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Published by MMA Media, 2019-11-20 04:20:41

AgroSpectrum India : Indian Agriculture way Forward

of crops is key
for sustainable
of farmers

Keywords: agriculture

Caption: Due to the integrated forklift pockets the Plug & Play S300 (here in Bauer design) can be
lifted and moved from three sides for example with a farm loader.

Bauer Group with new small all-in-one separator
Compact “Plug & Play-lightweight“ for farm communities or farms with several slurry tanks

With the new Plug & Play S300 the Bauer Group, situated in Styria, and technology leader in the area of
Waste-Water-Management, presents a small and mobile Separator-System for farmers or groups of farmers.
As with the other already available models, all components are connected with each other within a narrow
space: from the feeding pump and the wiring over to the electronic control system. A small space miracle with
enormous power, which, once connected to the socket, immediately and efficiently separates the solid from
the liquid phase.

For more than 4 years, the Austrian Bauer Group, situated in Voitsberg, has offered their solutions in the
separator market as compact complete packaged systems. Under the heading “Plug & Play“, separators are
combined with feed pumps, effluent pumps, electronic control systems as well as complete wiring and piping,
all within a minimal space. The advantage: due to the forklift pockets integrated in the frame, the complete unit
can be moved with a farm loader and brought to any place required, in order to manage several slurry tanks
flexibly. Once connected to the power supply, the system is ready for operation. The system is very versatile
and is suitable for example for substrate extraction in biogas plants or the recycling of waste in the food

The Separator S300, now the smallest unit, complements the three models available so far, the S655 / 655
HD, S855 / 855 HD and 855 GB. Thomas Kampl, head of development and product manager for separation
technology of the Bauer Group explains: “By expanding the “Plug & Play”-family we consciously follow the path
we have taken, to adapt our solutions also for small structured businesses. We would like to give all farms the
opportunity to profit from the advantages of separation - and that at an optimal price/performance ratio.”


Letter from Publisher


Publisher, AgroSpectrum We are glad to present
MD, MM Sci Tech the debut issue of
AgroSpectrum, which
Communications Pvt. Ltd. is published on the
occasion of the launch
of, our
new B2B web media platform catering
to the agriculture and allied business
community. As a publisher I am happy
that one more media platform is being
added to our existing bouquet of three.

We at MM Activ Sci Tech
Communications Pvt Ltd have been
successfully running BioSpectrum
India, BioSpectrum Asia and NuFFooDS
Spectrum. Envisioning the future
trends and adopting them much before
has been MM Activ’s speciality. When
the term nutraceutical was not known
to many people we launched Nutra
India summit followed by our media
platform NuFFooDS Spectrum. We
were also associated with organising
annual biotechnology summit when the
topic was just emerging on the science
horizon of India and made it a prominent
biotechnology event. This was followed
by acquiring & running media platforms
BioSpectrum India & BioSpectrum Asia
(published from Singapore for APAC
region). All these three media platforms
are leaders in their respective domains.
Keeping in tune with our spirit, now, when
the agriculture business sector is on the
threshold of a giant leap forward, we are
launching AgroSpectrum.

Two important developments are
going to change the face of the agriculture
business in India in the coming years.


The government has announced its plan qualities, providing a thought leadership.
to double the income of farmers in three It is for the policy makers, industry,
years and to make India achieve $5 academia, R&D to use this platform and
trillion economy by 2025. One trillion develop into an influential voice.
dollar of that is expected to come from the
agriculture sector. I am very pleased that it is being
launched at an appropriate platform of
Naturally, both these developments Agrovision whose moto is to educate,
are going to churn the agriculture and encourage and empower and whose chief
allied sectors as a lot of integration patron Shri Nitin Gadkari is a forward
will be needed. Backward and forward looking and innovative agriculturist
linkages will have to be strengthened continuously engaged in experiments for
by creating necessary infrastructure to sustainable agriculture.
ensure adequate supply of inputs for
the proposed growth in the agriculture Launching of AgroSpectrum was a long
activity, and facilities for storage, process, involving informal discussions
transportation and processing of with a lot of stake holders and a lot of
increased farm produce. As the agriculture internal work. Thus, it is the outcome
activity will grow, it is going to boost the of the team inside the MM Activ Media
agricultural business in seeds, fertilisers, organisation, and more so larger team
pesticides, equipment & machinery on outside consisting of all of you – friends,
one side and cold storages, logistics, cold guides, advisors, well-wishers and of
chain, food processing and shops on the course critics too, who were almost nil.
other. As a result, the entire eco system is Everybody liked the idea and encouraged
going to get a positive thrust. us to go ahead. It is the outcome of their
encouraging words, advises & guidance
When this is happening, AgroSpectrum and my team’s efforts to put all that in a
is committed to offer to the readers practical form.
the latest news, unbiased reporting,
balanced coverage of the sector, analysis I am grateful to all those who have
of developments in the sector, valuable & helped in any way to shape up this new
reliable information, emerging trends – media platform, bringing my long-
all that will create meaningful content for cherished dream into reality. Your
effective business decision-making. support and criticism are invited to make
AgroSpectrum even better each coming
It will provide an open space and a day.
neutral platform for free and healthy
interaction to debate all issues around Everyone knows the importance of
agri business in order to ultimately help agriculture and its allied sectors. To put it
the agri business sector in India to grow differently in the words of the renowned
to a position of global leadership. It would climatologist Dr S Elwynn Taylor, “If it
be critical, if needed, and would also were not for agriculture there would be
play a role of a catalyst, but it will strictly no culture at all.” I am confident that
adhere to the essential ethical journalistic AgroSpectrum will re-emphasise the
culture brought by agriculture.



‘Diversification 10
of crops is key
for sustainable
of farmers’


Minister for Road Transport & Highways;
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
Government of India

Current challenges and 16 20 Dairying plays
some innovative solutions 24 28 significant role in
31 37 enhancing farmers’ income

Former Chairman, Agricultural Scientists Chairman,
Recruitment BoardIndian Council of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)

Agricultural Research (ASRB-ICAR), New Delhi Multi-pronged strategy
Advisor, Agro Spectrum for farm resurgence
Economist, Senior Editor and Policy
Innovations required Commentator; Consultant, U.N. International
for successful Indian Trade Centre, Geneva.

agriculture in future Accelerating
DR RAMESH MITTAL Indian horticulture -
Challenges and options
Director, CCS National Institute DR H. P. SINGH
of Agricultural Marketing, Jaipur
Founder and Chairman, Confederation
Doubling farmers’ of Horticulture Associations of India, (CHAI),
income - Feasibility through New Delhi

collective experience

Former Director and National Fellow Institute
for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru


Increase 'Harvest 42 46 Germplasm to genome
Index' to double 47 54 engineering - the new
57 route for sustainable green
cotton farmers' income revolution

International Cotton Advisory Committee, Sr. Fellow, TERI-Deakin Nano-Biotechnology
Washington DC Centre, The Energy Resource Institute (TERI)

Development of Farm to fuel: Bioenergy
agricultural mechanization as clean source of energy
in India and future prospects PRAMOD CHAUDHARI

DR GAJENDRA SINGH Founder and Executive Chairman,
Praj Industries Limited
Former Deputy Director General (Engineering),
ICAR, New Delhi Founder Vice Chancellor, 60
Doon University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
Organic, ZBNF, Biodynamic or
Steps ahead for the GM – Way for future farming in India
future of Indian agriculture
Chief Economist,
Maharashtra Economic Development Council Director General, Director of Biotechnology,

A GST burden on Federation of Seed Federation of Seed
smallholder farmers
DR BHAGIRATH CHOUDHARY Industry of India Industry of India

Founder Director,
South Asia Biotechnology Centre


At crossroads

Launching a new media platform, in print other. How to steadily keep increasing the
or digital, is a rollercoaster ride of tension- production with decreasing resources will be a
filled ups and stomach-churning downs, big question the agriculture sector will be facing,
representing hopes at times and frustrations at may be jeopardising our current self-sufficiency.
others. But somewhere, after some time the ride At the same time the government has set a goal to
comes to a halt. Looking back, one realises the double farmers’ income in three years, which is
ride was ultimately enjoyable and a pleasure. another type of challenge.
Seeing your media platform taking the shape
you desired, gives you the same pleasure. Science and technology has helped us in the
Launching new media and that too in the domain past to create revolutions of different colours
of agriculture business is even more fulfilling – green and white. It will continue to help us
considering the difficult times both print media in the future too. Lot many innovations are
and agriculture are passing through. Print media being explored with the growing number of
is still in a much better position compared start-ups. One will be surprised to know that an
to agriculture in India, which is actually in a estimated 40 per cent start-ups in the country
distress. are in agriculture and food processing sector.
What is required more is an open mind to accept
The current Indian agriculture scenario new ideas by the end users as well as many
presents an image of paradox. On one side, our others. We, as a society are at the crossroads in
food grains production quadrupled in the last five that sense – having multiple ideas and choices
decades. We are the largest producer of fruits, available, but undecisive on which road to take.
pulses, millets and few more agri commodities;
second largest producer of vegetables, cashews, Taking a right route is no doubt a difficult
garlic, onions, wheat, rice, sugarcane and others; decision keeping in mind its long-term effects.
third largest producer of coconuts, tomatoes, No new idea could be accepted without proper
rapeseeds etc. We are a surplus country in agro in-depth study, thorough examination, lot of
production and our storages are full. With 188 debate and discussion over pros and cons.
million tonnes, we are the largest milk producer This all is needed for the success of an idea. An
in the world. unexamined and non-discussed idea may make a
long-term adverse impact on the society. That is
But on the other side, a large number of the importance of study, examination, debate and
farmers in India have been committing suicides discussion in agro business field.
for the last few years as farming is no more a
paying proposition, clearly showing the signs AgroSpectrum is a platform for that –
of distress. Agriculture’s contribution to India’s to study, to debate, to discuss, to know, to
GDP has severely slide down from 43 per cent in understand, to analyse and to exchange ideas.
1947 to 16 per cent today. Too large population, Every new idea can be presented here. It is open
about 58 per cent, is dependent on agriculture. for all. Objectivity and a neutral point of view will
There are many other indicators highlighting this be the distinct identity of this media platform.
contradiction. Every news from the sector can be read here and
every issue discussed. That is most needed to take
When Indian agriculture is facing this a right direction for a way forward, when we are
contradiction currently many other factors from at the crossroads in many ways.
the future are posing further serious challenges.
They are caused by expected estimations in Milind Kokje
growth in population on one hand, and reducing Chief Editor
resources like available land and water on the
[email protected]



Minister for Road Transport & Highways;
Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises,
Government of India

‘Diversification of crops
is key for sustainable
development of farmers’

Ranking second in the world On the occasion of 11th edition of
in farm output, the agricultural Agrovision, what is your message to the
sector is the backbone of the farmers and agri-business industry?
We have been organising Agrovision since the
Indian Economy contributing last 10 years and it has become one of India’s
majorly to the country's GDP. premier Agri Summit. Agriculture in Vidarbha
Supporting this sector since and other parts of Maharashtra was in distress
2007, Agrovision Summit has for last few years as farming was not proved as
brought in its 11th edition this a source of profitable income. If this situation is
to be changed then farmers were needed to be
year with the theme ‘Smart introduced to new technologies and informed
Technologies for Sustainable on how they can increase their income to
make farming viable by using the innovation
Development’. This summit technologies. They can be told the successful
is organized under the able practices in farming like new crop pattern,
guidance of its Chief Patron, Shri starting agri-allied business. Agrovision has
Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road been doing this of providing information about
Transport & Highways; Micro, development on different fronts in agri and allied
Small and Medium Enterprises, sectors to the farmers through seminars and
workshops. It will continue to do so. Workshops
Government of India. On
this occasion of Agrovision,
Dipti Barve, Assistant Editor,
AgroSpectrum interacted with
Shri Nitin Gadkari to know his
vision about the sustainable
development in agriculture.

