.
The total budget of the project is Rs. 1,67,37,320, which will be utilized
in a period of three years. To continue the activities after the project-
funding period, appropriate mechanisms will be evolved for generating
its resources to support the activities. Some of the mechanisms have
been already thought through and given in detail in the project proposal.
India has at its northern boundary, the highest and most extensive mountain
system of the world, the Himalayas, which obstructs the moisture-laden
clouds from the south, causing them to shed copious rain in the Indo-
Gangetic plains, and snowfall in the ranges further north. At its west is the
Arabian Sea, in the east the Bay of Bengal, in the south the Indian Ocean.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep
in the Arabian Sea are parts of India.
The Indian sub-continent has an area of 3.28 million sq. km (329 million
hectares). It is the second largest country in Asia and the seventh in the
world. It measures 3,214 km from north to south and 2,933 km from east to
west, with a total area of 3,287,263 sq. km. The land frontier is 15,200 km
and the coastline is 7,516.5 km. It lies within the latitude of 8 degrees
North in the extreme south and 37 degrees in the North, providing adequate
sunshine throughout the year in most regions.
The rainfall distribution is very uneven. The southwest monsoon accounts
for almost all the rain in 75% of the geographical area and 78% of the gross
cropped area. The annual rainfall averages 1,170 mm. About a third of the
cropped area is still rain fed. More than 61 million hectares receive the
benefit of irrigation by exploiting groundwater. The three seasons of the
sub-continent are winter (December-February), summer (March-May), and
monsoon (southwest monsoon from June to September, and northeast
monsoon from October-November).
The types of soil found are the red soil, alluvial soil, and black soil. The
Gangetic plains lying about 100 metres above the sea level are ideal for
intensive farming. The mountainous terrain of the Himalayas are
uneconomical and environmentally too fragile to cultivate. With its varied
climate, soil types and geographical areas, a rich diversity of habitats and
wildlife is found. There are about 75,000 species of fauna and 45,000
species of flora.
India is a country of social contrasts and enormous ethnic, linguistic and
cultural diversity. The country's 25 States and seven Union Territories,
vary in size from the gigantic Uttar Pradesh with almost 150 million
people to tiny Sikkim. The principle of division is mainly along linguistic
lines: there are more than 1,600 languages. The majority of the people
are Hindu (83%). Muslims account for a sizeable 11% while Christians,
Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis account for the balance. The total
population, estimated at the end of 1996 is around 953 million. Hindi is
the principal official language. English is also widely used. Sixteen
regional languages are used in respective States.
India is a land of small farm holders. The average size of operational farm
holding is about 1.18 hectares. Of the total 329 million hectares, 124.58
million hectares are devoted to raising food crops to provide food security
for the country. The gross irrigated area is 61.78 million hectares. Rice,
wheat, sorghum, maize, pearl millet, finger millet, minor millets, barley,
pulses are the major staple crops. Groundnut (peanut), sesame, Niger,
sunflower, rapeseed, safflower, soybean and linseed are the important
oilseeds. The country produces over 200 million tonnes of food grains, and it
is self-sufficient in food grain production. Important commercial crops are
sugarcane, cotton, jute, mesta, tobacco and potato and major plantation
crops are tea, coffee, cocoa, rubber, coconut, areca nut. The country also
boasts a host of spices such as pepper, cardamom, ginger, chillies,
coriander, garlic, cloves and nutmeg. Popular horticultural crops include
tropical to temperate fruits, vegetables, flowers, cashew nut, a host of root
and tuber crops and medicinal and aromatic plants. Fruits and vegetables
including onion and potato contribute 20% of the total agricultural output of
the country. India occupies the second place in the world in the production
of rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables. In the world trade of spices, its
contribution is 20%. It is the largest producer of ginger and turmeric.
Next to crop production, animal husbandry is the most important economic activity
in the rural areas. India has the largest bovine population in the world. The total
milk production in 1998 was 74 million tonnes, which is the highest in the world.
Egg production the country ranks sixth and broiler production eighteenth in the
world. The annual fish production has exceeded 2.71 million tonnes in 1997-98,
which is the seventh largest in the world.
Agriculture in Indian Economy
The Indian economy is significantly dependent on agriculture. It contributes
to 27% of total GDP, whereas industry contributes to 23% and service sector
contributes to 50%. However, 67% of total workforce of India is employed in
agriculture, whereas only 13% and 20% of that in industry and service
sectors respectively. In other words, however, agriculture contributes less
in the economy, but provides employment to more people.