Edited Excerpts;


on innovative technologies from dairy sector to districts to generate employment and use of raw
sericulture will provide updated information material for starting agribusiness like we have
to the farmers. Agrovision will not only boost started sericulture and bamboo goods production
farmers’ income but will also plays an important business in Gadchiroli.
role in agri-business networking.
Government has a target to double the
How can diversification help the farmers farmers’ income in three years. As an
and the overall agriculture business? expert in the field of agriculture what
We have surplus production of wheat, sugarcane measures do you suggest?
and rice which do not get good price. It all Sufficient and regular water supply is the key
depends on the demand and supply in the of good agriculture produce. Government
market. On this backdrop, diversification of is trying to increase irrigation facilities all
agriculture towards energy and power becomes over the country. Since last year, irrigation
very important. Government is always trying percentage has been increased from 22 to 50
to make agriculture more sustainable. We too per cent. Use of drip irrigation will be useful in
have started new experiments such as bikes and increasing agriculture production and also save
auto-rickshaws that work on Ethanol, making cost of production. Agribusiness industry and
biodiesel from Bamboo oil and developing bio farmers should come forward to use internet
CNG, etc. to make agriculture sustainable. This platforms such E-nam and E-mandi by National
diversification will provide import substitute, cost Commodity & Derivatives Exchange which will
effective and pollution free solutions to farmers not only provide better quality agro produce to
as well as allied industry. I have planned to make agro –business but also increase the farmers’
efforts to make six districts diesel free and thus, income.
we have initiated bio-diesel project in these
six districts- Chandrapur, Nagpur, Gadchiroli, For agriculture development, a lot of
Wardha, Gondiya and Bhandara. innovative technologies are needed to be
developed. How you plan to encourage agri
Rural unemployment is one of the major innovations in MSME?
problems the nation is facing. How MSME has started 13 innovative solar cluster
agriculture and allied activities can help in projects in all cotton production areas under
overcoming this problem? Khadi Gramodyog. Each cluster will provide
MSME (Ministry of Micro Small and Medium employment to 4000 women. We have also
Enterprises) has made Kulhad mandatory on 400 planned to start a unit where all cotton
railway stations which provides employment to processing from ginning to making cotton
pottery section. In addition to this, government apparels will be conducted under one roof. This
has levied 30 per cent tax on the Chinese Bamboo project will be mainly implemented in rural areas
articles and perfumed sticks worth rupees four to generate employment. MSME makes sure that
thousand crore. All this will ultimately give a raw materials produced in one area will be used
boost to the local bamboo industry. We will in the same area by setting up a processing unit.
focus on 15 rural, agricultural and tribal aspirate
On the backdrop of recent floods in
Maharashtra, many farmers have lost their
agriculture produce. What would be the
government’s strategy to prevent such
Like we made power grid, we have started
making road grid all over the country. There are
also plans to make water grid in Maharashtra.
The flood water will transfer from one basin
to another basin through water grid. It will be
definitely useful for the farmers and will save loss
of farm produce from floods.

Creating Knowledge and Business Fora Across
Frontier Technologies and Emerging Sectors


Agrospectrum is a B2B digital media platform catering to

all sub-sectors and verticals of the agro business

Agro policy Agro Interaction

Agro Business Agro tech

Agro Trade

Volume 01  |  Issue 01  |  November 2019

Publisher & Managing Editor Correspondent: APAC TOP STORIES
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[email protected] NCDEX
Operation & Production launches
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Giving millions of rural milk producers a better life

NDDB is the force behind India's milk revolution. A revolution
catalysed through farmer owned organisations. NDDB pioneered

the concept of milk cooperatives and has nurtured them into a
16.9 million farmers strong movement. Out of these, 5.06 million
are women. India continues to be world leader in milk production

since 1998 and produced 187.7 million tonnes in 2018-19.
NDDB is proud to connect small milk producers to the
mainstream, and provide milk security to our nation.



Former Chairman, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board-
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ASRB-ICAR), New Delhi
Advisor, Agro Spectrum (

Current challenges and

some innovative solutions
Indian Agriculture is a vital sector of the
national economy with nearly 50 percent many crops as India cultivates. Family managed
population engaged in crop agriculture and small farms and their crop-livestock/fisheries
allied fields. India’s 1.3 billion population, or alternative agriculture type of mixed farming
17.9 per cent of the global population, lives on systems and many other specialities are unique to
2.4 per cent land and 5 per cent water resources Indian agriculture.
of the world. Despite being highly populous,
India has made remarkable strides in agricultural The success of this kind has come after a long
production since independence. India’s struggle by agriculture researchers, development
agriculture is often quoted as a success story. agencies and of course, the Farmers. The history
of agriculture development clearly spells out
India ranks second in the world in agricultural the contributions of all these stakeholders but
production as a leading producer of several specifically mentions the unstinted support
commodities like food grains, cotton, spices, of policy makers and the politicians since
fruits, vegetables, dairy, poultry, aquaculture etc. Independence. Agrarian revolutions, like the
After self-sufficiency in food grain production in green, yellow, golden, white and blue, are a
early eighties the country witnessed periodical matter of national pride.
revolutions in all allied sectors. Except vegetable
oils, India has achieved true independence in Current Challenges
agricultural production. As per the latest estimates
from Government of India, the country is likely It is said that in agriculture ‘Past is Perfect, present
to produce record production of food grains (285 is imperfect and future is tense.’ The population
mt) - rice (116.5 mt), wheat (102.2 mt) and pulses is expected to grow to nearly 1.7 billion by 2050.
(24 mt). Interestingly the yesteryears policies of Nearly 55 per cent of them shall reside in cities,
promotion of horticulture under Employment so urbanization shall alter the food demands
Guarantee Scheme (EGS) have paid rich dividends to diversified basket. The projections for food
as the country’s horticulture production has grains and other items to meet that demand
surpassed that of food grains for the seventh are enhancing the production by 40 per cent by
consecutive year in a row. It was 310 mt from then. This is already constrained by depleting soil
only 25 million hectares of land in 2017. This was health, issue of crop health due to newer pests,
achieved even though there was no dramatic rise diseases & weeds, climate change and the yield
in cultivated area or irrigation. Such efforts of gaps. Major issue today is apathy of the farmers
diversification have now become India’s inherent towards farming as they feel it to be a no more a
strength in agriculture. No country grows as remunerative business.

Therefore, the twin challenge today is to raise
productivity to meet the demand of growing


population coupled with making the farming research is estimated to be more than 42 per
remunerative for farmers. Farming has to pursue cent, which is much higher than any other
dual purpose, to ensure both food security of the sector. Then what prevents us from investing
nation as well as income security of the growers in this sector? Investment in generation of new
and it has to be achieved without disturbing technologies which have direct implications on
environment and natural resources. proper and efficient use of resources, needs to
be enhanced. So also in teaching and extension
India is said to be the fastest growing programme. The gap in financial commitments
economy. However, its nearly 20 crore people made at the beginning of the plan period and
live below poverty line, 40 per cent are suffering thereafter in annual plans is widening. It is
from malnutrition, 42 per cent children are constraining to take the research programmes to
underweight and 13 lakh of them die before the logical conclusions.
their first birthday. Therefore, the so-called
development in the life of rural inhabitants To improve productivity and profitability
depresses all of us. This obviously points the in a sustainable manner our policy needs to
finger at the mismatch between resource be changed from input intensive to technology
allocation, governance, management and our intensive; rather skill intensive agriculture. In
developmental claims. recent years the benefits of new technologies
have been experienced and still we are not open
Low national productivity and high regional to adopt those technologies. For example, GM
production disparity can be met with efforts to seeds for cotton, mustard, maize, brinjal, rice,
give quality farm inputs like water, fertilizers, groundnut etc. Hybrid technologies in maize,
pesticides, seeds etc. and ensuring their judicious vegetables, conservative agriculture, system of
use. Farmers need to be encouraged to shift rice intensification (SRI), precision farming,
to high value commodities in horticulture, farm mechanization, hi-tech cultivation of fruits,
fisheries, animal production and so on. Too vegetables & flowers, primary and secondary
much emphasis on production and procurement processing introduced in farm produce and
over the years shows that we are unnecessarily many other technologies have already shown
obsessed with food security in spite of the fact that they can deliver the goals of meeting
that our storages are full with food grains. the objectives of higher productivity and
profitability. The traditional breeding of crops
Innovative Solutions is now supplemented by new biotechnological
innovations like gene editing, genome rewriting,
Research and development in India after
independence has helped to grow the per capita
production and has gone a long way
easing the pressure on meeting the
food and nutritional requirement
securities. Let us remember that this
was the impressive contributions made
by agricultural scientists in the past.
Unfortunately, the system is under
stress with lack of clarity over where
to focus and financial resources. Our
past experience should be enough for
us to keep faith in our R&D systems.
They have potential to mitigate the
challenges posed by climate change,
biodiversity, small farming issues,
and market reforms for the benefit
of farmers. According to ICAR-NAIP
study, returns to investment on
research have been found to be highly
paying proposition. Internal rate of
return on investment in agricultural


speed breeding. The scientists need to encourage for a long time to help farmers from price distress
to do research in modern technology areas. and market fluctuations. We are also ensuring
to fix the prices above the cost of cultivation.
GM seeds have emerged as a powerful new Unfortunately, MSP operation is limited to states
technology promising high productivity with less and crops. For perishable goods it is difficult to
use of natural resources and also chemicals in be used. Therefore, the farmers are throwing the
the last two decades. The GM technologies have vegetables, milk and such perishable commodities
gained increasing acceptance around the world. on road as a protest for better returns. To
The technologies are likely to play useful role improve the share of farmers in the price paid by
in addressing some of the intractable problems consumers, a different strategy has to be adopted.
that the current methods of improvements in The solution lies in market reforms and altering
stocks of crops, animals and fisheries, cannot the structure of APMC Act. Model APMC act has
answer. It is also worth noting that the new never been implemented in spite of several efforts
methods and materials are being discovered made in the past. The all-round market reforms
practically every day in production of new GM can ensure better price through direct negotiations
seeds that are bio-environment safe and largely between the producer and consumer.
acceptable. As a part of strategy therefore, to
bring second evergreen revolution, India must There are several good examples of such
return to permitting proven and well–tested GM marketing reforms, which are needed to be
technology with adequate safeguards. When we universally implemented. Similarly, the Essential
are importing heavily the vegetable oils, still we Commodity Act has created an environment of
stop the entry of GM mustard is a fact not easy uncertainty and discourages entry of large players
to digest. The technologies may also be useful in into agriculture infrastructure in the country.
groundnut, pigeon pea, chick pea and some other Maharashtra has shown the way as to how small
oilseeds and pulse to resolve the intractable biotic holder farmers can come together in the form
and abiotic problems that are hampering the of ‘gatsheti’ (Farmers’ Producing Groups) that
productivity of these crops. can scale up production and then bargain for
remunerative price returns, a win-win situation
Doubling Income of Farmers for both,the farmer and consumer.

The major challenge is to double the income of Investment and technology creation are two
farmers in three years, rather making the farming major drivers of growth. A major cause of present
remunerative so that the young generation may agrarian crisis is somewhere lies in inadequate
be attracted towards it. Today’s paradox is that investment in agriculture sector and restrictions
on one side we have enough production, stores on the use of modern technologies.
are full, middlemen and consumers are happy
that they get what they want at reasonable prices Investments in farm connectivity, irrigation
but on the other hand the farmers are driven to facilities, roads, markets, cold storages, rapid
suicides as they are unable to maintain their transportation for perishables coupled with
families on their farm income. We have adopted a development of new technologies to improve
classical model of minimum support price (MSP) resource use efficiency could mitigate the current
agrarian distress. Unfortunately, investment in
agriculture R&D has been reduced from 0.8 to 0.4
per cent of total agricultural GDP. Considering
that there is a resource crunch which will continue
then it is imperative to prioritize the resources to
ensure their optimum allocation and use.

The current focus of R&D investment appears
to be misplaced. If we do not invest in new
generation technologies instead of evaluating,
promoting and exploring the traditional ones
then we will be too far behind the world.
Similarly, any delay in agricultural investment
is going to be costly to meet the goal of doubling
farmers income.



National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)

Dairying plays significant role

in enhancing farmers’ income

India continues to be world’s largest milk lands. According to the Situation Assessment
producer with an estimated milk production of Farmers (NSSO, 2013) data and a study by
of about 188 million tonnes in 2018-19, the Institute of Economic Growth, 1 per cent
growing at about 6.5 per cent during last increase in share of income from “cultivation”
five years. India now accounts for over one-fifth and “non-farm business” will lead to increase in
of world milk production and its estimated per income inequality by 2.7 per cent and 1.6 per cent
capita availability of milk at 394 grams is more respectively, whereas 1 per cent increase in share
than the world average of around 300 grams per of income from “animal farming” will reduce
day. Milk is now the single largest agricultural income inequality by 1.2 per cent.
commodity surpassing even the total value of
output of food grains in the country. Dairying is considered as the most important
subsidiary activity, which provides an occupation
The share of agriculture & allied sectors in and steady source of income in all seasons, even
total Gross Value Added (GVA) was 17.2 per cent when the cultivation fails due to vagaries of
during 2017-18 at current prices and livestock nature. It also contributes to the livelihood of
contributing 28.4 per cent to agriculture & the poor in many ways - income from products,
allied sector. Within livestock, milk group is an insurance against drought, emergency cash
important economic activity accounting for about requirements, household nutrition, fuel for
67 per cent of the value of output in 2017-18. cooking, manure for crops and draught power
for farming, etc. Low capital investment, short
Small holder dairy system operating cycle, steady returns make dairying a
preferred livelihood activity among the small and
Milk production in India is primarily a marginal farmers.
small holder activity based on family labour
contributed by women and crop residue with Income from dairying
very little cultivated fodder. About 63 million of
rural households are engaged in milk production, As per the report on Situation Assessment of
of which 90 per cent belong to the landless, Farmers, animal farming contributes 12 per cent
marginal and small category owning about 85 to the rural income and 85 per cent of income
per cent of the female bovines and 53 per cent of from “animal farming” is reported from milk
the farm land. About 80 per cent of these animal alone. It contributes significantly to the rural
owners own about 1-3 animals. income of poorest farmers’ (farmers with less
than 0.01 Ha of land holding) - about 26 per
Dairying can be an effective tool for poverty cent. Highest growth was registered in receipts
alleviation in the hinterlands, as animal assets from livestock from 4.3 per cent to 11.9 per
are more equitably distributed than farm


cent between 2002-03 and 2012-13, while the Demand growth
contribution from both non-farm business and
wages & salaries declined over this period. This Milk and milk products have one of the highest
was true, especially in states that showed overall income elasticity of demand amongst food
higher real income growth. commodity groups and therefore the demand is
likely to increase rapidly as the economy grows
100% and incomes rises. The dairy farmers, especially
affiliated to producer owned intuitions would
80% benefit further, as they being major stakeholders
in the organised supply chain, will have
60% comparatively better bargaining power.

40% Three drivers of demand – growth in
population, urbanization and income together
20% are mainly contributing to rise in demand of
milk and milk products. Further, factors such
0% <= 0.01 Upto 1.01- 2.01- 4.01- 10+ All as consumers’ preference for high protein diets,
increasing awareness, availability of dairy
(ha) 1 2.0 4.0 10.0 (ha) sizes products through organised channels, etc. are
also driving this growth.
 Non-farm business 10 10 8 5 4 48
Dairy cooperatives
 Animal farming 26 14 11 11 8 6 12
The Operation Flood (OF), the world’s largest
 Cultivation 1 30 57 69 78 86 48 dairy development programme implemented by
NDDB demonstrated that a small holder dairy
 Wages/ Salaries 64 47 24 15 10 3 32 system linked to the Anand pattern cooperative

Increased access to market through producer
owned and controlled institutions helps in
realizing better price by farmers for their milk.
Dairy cooperatives are paying back about 70 per
cent of consumer rupee to the dairy farmers –
one of the highest across the world.

Innovation across the supply chain would help
in realizing more income from dairying. Feed cost
is the major cost in dairying as it accounts for
about 70 per cent of the total cost of production.
NDDB is committed in reduction in cost of feed
and improve the profitability of farmers. Feeding
a balanced ration leads to an increase in daily
net income in the range of Rs 15-25 per animal
through reduced feed costs and increased milk-
fat. Ethno Veterinary medicines have proved
beneficial in reducing veterinary expenditure to
great extent and thus improving realization in
income from dairying. By providing direct market
access to milk producers through farmer owned,
managed and controlled institutions the gross
receipt has increased by Rs 6 per in-milk animal
per day – primarily due to relatively higher price
paid in comparison to others.

NDDB has recently taken an initiative for
bovine manure management using flexi-biogas
technology to augment income of dairy farmers.
Effective management of manure through
collectives of women farmers owning biogas
plants not only can save expenditure on cooking
fuel, but the farmers also sell surplus gas to
neighbouring households. Under two central
sector schemes i.e. National Dairy Plan and New
National Biogas & Organic Manure Program,
6,000 farmers are being covered for subsidized
biogas plants for an additional income source
from manure & output slurry from biogas plants.


network can help achieve self-sufficiency in milk development programme and also setting up
production and augment farmers’ income. of pilot model for viable doorstep Artificial
insemination (AI) delivery services, which
Currently, there are over 1,90,000 village contributes to the sustainable dairy development
dairy cooperative societies with about 169 in the country. With these interventions, it
lakh farmers affiliated to it in 480 districts will be possible to make our milk production
spread over 28 states. These dairy cooperatives system sustainable so that our country remains
collectively procure about 510 lakh kg of milk self-sufficient in milk and be enable to feed the
per day and sell about 355 lakh litres of liquid world’s most populated country in the next two
milk daily. decades or so.

Further, NDDB is implementing National Livelihood opportunities
Dairy Plan Phase I (NDP I), a scientifically
planned multi-state initiative through End India’s growing demand for milk can help
Implementing Agencies (EIAs) in 18 major provide livelihood opportunities for millions
milk producing states, which together account of rural households. Income in the rural areas
for more than 90 per cent of the country’s milk can further be enhanced by providing dairy
production. The major objectives of this plan are farmers access to organised markets. It has been
i) increasing productivity of milch animals to experienced that simply providing market access
help increase milk production to meet the rapidly even in low milk potential areas induces milk
growing demand for milk; and ii) providing production and surplus. While dairy has played
rural milk producers with greater access to the and would continue to play a significant role
organised milk processing sector. in securing the food and nutritional security of
millions of our countrymen, government policies
NDP-I has brought in a slew of production providing an enabling environment along with
enhancement technologies which includes government funded programmes and schemes
production of high genetic merit bulls, would continue to help augmenting income of
strengthening existing semen stations/starting dairy farmers.
new stations, improving nutrition of milch
animals through ration balancing and fodder



CCS National Institute of Agricultural Marketing, Jaipur

Innovations required
for successful Indian
agriculture in future

By the year 2050, annual food grain The Indian agriculture identifies the holistic
production would need to grow to drivers for the agriculture sector – the demand
333 million tonnes. Despite the fact pull, supply side push and an enabling conducive
that the contribution of key food policy environment for its overall growth. While
grains in acreage terms in India is 15 per cent, summing up the key trends and future outlook of
the production contribution is mere 8.7 per the sector, the need for disruptive technologies to
cent. This indicates that the use of innovative steer the agriculture sector has been emphasised.
technology is necessary to meet the forecasted Characteristics and categories of start-ups, along
demand in a sustainable manner and move with the key challenges faced by them, have been
Indian agriculture along the growth path. It’s elucidated with a strategic way forward. India
time to seek the right partnerships that add value has already built a strong name for itself in the
through innovations and achieve shared goals global start-up community. It’s time to make agri
through combined efforts. start-ups successful and propel India forward
as a leader in the agri technology sector through
To adopt innovation we must support Agri innovations.
start-ups which are potential human capital in
the Indian agricultural economy and certainly Agricultural start-ups in India are still at
the right partners for innovation-led agriculture a nascent stage, with bunch of ‘agripreneurs’
growth. It’s an opportune time to bring them trying to solve multiple emerging problems in the
together and inspire them to devise appropriate Indian agribusiness ecosystem. The combined
solutions for agribusiness issues. Innovations revenue of all agritech start-ups in India is
by agri start-ups in the form of products, estimated to be less than $100 million, which
services or applications can be a meaningful is a drop in the ocean in a market worth more
solution across the agricultural value chain than $350 billion. Thus, the opportunity to scale
even for agriculture value addition. Therefore, up and disrupt is huge. India has made a strong
the efficient use of this talent pool will be a key name for itself in the global start-up community.
driver for improving competitiveness in the It ranks amongst the top five countries in the
agriculture sector. However, to realise their true world in terms of number of start-ups founded.
potential, concentrated efforts by the right mix of It is estimated that India houses less than
stakeholders and with clear objectives will help in 5000 start-ups, creating more than 1,00,000
achieving faster results. employment opportunities. By 2021, the number


of start-ups in India is projected to increase to of the populace. Parallel to that number of
more than 12000, with job creation from these innovations were also part of these modifications
entrepreneurs reaching 300,000-400,000 by which were successful in changing the face of
2021. Indian agriculture from mere ‘Sip to Mouth’
position to the present proud position of ‘self-
Transforming sufficiency’ and earning a sizeable amount of
food processing economy foreign exchange from agricultural exports.
However, we cannot be complacent with these
India continues to be among the top six countries achievements as the demand for food is ever
globally, with the highest number of deals in mounting due to persistent increase in human
agricultural technology. (The US, Canada, the and animal population in the country. Hence,
UK, Israel and France comprise the other five it is very much essential to take the stock of the
countries.) In 2019, within global investments, situation and search for new innovations which
Indian agritech start-up firms contributed around can enhance the productivity without causing
9 per cent, valued at $400 million. much damage to the environment. Greater
scope for further improvement in yields of
Status and sectoral presence of agri start-ups food grains in India is the strength for Indian
in India is- agricultural science. Future research needs to
concentrate more on climate resilient agriculture
 Supply chain • E-distributor • Listing safeguarding the natural resource base in order
platform • Marketplace to make our future generations thrive on this
living planet
 Infrastructure • Growing system and
components • Aquaponics • Hydroponics • Drip Scope of technology intervention
Value Chain Stage Technology Intervention
 Finance • Payments • Revenue sharing • required in -
 Inputs / Knowledge • Getting agriculture
 Farm data and analytics • Integrated inputs directly on phone • Weather forecast
Platform • Remote sensing software platforms through weather apps • Decision support solution
• Farm mapping • Farm management solution • for farmers like selling crops at appropriate rates
Field operations • Information dissemination • Pest Management Solution and Nutritional
Management Solution • AI based sowing
Agriculture is the back bone of Indian advisories
economy as it supplies raw material for many of
the industries and it is the source of livelihood
for majority of the rural population in India.
There had been innumerable transformations in
cultivation practices of crops to suit the demands


 Harvesting and Transport • GSM Mobile Suite by eKutir offers a one-stop solution for all
controlled motor • Hi tech irrigation systems the needs of a farmer; their field partners also
like drip, sprinkler etc. • Auto Steering Tractors train farmers to use their application.
powered by GPS • Crop Counting Machines •
Machine-learning algorithms to differentiate Over time, services that go beyond merely
between weeds and crops selling a product but that also provide training
about how to use, maintain, and repair that
 Processing and Storage • Machine based product, as well as supplementary components
Imaging technology to sort based on colour, such as advisory and marketing services, have
size, type etc. • Wireless sensor to monitor crops become an increasingly important and integral
connected with smartphone • Measuring grains part of any product offering. Technology is
moisture content playing an important role in bringing these
elements together. Despite the tremendous
 Distribution, Packaging and Handling • gains achieved, the long-term impact of the
Web and mobile applications to sell directly farm earlier technology revolutions was limited to
products • Price forecasting model to prevent selected agricultural pockets in the country, and
inflation • Dynamic product pricing • Online further efforts to advance these revolutions lost
marketplace for grain • Using data to track momentum over time.