Although the Indian economy has been growing at the rate of 5.5% per
annum, the same in agriculture sector has been very slow due to various
reasons. This has been less than 0.2% per annum.
Contribution in Total GDP (in %)
People employed in sectors (%)
Growth rate in various sectors (in % )
Agriculture in India
India has the second largest population with over one billion people. 70% of
the population in India is dependent on Agriculture for their livelihood.
Around 190 million hectares area in under total gross cropped area, which is
largest in the world. Even today, Nation’s GDP is largely dependent on
agricultural production. Despite this, all has not been well with Agriculture
sector in India. Farmers have been facing several complex problems such as
growing costs, low productivity, lower market prices for agricultural
produce immediately after harvesting season, high interest rates in rural
credit market, spurious seeds and pesticides etc. The successive
Governments have done very little to address these problems. Farmers in
India are most disorganized and suffer silently. An increase in onion prices
results in widespread protests by the highly organized urban middle class
forcing the Government to curb experts and increase the supply in domestic
markets. No analysis has ever been made of impact of such a step on onion
The average land holding is of 35 hectares. The major problems of farmers
are they are not organized as other service sectors, natural wageries,
illiteracy, small - holdings, unrealistic loan and insurance policies etc.
Agriculture as a whole has improved technically and yielding-wise, but the
lives of farmers in becoming increasingly miserable and pathetic as the
saying goes ‘Indian farmer is born in debts, lives in debts and dies in debts’.
The green revolution and white revolution have been successful in changing
the outlook of agriculture as a whole. These have helped India to achieve
the following –
Highest milk production in the world - 78 million tones.
Second highest production of wheat and rice in the world.
Second highest production of vegetables in the world - 43 million tones
Third rank in the world in production of cotton, groundnut and fruits
Fourth rank in the world in production sugarcane and potato
Despite these achievements, the benefits from these revolutions have not
trickle down to the farmers. They are still marginalized, neglected and
unable to reap the benefits all these revolutions and technological changes.
This has led to unhappiness, dissatisfaction and frustration among them.
Some of them have been driven to suicides also due to this.
Problems of farmers in Agriculture in India
The farmers are facing multi layers problem. There are problems at
government policy level, business/market level as well as at
village/individual levels. All these coupled together creates a vicious net for
him, which is beyond his level to address and solve alone. The following at
various layers are given in detail in below.
Agriculture is no longer a respected occupation in India, therefore more
and more youth are looking for employment outside.
Income from agriculture is not guaranteed and sufficient also.
Although agriculture has grown due to revolutions, it has benefited only
large farmers. The growth and development have not trickled to small
and marginalized farmers level. The growth in terms of purchase of new
lands, tractors, new house, cycle, fan, phone etc.
Non-availability of quality inputs – access, easy availability and at lower
Failure of Prompt extension – advice services
Water and electricity are not regular in supply. This creates problems as
most of the Indian agriculture suffers from water shortage.
Since around 60% area small and marginalized, there land holding sizes
are very small. This has made these units non viable for mechanizations.
Since small and marginal farmers do not have access to heavy
mechanical equipments on account of lack of money and economies of
scale, the physical drudgery is very high in Indian agriculture.
Most of the farmers do not have access to market information.
Wiggeries of weather keeps the crop production uncertain, therefore
most of the farmers do not plan to invest more. Even if they invest,
returns from it are not certain due to weather.
Problems at Business/Market level
Adulterated inputs chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides, and spurious
Seasonality of prices
Inverse relation between crop production and market prices, which keep
more or less their incomes equal irrespective of the crop production
Cheating in weighing
Exploitation by agents and middlemen
Heavy interest on private borrowing
Problems at Government policy level
Less budget allotment by Central and State Government for agriculture
Crop Insurance – no suitable schemes are available to cover the risk
related to crop production. Whatever schemes are implemented by
government from time to time, claim and getting the claim money is an
Restriction by Government on storage, movement, processing and exports of
Sri. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Hon’ble Minister for Rural Development, GOI delivering
Conclave Message while Sri. P. Chengal Reddy, Hon’ Chairman, FFA and other Delegates
A view of delegates / farmers leaders who participated in the Farmers Associations