A number of new start-ups are developing In the context of start-ups, the common
solutions to tackle climate change challenges. For barriers to commercialization and the scaling
example, Skymet Weather Services is involved in up of technology are related to access to finance,
monitoring and predicting weather and providing which is in turn related to operational finance,
agri-risk solutions. Skymet can measure and
predict yield at the village level for any crop with
a high level of accuracy and can also accurately
forecast the weather in the short, medium, and
long term. Ecozen Solutions has developed state
of-the-art solar-powered products for irrigation
and cold storage, with the aim of catering to
smallholder farms and regions with limited or
no electricity. Barrix Agro Sciences offers eco-
friendly crop protection methods that have the
potential to minimize a significant proportion of
the damage caused by pests and diseases without
overdosing crops and plants with chemicals, thus
preventing soil and water contamination.

There are also ventures that started out as
agri-tech start-ups in India but, owing to their
innovative solutions, are now operating as
medium-scale businesses. EM3 AgriServices,
founded in 2014, has quickly risen to become
a pioneer in the farming-as-a-service (FaaS)
model. EM3’s Samadhan techno kheti centres
offer machines needed to perform all critical
farm operations on a pay-for-use basis. At
their centres, the organization employs agri-
professionals who are well versed in the
agronomy of the target area. Another such
noteworthy venture, eKutir Global, offers an
online and mobile based platform to connect
marginal farmers with stakeholders across the
value chain such as soil-testing labs, suppliers
of seeds and fertilizers, banks, exporters, food-
processing units, and branded retailers. Agri


funding/capital deficiencies, and cash flow as a business enterprise involving constant
management; gaps in technology infrastructure; innovation and catering to dynamic market
and issues concerned with cyber security. demand. Although agricultural technologies
Furthermore, limited access to farmer networks are fast evolving in India and a mix of business
for effective piloting of the products is seen to models are driving the ecosystem, there is
impede the commercialization plans of start- a need to design the pathway to successful
ups. For innovation and entrepreneurship to be commercialization and to scale it up by utilizing
effective in transforming agriculture in India, the right incentives and policy support.
it will be important to address these issues and Technology will continue to play an important
create an enabling environment in which they role while the dynamics of the agriculture sector
can grow and flourish. To a large extent, the changes and produces new challenges.
effort towards this transformation has been
catalysed by the government’s special programme With the private sector playing an
on start-ups, Start-up India. Moreover, large increasingly important role in investments,
companies with knowledge about the diversity operations, and expertise, agriculture will gain
of Indian agriculture could also support these immensely as the public sector catalyses these
start-ups by mentoring, which would help them efforts. The IT revolution in India was brought
pilot and scale up their activities for potential forward by the private sector, with the public
commercialization. sector creating an enabling environment.
Uptake of technologies at market prices in
A successful future growth strategy for a sector that has traditionally been heavily
agriculture will need to perceive agriculture subsidized remains challenging, but farmers
are prompt to identify what works in their
interest and are ready to pay for it. Digital
technologies offer the potential to achieve the
necessary conditions for scale, with distributed
low cost and customized delivery, creating a
unique opportunity for private enterprise and
innovation to thrive.

The challenge before India lies in balancing
high growth with inclusive growth; leveraging
technology to achieve these twin goals will be
a fascinating journey to track. A developed
agriculture system is based on three key pillars:
knowledge, infrastructure, and a robust delivery
mechanism. Supporting the research and
development ecosystem in agriculture directly
contributes to creating knowledge and preparing
for the future. To strengthen the supporting
framework for growth, it will be important
to focus on creating new physical markets,
improving storage and transport facilities,
making better roads, and ensuring a continued
electricity and water supply. These system
components also facilitate efficient mechanisms
for delivery and the monitoring of relevant
government schemes and extension services
that will accelerate the pace of development. The
public policy regime in India has been supporting
technology-led agricultural growth and has been
increasingly developing new institutions to ease
access and affordability of technology adoption
among farmers.



Economist, Senior Editor and Policy Commentator;
Consultant, U.N. International Trade Centre, Geneva.

Multi-pronged strategy
for farm resurgence

India ranks third in world agricultural risky to feel smug and complacent on the basis of
output after USA and China. We have today’s food availability and price situation. New
come a long way from the ’ship-to-mouth’ challenges are emerging. An adverse combination
existence of the 1960s. We are the world’s of land constraints, water shortage and climate
largest producer of milk; and the second largest change has the potential to negatively impact
producer of rice, wheat, sugar, cotton and fruits & Indian agriculture.
vegetables. Today, India is an exporter of several
agricultural commodities. While India is home to 17 percent of the
world’s population (one in six in the world today
The recent policy initiatives of the central is an Indian) it has just about 4 percent of world’s
government are commendable. These include agricultural land and a mere 3 percent of world’s
efforts to double farmers’ income in five water resources. In future, land availability
years; issue of soil health card; crop insurance for agriculture is going to be rather tight. The
scheme; irrigation program; electronic national only way to beat land constraints is to raise
agricultural market (e-NAM); framing of contract productivity levels and land use intensity.
farming law and many more. All these are
welcome initiatives that will enable and facilitate Water shortage is looming. Reports of World
growers. Bank and NITI Aayog bear this out. We need
to ensure scientific utilization of water as also
However, these initiatives by themselves are conservation of water.
not enough to move towards substantial self-
reliance and demand will continue to outstrip As a tropical nation, India is more
policy. Surely, the recent initiatives are necessary susceptible to the adverse effects of global
but not sufficient to ensure food security in warming and climate change. We will face
future. The political sensitivity of the farm sector aberrations of weather, early or late onset
is well known. To ensure growth with equity, of monsoon and early or late withdrawal
meet growing food demand, advance nutrition of monsoon, skewed distribution of rains
security and reduce rural distress, India needs spatially and temporally, unseasonal rains and
‘sustainable farm resurgence’ which can lead to hailstorms, higher incidence of pest and disease
inclusive growth. However, there are structural attacks and so on.
issues that stymie farm growth. Addressing
them will demand enormous political will and All these are likely to compromise food
investment security. For example, Indian wheat is already
at the limit of heat tolerance. Even a 2 degrees
We need to prepare for tomorrow. It would be centigrade increase in day temperature during
the growing period can affect wheat yields by 20


per cent. appear to be working in silos. We need a more
Therefore, as a nation, we have to recognize coordinated approach among Agriculture, Food,
Commerce and Finance ministries. There are
that our agriculture is fragile and vulnerable. We several examples of poor coordination and
need to pursue policies to strengthen agriculture delayed policy making.
and related activities including livestock rearing,
dairy, poultry, fisheries, bee keeping and so on. Indian agriculture is crying for policy
attention. It deserves strong policy support,
In its present form, the Minimum Support investment support and research support.
Price (MSP) announced for crops is outliving Currently, agriculture is more production /
its utility. Because MSP may be a political supply centric. Such an approach may have
imperative, we need to go beyond mere MSP and served a purpose in the past; but it is outliving
work towards MSP++. its utility. Agriculture needs to shift focus from
production-led growth to demand-led growth.
‘MSP Plus Plus’ envisages a robust Only then will growers obtain remunerative
system of procurement of crops whose price returns. For the purpose, structural problems
falls below MSP. In some sense MSP is a that stymie growth have to be addressed.
sovereign guarantee. Our current procurement
infrastructure is far from adequate and needs Given the daunting challenges, agriculture
to be strengthened. Professional warehousing needs resurgence through a holistic approach.
companies may be enlisted for procurement. Here are my six mantras for farm resurgence:
The second plus relates to sound foreign trade
policy. Our foreign trade policy is often skewed  Strengthen the input delivery system:
in favour of imports rather than exports. When We need a system to regulate and monitor input
imports are allowed liberally, exports should not deliveries (seed, fertilizers, agro-chemicals,
be restricted. bank credit); farmers are often shortchanged in
terms of price, quality and usage advise; small
Irrational restriction on export policy for and marginal farmers still do not have adequate
pulses and edible oil for long years was a clear access to bank credit.
anti-grower, anti-domestic producer policy.
Various ministries of the Indian government  Rapidly expand irrigation facilities:


Scores of irrigation projects have been they see value.
languishing for long years with time and cost India needs a system of monitoring and
overruns. On a war footing, the pending projects
have to be completed. Availability of water evaluation of agriculture projects. There has to be
motivates farmers and improves crop yields. accountability for performance. The government
lacks commercial intelligence about agri markets.
 Infuse multiple technologies: Farming Sadly, no one in the government has a clue about
must become tech-driven. Multiple technologies where global markets are going, their impact on
are available and must be adopted – information India, how prices are likely to behave and how
technology, agri-biotechnology, satellite to respond to emerging situation. A ‘commercial
technology, nuclear agriculture technology, intelligence and research’ desk should be set up
drones, nanotechnology and so on; Strengthening with commodity market specialists who will from
the ecxtension mechanism will surely help. time to time provide inputs and forward guidance
for policymaking.
 Invest in rural infrastructure: The
state of agri-infrastructure in rural areas leaves India needs to learn from Organisation
much to be desired. Investment in access roads, for Economic Cooperation and Development
warehouses, cool chambers as also primary (OECD). Enormous sums are spent on
grading and sorting facilities is critical. The subsidizing agriculture directly and indirectly. In
APMC system needs to be depoliticized. Land particular, about $ 80-100 billion are spent every
available with APMC mandis should be used for year by OECD members on what is described
building primary grading and sorting facilities. as ‘General Services’. This investment is crop
Farmer will then be able to obtain quality-based neutral and covers activities such as crop surveys,
price. quality testing, agri-infrastructure, export
promotion and so on.
 Use ICT to deliver information: Almost
every farmer carries a mobile handset. We should India may well be feeling food secure today,
be able to deliver requisite information relating but the same cannot be said of nutrition.
to weather, input availability, output market,
prices and so on. India’s nutrition status is indeed poor.
Pervasive under-nutrition especially in rural
 Capacity building: Markets will be areas is the norm. Protein and calorie deficiency
volatile; it cannot be wished away. We need is palpable. There is a nutrition challenge.
to build capacity among farmers to withstand
market volatility, and attempt to make them into We need to design policies to ensure
savvy traders. Hamara kisan shayad anpad hoga, expansion of consumption demand through
magar anadi nahin hai’. Our farmers surely have welfare program. First, we need to recognize the
the capacity to learn /absorb anything in which close relationship between agriculture, nutrition
and health.



Former Director and National Fellow
Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru

Doubling farmers’ income
- Feasibility through
collective experience

The Indian economy and agriculture
sector picked up from the low of
1965-66. We have now spent almost
seven decades in pursuing a fire
fighting approach. The desire to achieve a
noble destination of self-sufficiency and higher
welfare for farmers, is most welcome, but one
needs to look at the scaffolding to be made
ready for such purposes. Growth in Indian
agriculture has been analysed by many and
there has been a good amount of discussion
about the ambition & feasibility of 4 per cent
(+) growth rate over last three plans. Recently
the NITI Aayog came out with a new proposal of
doubling the farmers’ income, requiring about 9
per cent rate of growth in agriculture and allied
sectors. Our experience of long-term growth
will surely bother us in this new experiment as
historically we have often failed to get to the set
goals. Here, it is not really the growth alone that
would suffice to double the farmers’ income but
on priority imperfections in the markets have
to be removed. This was the target of the plan,
which was aborted after closure of the Planning
Commission recommended by Chibber
Commission. Efforts towards achieving such tall
objective needs to be seen on the background
of the history of our earlier accomplishment.
The ground situation however, betrays such
an ambition by far margins. The growth rates


presented in Fig.1, are usually used in most foodgrains and agriculture sector as a whole
of the literature are based on the traditional were quite worrisome during 90s and on the
methodology across the phases. threshold of the millennium the farmer felt
threatened due to shrinking income trends and
Source: Based on Deshpande, J Prachitha and Shaha (2018). huge indebtedness. The situation assessment
survey undertaken by the National Sample
Note: Average Annual Compound Growth Survey Organisation during their 59th round
Rates (%) during the Phase I: Pre-green indicated devastating situation. About 40 per
revolution period (PGR) – 1960-61 to 1968-69; cent of the farmers felt that they must leave
(ii) Phase II: Early green revolution period agriculture for better profession. The growth
(EGR) – 1968-69 to 1975-76; (iii) Phase III: rates were not very encouraging and so also the
Period of wider technology dissemination trends in production. As a result the number of
(WTD) – 1975-76 to 1988-89; (iv) Phase IV: suicides in certain states started increasing and
Period of diversification (DIV) – 1988-89 to creating a very distrustful situation. A special
1995-96; (v) Phase V: Post-reform period (PR) meeting of the National development Council
– 1995-96 to 2004-05; (vi) Phase VI: Period of was called and steps were taken in order to
recovery (REC) – 2004-05 to 2016-17. give full attention to the agriculture sector. At
the same time of Farmers Commission was
The growth rates presented in Fig.1 are established under the Chairmanship of Dr
based on the GDP figures from National Swaminathan and the Commission under its
Accounts Statistics at constant prices. The entire recommendation strongly argued for Second
five decades after independence, agriculture Green Revolution. This promise of Second
sector of India could not cross the 3 per cent Green Revolution is easier said than done as
barrier of growth or what was then called as there are large across region differences in the
Hindu rate of growth. It is only after the 2004- country. As we can see from table 1, Indian
05 that the barrier was successfully crossed and agricultural experienced a long term growth
thanks to the prices and inflation during those rate in its production trends in the range of 3
period the growth rate reached slightly about 3 to 3.5 per cent, and that may not be enough for
per cent and stayed at 3.19 per cent per annum the agriculture sector to promise good returns
for a while. The euphoria of this high growth to the farmers. The stagnation in the net income
rate and consequent ambition of achieving a generated out of agriculture has been noted
double-digit growth in aggregate GDP led the and this was leading to impoverishment in the
then Government of India, to relatively neglect agriculture sector. Therefore, the target taken
agriculture sector and subsequently there was to double the farmer’s income in the coming
a trough in the sectoral growth rate. It is well decade’s most welcome target and that would
recognised that the GDP growth is sensitive sort out many of the issues in the farming
to agricultural growth despite the fact that the sector. Even during last two years, the farming
contribution of agricultural sector to total GDP sector is undergoing very distrustful situation
is at low as just 12 to 13 per cent, but often the both due to natural calamities and absence
fact that agricultural sector has a depressing of long-term policies. It is not that India does
spill over effect on the other sector when the not have good policy documents, however,
sector confronts trough, is forgotten. many of them have stayed far distance from
the implementation desk. For example the
Promise of Second Green Revolution Agro Climatic Regional Planning, Rashtriya
Krishi Vikas Yojana, National Commission on
The growth trends in the production of Farmers, Agricultural Policy Document of 1999
– 2000 and many such documents. Our major
challenge therefore, is to understand the weak
and strong spots in the Indian agriculture and
accordingly prepare policy which is regionally
differentiated across the country, by providing
incentives for growth to the promising regions


Table 1: Growth Performance of Agriculture & Non-agricultural Sectors across States
(Annual Compound Growth Rates in Percentages at 2004-05 Base year Prices)

Agriculture & Allied Sectors Non-Agricultural Sector

States 1980-81 to 1995-96 to 2004-05 to 2011-12 to 1980-81 to 1995-96 to 2004-05 to 2011-12 to
1995-96 2004-05 2011-12 2016-17
1995-96 2004-05 2011-12 2016-17

PUN 4.37 2.19 2.12 -0.28 5.40 5.53 9.66 6.47

HAR 4.27 2.09 4.11 -0.95 6.82 9.32 11.02 8.78

HP 2.16 4.67 2.33 3.58 7.49 7.13 10.08 7.87

AP 2.64 3.36 5.91 0.40 7.93 6.92 10.17 7.68

KAR 3.39 -1.30 5.64 -0.92 7.13 7.81 8.89 9.20

TN 4.48 -0.74 3.70 -3.82 6.21 5.46 10.05 6.21

KER 3.37 1.13 -0.61 -5.15 5.35 7.17 9.60 5.71

MAH 4.25 2.22 4.24 1.14 7.39 5.40 10.17 7.63

MP+ 2.83 -0.03 4.75 6.29 6.15 5.62 9.85 5.95

GUJ 1.50 0.67 3.90 2.97 7.70 6.48 10.85 10.55

RAJ 4.24 1.64 4.82 -0.44 7.52 5.97 8.94 7.01

ASM 2.15 -0.36 3.46 2.98 4.49 4.67 6.37 8.58

WB 5.38 2.53 2.54 2.27 5.04 7.51 8.20 5.44
ORI 0.62 0.56 3.72 0.86 6.29 6.37 10.39 7.06
BIH+ 0.83 3.79 4.16 -2.96 4.29 5.08 9.28 5.70
UP+ 2.68 2.27 2.64 0.64 5.69 4.56 9.84 7.33
IND 3.12 2.28 3.46 2.43 6.20 7.00 9.60 7.79

Source – Author’s calculations based on data from State Domestic Product series, CSO, GoI for various years.

Note – PUN= Punjab; HAR=Haryana; HP= Himachal Pradesh; AP= Andhra Pradesh; KAR=Karnataka; TN= Tamil
Nadu; MP+= Madhya Pradesh including Chhattisgarh; MAH= Maharashtra; GUJ= Gujarat; Raj= Rajasthan; ASM; Assam;
WB= West Bengal; UP+= Uttar Pradesh including Uttaranchal; BIH+ = Bihar including Jharkhand and IND= India

and plug-in the weak points of the lagging income of the farmer has been stagnating,
regions. Unfortunately, this has not been done even though there are positive and increasing
and therefore, we see a continuous long-term trend is seen in the Gross Value of Production
trend in the lagging regions and concentration at an aggregate level. In figure 2 below, it is
of poverty as against a respectable growth seen that the net income of the agricultural
in the promising regions. This second Green household is more or less stagnating over years
Revolution therefore has to concentrate on and at the same time the farmers confront
these two group of regions and especially an increasing trend in The Consumer Price
tapping the potential which has been very Index for Agricultural Labourers. The result of
neatly explained recently in Making of State this divergence between the two trends leads
Agricultural Policy. to impoverishment of the farm households
and compels them to go out of agriculture.
Farmer’s Income Trends Therefore, it is not surprising that 40 per cent
of the farmers indicated in the NSSO round
The focus of the present policy has been that they would like to quit farming. This catch
on Doubling of Farmer’s Income and that 22 situation is leading to severe distress and
requires first our understanding of the long- during 1991 and 2011 more than 5 million
term trends in the farmer’s income. What cultivators have left agriculture. In order to
has been observed in the analysis of CACP meet this challenge of doubling of the farmers
data by Narayanamurthy in 2013, is not income therefore, we need to focus on the
very encouraging. In fact all years the net


A Case Study of cost of cultivation and reduction in the cost of
a Successful Farmer cultivation or subsidising on the components of
the cost of cultivation may help the farmers to
Mr. Kailash Murthy started working in increase their net take-home income.
agriculture in his farm near Kollegal,
in the year 1984, after a successful Source: Author’s Own calculations Based on CACP data.
span of working in Banking sector
and a good career as a National level Increasing Cost: The Villain
player. Initially, he followed all the
recommendations given in the package of It was noted that increasing cost is the villain in
Practices given by Agriculture University the entire situation. After the Green Revolution
with in a span of 4 years realized that, of mid-60s, the cash component in the cost of
there are many changes taking place cultivation of the farmers has been increasing
that included: i. depilation of soil significantly. The dependence on fertilisers,
fertility demanding more fertilizers; ii. pesticides and purchased inputs has increased
Ground water depletion; iii. New pest
attacks and pests started developing
resistance to pesticides; iv. His cost of
cultivation was increasing every season
in geometric proportion. In the year
1988 he read “One Straw Revolution” by
Masanobo Fukoka, and since then he
started experimenting in agriculture by
cutting down on Cash Outflow on Cost
of cultivation. His experiments included
cultivation of different crops like Banana,
Mango, Papaya, Coconut Arecanut, Sapota
and among foodgrains Paddy. His farm
has now realized: Increased Production
of all crops; Soil and water conservation;
Retained and incremental soil fertility;
Biological control of pests and diseases,
along with good Bio-diversity. In the year
2009, he requested agriculture scientist
from different research centers to study
merits and demerits of his method of
cultivation practices. He feels that for
Banana to develop pest resistant variety
that will have natural biological control
of control pests and yield better. Natural
farming can double the production and
conserve ecology at the same time address
climate adaptability. His farm today has
a production of 16-30 tons of Banana
per Acre and 30-40 tons of Papaya.
Besides fruit crops he has developed a
new method of Paddy Cultivation with
broadcasting and using sunlight and light
irrigation. Paddy production on his farm
is comparable to any of the demonstration


significantly and the dependence on these Programmes of different vintages, Marketing
inputs puts the farmer at the receiving end. Reforms Programmes, Farmers Self-Help
At the same time the prices of the purchased Groups, and many more. None of these
inputs are also increasing at a rate faster than however, produced the results as expected and
the rate of growth in the productivity. The some of them have been buried in the history
natural outcome of these divergences in the with huge investment going down the drain.
growth of fact the prices and product prices Agro Climatic Regional Planning and National
results in the shrinking of the net income of the Watershed Development Programmes for the
farmer. More than that the farmer is today more Rainfed Areas are two prominent examples.
worried about the bargaining power that they No one ever asked accountability of drafting
confront in the markets. Farmer has to confront these programs and pouring in huge resources.
the factor market and the product market. In Criticising the past mistakes may not help to
the factor market which includes fertilisers, reach the new policy goals and therefore, it is
pesticides, new varieties of seeds, irrigation essential to work on a succinct policy document
charges and labour charges. Prices of all these in order to reach the desired goal.
are dictated by the suppliers and hence farmer
remains as the price taker in the factor market. There are few important aspects on which
Similarly, in the product market too, the farmer the new policy should work in a focused
enters with flimsy bargaining power as the manner. First among these is to provide
prices are decided by the operating cartels in institutional instruments to increase bargaining
the market. As a result, the policies have to be power of the farmers in the factor as well as
directed towards reducing the cost of cultivation product markets. Second, it is necessary to
or providing the farmers sufficient support in work on the prices sector and the marketing
order to wipe off the effect of increasing prices infrastructure. Alternatively, direct payment
in the input markets and cost of cultivation. system or an income support scheme can be
considered. This is largely prevalent in the
Prices and Market Sector European Union. The direct payment system
involves compensating the income loss to
It is no secret and rocket science to understand the farmers due to price or yield collapse at
that when the onions are being sold in the open the pre-decided price or market price during
market at Rs 100 per kilogram, the farmer that year. The implementation process and
hardly gets Rs 15-20 per kilogram and the rest modalities of this scheme are quite complex
of the money system market intermediaries. in Indian context. The second alternative is
Therefore, the dart thrown at the goal of the income/price linked insurance scheme.
‘Doubling the Farmer’s Income’ is totally These types of support schemes are under
misdirected towards increment in productivity operation in many countries especially Canada,
and production. It is the basic principle of US and France. Under the Income Support
economics that when the supply in the market Linked Insurance Scheme, it is envisaged
increases prices collapse and therefore, if the that the farmers participating in the scheme
policy focuses on increasing productivity and (especially the Paddy and Wheat growers)
production, naturally the prices in the market will be guaranteed an income calculated by
would collapse and the farmer instead of getting multiplying the product of average yield of the
incentivised, confront severe distress. From preceding three years and the market prices.
the economics point of view therefore one has Third option relates to operations of forward/
to concentrate on the institutions governing future markets through establishing commodity
market and prices and bring significant reforms boards for various commodities. This can be
in these two sectors. one of the important alternatives. The forward
markets can undertake large purchases and sell
Whither New Good Policies the commodities that will allow smooth flow of
the commodities in the market thereby reducing
There have been many policy documents the loss due to fluctuations. This will also keep
issued by the Planning Commission and in control the prices and totally avoid violent
programmes undertaken like National Rainfed price fluctuations. Futures markets have been
Area Authority, Watershed Development


operating in the country and we have a Forward in all the APMCs. Thus reforms at APMC level
Market Board. The commodity boards on the should take priority over other factors.
lines of Wheat Board of Canada and Tea and
Coffee Boards of India that work independently The advantages of natural farming are quite
and autonomously, could be quite useful in a few and we overlook many times these long-
keeping the prices under control and managing term advantages to the environment and the
domestic trade. farmer’s life. These include initially water saving
and groundwater recharge. It requires less
Functioning of the agricultural markets labour power and no fertilisers or pesticides.
and their interface with the market intervening Therefore, the cost of cultivation goes down and
institutions is another problematic area. A consequently the farmers’ net income increases.
model APMC act was circulated among states Natural farming also helps in preserving soil
and discussion was there to revise the act. A fertility and in fact enhancing the fertility over
decade has passed over that, the Act is adopted years due to large organic content lower back
by many states but not implemented in the full in the soil. It helps to retain biodiversity in
decade. The probable areas that need reform the field and reduction in release of Methane
are i. Infrastructure creation as well as proper and Nitrous Oxide in the environment thereby
use of infrastructure, ii. Process of grading and helping to control Greenhouse Effect. Farmers
removing the inefficiencies in that, iii. Process can grow three crops in the year and conserve
of auction and the probable nexus between water in addition to saving on village sites,
the traders, iv. Reducing the dependence of pesticides, and fertilisers. Ford will be non-
the farmers on the traders and breaking the contaminated and free of chemicals. This
interlocking of the credit and product market. intervention therefore, will go a long way in
In addition to these the monitoring of the prices retaining good health of the farm sector and
and a proper information system is required income flow to the farm sector.



Founder and Chairman,
Confederation of Horticulture Associations of India, (CHAI), New Delhi

Accelerating Indian

horticulture -

Challenges and options
Agriculture development in the past
has been means of food and raw Horticulture, generally referred as gardening,
material, which is now seen as means has expanded in its scope and activities, moving
of employment-led economic goals, from rural confine to commercialisation, and is
alleviation of poverty and self–reliance through providing best option for land use, nutritional
its linkages and a multiplier effect. Globalisation security, employment opportunity, health care
of agriculture has opened up new opportunities and above all environmental services. Indian
and also the challenges of stiffer competition. horticulture development has five phases of
The challenge thus demanded for adjustment growth, characterised by pleasantry and hobby
of the structure of the economy to resonate in pre-independent India, has transformed now
with internal stipulation. Thus, diversification through adoption of innovations in fifth phase of
to horticulture has emerged as the best option, growth, heralding Golden Revolution. Expanding
to address nutritional adequacy, employment horticulture is demanding knowledge, skills,
opportunities, farm income enhancement and use and technologies for growing plants intensively
of natural resources and above all, for enhancing to achieve efficient, profitable and competitive
farmers’ income and promoting enterprises. horticultural industry.

The emerging trend worldwide and also in the The sector includes a wide variety of crops
country is indicative of a paradigm shift in dietary under different groups such as fruits, vegetables,
needs of the people, with rise in the income and root and tuber crops, mushroom, spices,
urbanisation, demanding more horticultural floriculture, medicinal and aromatic plants, nuts,
produce. In the scenario, where more than 300 plantation crops including coconut and oil palm.
million people are malnourished, while millions Government of India has accorded high priority
of people are below poverty line, there is need for the development of this sector, particularly,
for improving quality of life through food and since the VIII Plan-and beyond, which has
nutritional security. The trend of development impacted production, reaching to 311.7 million
in the past especially during the last decade has tonnes in 2017-18 from 96 million in 1990-91,
been satisfying. Adoption of horticultural crops contributing 34.45 per cent to the AGDP only
in systematic manner has improved quality of life from 11 per cent area. This trend of development
of people in many of the regions of the country. in horticulture has been termed as Golden
Revolution. However, challenges to feed growing


population suiting to their dietary needs and of Horticulture was established in the year
nutritional requirements, is demanding science 1972, in Kerala Agricultural University (KAU),
and technology led development, backed by Kerala, for strengthening research and
enabling environments and resource utilisation extension activities in horticulture. Thereafter,
strategies. Change in dynamics of horticulture faculties of horticulture were added to majority
is now for health care through the use of of agricultural universities. Dr. YS Parmar
horticultural produce for the treatment of many University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan,
diseases, therapy, and environmental services Himachal Pradesh, is the first horticultural
and above all to the improved quality of life of university, which earned a unique distinction,
the people living in rural as well as in urban not only in the country, but also in whole of
areas. The paradigm necessitates for knowledge Asia to impart teaching, research and extension
empowered human resources, who can provide education in horticulture, forestry and allied
leadership in technology development and policy disciplines with Himalayan perspective.
formulation to attract investment and keep the This University provided an insight for the
pace of development. establishment of horticultural University in the
country, with its relevance in given agro-climatic
Most significant change in the last two situations. There are 7 horticultural University
decades has been the use of technologies exclusively for the horticultural education,
and private sector investment for production and the Dr YSR Horticultural University,
system management. Impact of change in Venkataramannagudam, West Godavari, Andhra
technologies like new cultivars, use of micro Pradesh, is one of the best, with the objectives
irrigation, improved quality seeds and plants to enhance the growth of horticulture sector by
and production system management is visible
in terms of increased production productivity,
availability and export. Undoubtedly, horticulture
sector has moved dynamically despite numerous
challenges and shortcomings, and is in crucial
phase of development needing initiatives for
sustainable development. To achieve the targeted
production, of 360 in the year 2020-21 and 451
million tonnes in the year 2022-23, stipulated
vertical growth will be required through the use
of new cultivars, efficient water and nutrient
management, effective plant health management
coupled with strategies for reduced post-harvest
losses and empowered human resources.
This will require appropriate innovations and
investment. Protected cultivation has shown
yield enhancement up to 4 times, which is a
potential technology to achieve vertical growth,
but would need investment and technological
upgradation. Plant architectural engineering and
management can mitigate the problem associated
with seasonality in many crops and the enhanced
efficiency in water management, utilising modern
techniques, shall reduce water stress. Since,
horticulture provides variability and has potential
to adjust in different agro-climatic situation,
technology-led development is inevitable, where
in horticulture education to empower the youth
with new knowledge becomes essential.

Recognising the need for specialised
Human Resource in horticulture, first College


providing leadership in teaching, research and the industry. Today, in many businesses, people
extension services in horticulture and allied talk about not having enough talent, and there
sciences through continuous innovations and are lots of graduates looking for jobs. This is a
assimilation of emerging technology. Recognising disconnect. How do we bridge this divide and
the benefits from Horticultural University, many provide the kind of people industry requires?
of the states are planning for new university with The situation demands for reorientation of the
focus on horticulture. curriculum to provide the skills to meet the
This is a befitting occasion to talk about
education, which is so critical to development. In this context value added agricultural
National Agricultural Education Systems, which education is becoming important which is not
had led to the development of human resources, merely a transfer of knowledge but also a skillful
is a key to transformation in agriculture and management of knowledge for getting maximum
horticulture. But needs and relevance continue to output, sustainability in production and a clear
change, thus education system has to be dynamic, augmentation of employment opportunities.
vibrant and responsible. Many of disruptive This will help in building confidence for starting
technologies are becoming important, to improve one’s own enterprise. Education is never an
ability to take up important task and challenges. end in itself. Learning is a life time process.
The employment situation has also changed Education should be comprehensive, holistic,
dramatically, jobs in public sector have declined all-encompassing to embark on a journey to
but opportunities have emerged in corporate self -development and self fulfilment. From
sector and also for self-employment. It is often candidates fresh out of college we expect good
said to produce graduates who can be observed in analytical skills. A candidate, who can logically
analyse and deduce solutions from a given set of
facts, can work on the technical problems that we
face every day.

The overall stocks of horticultural human
resources required to meet the requirements
of various segments of horticulture have been
projected to keep pace with the development.
It is assed that the stock requirement of human
capital in horticulture sector would grow to about
95,902 by the year 2020, which was about 62,583
in 2009-10. The estimated demand-supply
scenario in 2020 will be that demand (95,902)
will far exceed the supply by 26,030 leaving
the gap of about 73 per cent, if new facilities
of horticultural education are not created.
The students coming out of the universities/
colleges do lack professional skills and need
help especially those, who are interested and
have aptitude to start their own enterprises.
Accordingly, skill development for attending to
demanding jobs in horticulture is very important.
Starting of diploma, certificates and polytechnic
courses for specific skills of horticulture aims to
reduce the gap between demand and supply.

National Agriculture Policy 2000 categorically
emphasised on integrated development of
horticulture, which should be knowledge based,
technology driven and farmers’-centric. The policy
also emphasised on rural institutions, reforms and
development of infrastructure. But, there is no


policy document for horticulture, however focus will be pressure on supply of horticulture
has been given on post-harvest management in produce. The report of committee on Doubling
the policy paper of food processing industries. Farmers Income (DFI), 2018, estimated that by
Most notably policy change is related to storage, the year 2022-23, production level of 451 million
processing and marketing of horticultural tonnes has to be achieved (Fig. 1). The report
produce. Backward and forward linked marketing states that it can be achieved through 2.8 per cent
with reform in agriculture produce marketing act, increase in area and 3.1 per cent in productivity.
encouragement for contract farming are some of It is achievable, as evident that, from the year
the important policy changes which are likely to 2000 to 2016, horticulture sector has growth rate
impart production, quality and competitiveness of 5.8 per cent owing to technological changes,
of horticultural produce. Other area of reform investment and policy environment. Many new
needed is in aggregating of land law, which can technologies of seeds and planting material,
help in better investment as well as adoption of drip and fertigation, greenhouse, hydroponics,
technology. To enhance the delivery there is a marketing models and quality assurance through
need for innovations in Public Private Partnership branding have been adopted and the success
(PPP) mode for its better adoption in horticulture. stories are replicated. Past trend shows that
targeted production of 360 million tonnes at
The main challenges to horticulture sector the end of 2020, envisaged in the year 2000, is
have been the investment and capital, access achievable, as we have reached to production of
to technology and the initial learning curve to 311. 7 million tonnes in 2017-18.
develop the required skills. An attempt to address
many of the issues was made through mission Thus, there are options of opportunities and
mode approach to horticulture by launching of challenges, which will need attention. The issues
Technology Mission for Integrated Development to be addressed are: Innovations in technologies
of Horticulture in NE region including Sikkim, through institutional support as well as import
in the year 1999. Based on impact and success of knowledge and technological backed by
of this Mission, a stepping stone, it was was the development through skills. Development
extended to Himalayan states, in 2003, and with strategies should be for cluster approach linked
objective of doubling production of horticultural with post-harvest management and marketing,
crops, as announced on 15th August, 2003, by the quality seeds and planting material, precision
then Honourable Prime Minister, the National farming and smart horticulture, environmentally
Horticulture Mission was launched for rest of the controlled horticulture, efficient management of
country in 2005. Both these missions continued nutrients and water, and enhanced ICT use to
and were merged subsequently for continuance add efficiency to input management including
as Mission for Integrated Development of use of Block Chain Technology and artificial
Horticulture. National Programme in Mission intelligence and knowledge transfer.
mode in horticulture as well as on Micro-
irrigation ushered in horticulture revolution Fig. 1- Targeted in document “Perspective
referred to as Golden Revolution, in the of Horticulture”, Ministry of Agriculture, 2000,
country, providing opportunity for the farmers Target made in respect of DFI, 2017. Estimated
to enhance farm income and attract educated with assumption of changes, dietary needs,
youth to farming, as horticulture has proved to urbanization, population growth, income and
be economically rewarding and intellectually trend in growth, 2011, report submitted to
satisfying. In call of the nation for doubling Planning Commission.
farmers’ income horticulture has been identified
to be a prime mover in achieving the goal.

With a surge in the middle and upper income
group in the population, demand for fresh fruits
and vegetables is bound to increase several
folds. In this context, in addition to more food,
the young, rich and urban population would
demand diversified nutritious and safe food
of high quality, and as a result of this there


It is evident that there is a The mission approach, which was envisaged
fast changing technologies and to address all the issues in links of the chain
also the inspiration of the people. from production to consumption in integrated
Therefore, the following need due manner, has proved to be more successful
consideration: in achieving the goals. However, there are
concerns about competitiveness, which calls
 Modern production system for efficiency in all the activities, starting from
may be adopted focusing on conceptualisation to production, post-harvest
smart management system to and cold chain management, transportation,
maximise the output with given marketing and brand management till it reaches
inputs like nutrient, water, plant to consumers. This calls for Value Chain
care etc. Development and Management with enhanced
water productivity to benefit all the players
 Integrated water in the chain and provide the produce to the
management may be adopted consumer as per their requirement. Therefore,
with focus on Source to Root, to it is imperative that horticulture be declared
improve productivity of water, as priority sector for investment and mission
considering that water is most for Smart horticulture be launched with focus
critical in horticulture. on value chain development and management
on priority, which will go in long way as a
 The micro-irrigation prime mover of economic growth providing
may be classified as priority employment, food and nutritional security and
infrastructure to benefit environmental services and above all availability
farmers. Micro irrigation may be of produce as per the needs both for domestic
invariably promoted with fertigation. and export market. In this context, Block
Chain Technology of Management, Artificial
 Protected cultivation, hydroponic & intelligence and Environmental Controlled
aeroponic must be adopted for improving Technologies would be inevitable. Accordingly,
productivity and quality of produce. Focus or skill development has to keep pace with
Renewable energy will help in reducing the cost Demand, and the University has to play most
of energy. significant role in years to come.

 Infrastructure, talented faculties and
required land resources for research and
enterprise development must be with the
university to provide required support to


Horticulture, which was a pleasantry before
independence of the country has moved from
the rural confine to commercialisation with
the turn of the century, keeping a growth
rate of 5.86 per cent with increasing demand,
after 2000, referred to as Golden Revolution,
and is projected to grow above 6 per cent, to
achieve doubling of farmers’ income, food
and nutritional security, health care and
environmental services. The achievements
in horticulture till date are attributed to
infrastructure for the research, investment of
government with a mission mode approach
and enabling policy initiatives. With the
projected growth, development is happening
with innovative models of technology and
its adoption, and the targeted production is
achievable, but, not in usual mode of approach.



International Cotton Advisory Committee,
Washington DC

Increase 'Harvest

Index' to double cotton

farmers' income
India has enormous potential for cotton
farming. Given the ideal climatic conditions are almost optimized in these countries in
and the natural sources, doubling the cotton a sustainable manner. It is a matter of great
farmers income should not actually be a concern that the Indian harvest index ranges
big task for India. Globally, countries have been from 0.17 to 2.0 in contrast to 0.35 to 0.5 in
constantly increasing their yields over the past the leader-countries. It is important for Indian
20 years at least, without increasing fertilizers, scientists to introspect and question as why India
pesticides and water. There are a few simple ranks a poor 32-34 in yields in the world despite
technologies that are being followed almost being saturated with hybrids (two Bt genes), high
uniquely in six countries (Australia, China, Brazil, fertilizer usage, excellent sunshine, good rains
Mexico, Turkey and USA -hereafter mentioned as and irrigation.
leader-countries), that harvest more than 3000
kg seed-cotton per hectare as National average. Undoubtedly, high HARVEST INDEX is the
key word for India to double cotton farmers
These technologies are listed below: income and could hold the secret to achieving a
1. Varieties with high harvest index (boll break through.
weight / total plant weight)
2. Intra-row spacing of 10 cm between plants By increasing harvest index, Indian scientists
(high density planting) can easily help farmers to double their yields
3. Canopy management to increase harvest without increasing any inputs such as water,
index fertilizers and pesticides. The key to success
These technologies have been coupled with would depend on plant breeding for compact
precision management of crop duration, light, varieties with least monopodial branches, shorter
water and nutrients to obtain high yields in height, shorter duration, tolerance to sap sucking
a short time of 150 days. Scientists in the six insects and synchronous boll opening. The role
leader-countries have been constantly working to of agronomists, soil scientists and physiologists
enhance harvest index through proper agronomy is crucial in increasing harvest index. They
to ensure that the crop gets adequate nutrients should develop simple methods of soil health
and water when it needs them the most. Thus management and canopy management while
water-use-efficiency and nutrient-use efficiency crop protection scientists must effectively create
systems that conserve and promote natural and
cultural control of insect pests and diseases,


which eventually plays a major role in enhancing well. While, over the past 30 years plant breeders
input-use-efficiency. Indian cotton scientists in the leader-countries developed compact-
must focus on the development of best practices architecture short-statured, short-duration
that are required for plant mapping, canopy cultivars that retain an optimum number of bolls,
management, soil reclamation, soil conservation, generally at 15-20 bolls per plant, Indian plant
cropping systems, conservation tillage, water- breeders have been constantly striving to develop
use-efficiency, nutrient-use-efficiency, pest big and bushy plant types that produce highest
management, weed management are crucial for number of 80-150 bolls per plant. The contrast
yield enhancement. continues in agronomists and physiologists.
While, Indian scientists focused on wide spacing
Indian cotton receives abundant sunlight, between plants that suited the bushy varieties
adequate rainfall and a good amount of fertilizers and also to facilitate inter-culture, hoeing and
which should have ideally resulted in high harrowing between plants, elsewhere in the
yields due to good crop growth. However, it is leader-countries, scientists were busy developing
paradoxical that these ideal conditions coupled systems for effective light penetration, input-
with the hybrid technology could actually use-efficiency and canopy management for high
working against the crop leading to poor density planting that dwarfed the crop to make it
harvest index, thereby causing low yields. India amenable for machine picking. Yields have been
needs varieties that do not produce excessive increasing constantly in Australia, Turkey, Brazil
unproductive vegetation which eventually leads and China over the past 15 years, but stagnated in
to wastage of natural resources such as water and India during this period. There is clear evidence a
nutrients. Unfortunately, the hybrid technology low planting density approach of keeping a wide
does just the opposite. The ideal climatic spacing (30 to 90 cm or more) between plants in a
conditions promote excessive vegetative growth, row invariable leads to mediocre yields of 1200 to
which needs to be curtailed at critical crop stages 2000 kg seed-cotton. There could be exceptions
either through mechanical methods or with the with pampered input-intensive management
use of plant growth regulators to ensure a proper in a few Indian farms, but these wouldn’t be
nutrient source-sink relationship as is being done sustainable either ecologically or economically.
in the leader-countries. However hybrid vigour Sadly, Indian yield rank continues to be 32-35th
is difficult to control even with plant growth in the global list of cotton growing countries,
regulating chemicals. sometimes ranking below the national average
of a few resource-poor African countries such as
It is true that a few farmers in India Cameroon, Cote D’ivoire, Mali etc., which neither
manage to obtain high yields with good crop have Bt nor hybrids nor proper input access.
management, that generally includes drip
irrigation and chemical intensive practices. India is currently suffering a paradox of ‘low
However, the number of such farmers is yields with hybrids’. Hybrids compel farmers to
miniscule, and these practices cannot be
replicated in the fields of resource-poor farmers.
Interestingly, in the six leader countries, the
yields of almost all farms are closer to the high
national average. India should aim to increase
yields in the fields of resource-poor farmers
through good science.

There is a stark contrast in the plant breeding
objectives of India and the six-leader countries.
The biggest contrast is that while ‘India is
saturated with hybrid cotton and harvests about
1400 to 1500 kg seed-cotton per hectare, the
leader-countries are saturated with varieties
but harvest three-fold higher yields than India.
Seed-cotton yields are 4000 to 5000 kg/hectare
in Australia, China, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico.
The contrast extends to the scientific approach as


plant in low density because of high seed cost and received excessive rains for it to be extended 2-3
hybrid vigour which makes canopy management months beyond December thereby providing
a nightmare. The low density of 11,000 to 20,000 good inoculum of pink bollworm for the 2020
plants per hectare warrants long duration for high crop. Indian scientists must be on the guard to
yields so that each plant produces more number of protect the crop from the pink bollworm in 2020.
bolls. The hybrids are designed for hybrid vigour
which results in excessive vegetative growth and Cotton plants need about 80 per cent water
large number of monopodial branches. Indian and nutrients during the flowering and boll
hybrids average at 4.5 monopodial branches in formation stage, which is referred as ‘the critical
contrast to 1-2 in the leader countries. The hybrids window’. Incidentally the critical window is most
in India must produce more bolls per plant; the vulnerable to bollworms; any stress during this
plants take a longer time for higher yields, or time adversely affects the yields depending on
if terminated prematurely result in low yields. the level of stress. A low density crop (as in India)
Unfortunately, this factor puts spokes in the wheel leads to longer duration of the critical window
for high yields. (80-120 days) leading to stress of nutrient and
water availability, whereas, a high density crop
India has thus inconveniently moved into a (>100,000 plants per hectare) has a short season
rigmarole situation where a long duration crop is and therefore a short critical window (50-60
necessary for high yields. However, with the pink days) that could get access to water and nutrients
bollworm developing resistance to Bt-cotton, the based on a well-planned planting time.
late season bolls could be eaten up by the worms.
Thus, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Indian India needs to seriously consider development
cotton is actually stuck between the devil and the and evaluation of the following systems: 1.
deep sea. If rains are good, the extended crop Cultivars with high harvest index; 2. High
suffers pink boll worm and reduces yields, and if density planting; 3. Canopy management; 4. Best
the rains are bad the crop gets terminated soon practices.
resulting in low yields. This strange predicament
could continue as long as the dependence on 1. CULTIVARS WITH HIGH HARVEST
‘high-boll-load-hybrid-plants’ would continue INDEX: Plant breeders must seriously consider
through a long duration crop. However, this year developing cultivars with the following features
could be an exception of the above phenomenon 1. Compact-short-statured plants; 2. Zero-
because last year, the crop was terminated in monopodial type; 3. Short season (140-150
time due to poor rains, leaving less scope for the days); 4. Resistance to sap-sucking insects and
pink boll worm to attack this year. Despite the local pathogens; 5. High initial shoot and root
good rains, India may not be able to harvest more vigour; and 6. High ginning per cent and good
than 560 kg lint per hectare. This year the crop quality fibre. These attributes lead to a high
harvest index apart from enabling a short critical
window that leads to less management problems
related to nutrients, water and pests. Compact
statured plants with short internodal length are
known to be more efficient in channelizing water
and nutrients to fruiting parts such as flowers
and bolls. Canopy management becomes easier
with plants that are designed to be genetically
compact. Resistance to sap sucking pests helps to
avoid early pesticide applications so that natural
control can be conserved to help in bollworm
management. Early or timely planting of the
short-season crop generally helps the crop to
escape the American bollworm and the late-
season pink bollworm infestation. High ginning
per cent leads to higher lint output and therefore
high economic yields.

Agronomists should seriously consider


standardizing optimum plant spacing and try a sole exception was that entomologists had a role in
geometry of 8-10 cm between plants in a row. recent times in developing technologies to combat
Planting direction must be adjusted to avoid the Bt-resistant pink bollworm. it is sad indeed
shading and to harness sunlight. Sowing time that such a potential scientific resource pool had to
must be adjusted to synchronize boll formation be relegated to a lesser role in the national cotton
phase with monsoon. Planting on ridges or scenario. At this juncture, it would be important
raised beds protects the crop against seedling for the Indian cotton scientists to rediscover their
pathogens, competition from weeds, waterlogging role by first introspecting as to why India ranks
and drought effects. below 32nd rank in yields? Why the yields have
been stagnating over the past 15-years despite
3. CANOPY MANAGEMENT: Indian doubling of fertilizer use? And what could be
scientists must focus on crop monitoring and done to break the yield-jinx. Indian cotton needs
canopy management with an objective to a breakthrough. With what is available in their
increase the harvest index. Agronomists must kitty, it is unlikely that the private sector would be
explore plant growth regulators and mechanical able to assist with yield improvements or a better
techniques of canopy management to ensure pest management. There is no evidence that the
optimum plant growth and to avoid unproductive three gene Bt-cotton (Cry1Ac+Cry2Ab+VIP3A)
vegetative growth. Removal of unproductive can protect the crop from the pink bollworm.
branches and biomass or restricting vegetative There is no evidence that HT has a significant
growth with growth regulating chemicals reduces advantage over manual or mechanical weeding.
boll shedding, increases boll size, increases the There are no new technologies in sight. Therefore,
number of fruiting nodes, enhances the dry mass it is important for Indian cotton scientists to gear
of fruiting parts and increases seed cotton yields. up and start building multi-disciplinary teams
with objectives of enhancing yields without any
4. BEST PRACTICES: Soil health is mostly increase in input use through novel approaches.
a function of good soil management practices that Changing the mindset of researchers and farmers
include, conservation tillage practices, cropping for new approaches such as compact plants with
systems, soil management, nutrient management, fewer bolls per plant, would be a great challenge in
soil-moisture management, minimizing chemical itself. But, these ideas are worth exploring because
toxicants, nitrogen fixation by plants and organic they have succeeded in countries such as Australia,
matter that is returned back to the soil as crop Brazil, China, Mexico, Turkey and USA, that are
residue biomass that in-turn is microbially placed in divergently different geographical areas,
converted to organic manure. While, best different agro-ecological zones and with a very
agronomic practices can ensure adequate water different socio-economic and cultural structure.
and nitrogen to seedlings and key nutrients to These basic suggestions are based on success
flowers and green bolls for high yields; IPM and stories and standard practices being followed in
IRM are crucial for pest management in India, the developed countries.
especially with the recent challenge posed by the
Bt-resistant pink bollworm. Cultivars that are It should be remembered that a success story
resistant to sap-sucking insects held in avoiding from a developed country may not find resonance
early pesticide use and thus hold the key to the in developing or underdeveloped countries which
consolidation of natural control which keeps are placed in completely different geographical
bollworms under check. Several legume intercrops domains and have a very different socio-economic
such as beans, cowpea, blackgram etc., host profile. However, lessons can always be learnt
predators and parasitoids of insect pests apart from anywhere and adapted to local conditions
from fixing nitrogen. through rigorous experimentation and validation.

For about the past twenty years, the private Good scientists never shy away from
sector hybrids have dominated the Indian cotton experimenting new ideas. If the yield-stagnation
seed market. Though Indian plant breeders have jinx has to be broken, new ideas must be tried
done commendable work, in the past 20 years, and tested so that effective alternatives can be
the excellent varieties developed by them did not developed. Success will eventually depend on
occupy even a fraction of the area over the past two how determined researchers are to try new things
decades. Cotton scientists from other disciplines to make a change.
have also been struggling to find relevance. The



Sr. Fellow, TERI-Deakin Nano-Biotechnology Centre,
The Energy Resource Institute (TERI)

Germplasm to genome

engineering - the new route for

sustainable green revolution
Ever since the domestication of plants
10,000 years ago, the use of plant genetic the 2nd largest genebank of the world with 0.45
resources by breeders in crop breeding million accessions of plant genetic resources for
programmes has led to the development food and agriculture is located in India. However,
of crop varieties that have contributed globally concerted efforts are needed to unlock this huge
towards increased food production. These genetic genetic potential by phenotyping and evaluating
resources for food and agriculture, however, need the entire collections of different crops in a
to be continually utilised for not only enhancing systematic fashion as earlier demonstrated in case
the food production but also for developing of wheat and chickpea.
nutritionally rich and climate resilient food crops
to meet the demand of the projected 10 billion With the availability of increasing number
people by 2050. The importance of plant genetic of crop genome sequences and the tools of
resources has increased significantly in the recent computational biology, it has become feasible
years in the wake of sustainability of agricultural to identify genes and alleles, which remained
production in a changing climate regime and with otherwise hidden in the diverse crop accessions
the advent of genomics and genome editing tools. in a genebank. The crop genomics is facilitating
continuously to help us gain insights into the
India is a biodiversity rich country and is deeper understanding of the functional diversity
endowed with vast biological resources in 3 out of present in millions of crop germplasm collections.
34 global biodiversity hotspots located here. Also,
More recently, the CRISPR-cas based genome
editing system has given rise to a novel platform
for adding new genetic traits or combinations
needed to further improve the existing high
yielding crops with features like climate resilience,
disease resistance, nutritional enrichment and
efficient utilization of natural resources.

Hence, it is now the time to combine
conventional plant breeding with precision
phenotyping, genomics and genome-based
editing tools for heralding a new sustainable food
production system keeping in view the United
Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs-



Former Deputy Director General (Engineering), ICAR, New Delhi
Founder Vice Chancellor, Doon University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand

Development of

agricultural mechanization

in India and future prospects
The first tractor to India was brought
in 1914.There were only about 8,000 As the volume of crop harvested increased
tractors in 1950 and these increased to manifold on irrigated farms using HYV seeds
39,000 units in 1960. Engines (petrol, these farmers also invested in purchasing
kerosene, and diesel) were being used for post- threshers, mainly for wheat crop, powered by the
harvest processing like floor making, rice milling, same engine or motor used for water pumping.
grinding, etc. Interestingly, initially many of the threshers were
fabricated by local black-smiths in small towns
India passed through severe food crisis using locally available materials, especially from
during sixties and the situation was called discarded Persian wheels. Farmers not owning
“ship to mouth”. During later-half of this threshers hired these from neighboring farmers
decade, important policy decisions were taken mostly on share of produce basis.
by the Government of India for bringing in
transformation. The government assured In fact, the mechanization of agriculture in
procurement of main crops from farmers at India was driven by assured price to farmers
minimum support price (MSP). There were only for their produce (wheat and rice initially). The
about 75,000 units of tractors (1 tractor/1800 ha) intensification of agriculture was assisted by
in India in 1967. higher inputs of farm power, but also because
the greater profitability of farming-generated
In 1970s in North India, with extensive surpluses that could be spent on capital
irrigation canal network, actual command equipment. With adoption of HYV seeds the
area of canals decreased significantly due to number of tractors doubled by 1971 and 96 per
increased water requirement of high yield cent of the tractors were privately owned on
variety (HYV) crops. To grow HYV crops farms of over 10 ha in size. By 1980, the number
farmers not owning tube-well pumps purchased of tractors was more than 500,000 (1 tractor/260
water from neighbor farmers and normally ha) which in 2010 reached about 4.0 million
payment was made after the sale of harvested units (1 tractor/35 ha). At present, India is the
crop. This was the beginning of custom hiring largest producer of tractors in the world at annual
of farm equipment. Thus, the first and most production of about 700,000 units with export of
important mechanization in India was ground over 10 per cent units.
water pumping using engine and electric motor
driven irrigation pumps. Through all these years, the economics of
ownership of most tractors had been justified by


from 3.3 million in 1981 to 6.7 million in 2010
and was estimated to be about 7 million in
2015. There was a phenomenal growth of farm
equipment due to favorable government policies
for promoting machinery manufacturing in
private sector.

Power availability per hectare is a common
indicator of mechanization. A strong linear
relationship between power available and
agricultural productivity was observed in case
of India. The agricultural mechanization in
India had large variations in terms of power
availability varying from 0.60 kW/ha in Orissa
to 3.7 kW/ha in Punjab during 2012. If the
agricultural areas in other parts of India having
reasonable water resources can have same level
of mechanization as in Punjab the agricultural
production in India can be increased to 450
million tonnes.

Figure1: Relationship between farm power and
productivity in different states of India (2012)

custom hiring for on-farm works as well as for Due to concerted efforts, the total food grain
off-farm transport and construction activities. production in India increased from 51 million
The use of tractors in transport activities tons during 1950, to 285 million tonnes in 2017-
accounted for more than 50 per cent of average 18. The use of chemical fertilizers increased from
annual use of about 600 hours. Many small about 0.5 kg/ha in 1950 to about 160 kg/ha in
farmers also started owning tractors due to
opportunity of custom hiring.

Also, over the years, due to rural
electrification majority of the irrigation pumps
are powered by electric motors and their size
has increased due to lowering of water table
in many areas. As the electricity to rural areas
for agricultural purposes in India is subsidized
most farmers either individually or jointly have
installed tube-wells wherever ground water is
available. The number of electric motor operated
pumps increased from four million in 1981 to 20
million in 2010 and was estimated to be about
25 million in the year 2015. The number of diesel
operated irrigation pumps has also increased


2017-18. The increased cropping intensity and intensive, can be done faster mechanically and
higher quantities of inputs and outputs could no at a lower cost. Whereas converting human
longer be effectively managed by animate power knowledge into machine knowledge is difficult
alone. Therefore, farmers adopted mechanical and costly.
power extensively and the growth of farm power
and agricultural machinery over last 50 years in Table 1 Sequence of Mechanization of
India has been phenomenal. During 2017-18, the Different Operations
food grain productivity was about 2.2 tonnes/
ha; cropping intensity: 142 per cent; and power Sequence Operation
availability was about 2.22 kW/ha.
Type of I II III
Sequence of Mechanization Operation High power Medium Low Power
Power High Skill
The growth of the mechanization in India Low skill Medium Skill
has followed the same general pattern found
worldwide as given in the table No.1. Farm Stationary Grinding, Grinding by Grinding by
operations requiring high power inputs and milling, size, cleaning quality
low control are mechanized first (tillage, crushing,
transport, water pumping, milling, threshing, water
etc.). Farm operations requiring medium levels pumping,
of power and control are mechanized next threshing
(seeding, spraying, intercultural operations,
etc.). Farm operations requiring high degree of Transplanting,
control and low power inputs are mechanized
last (transplanting, planting of vegetables, Mobile Land Seeding Harvesting
harvesting of fruits and vegetables, etc.). It preparation, of grain, of cotton,
happens so because any work, which is power Harvesting of Sugarcane,
Transport Fruits and


Based on my experience in India, I would
say that exploitation of ground water and
water from ponds and small reservoirs in


rural areas for irrigation should be the highest Table 2 Aspects of Indian Agriculture
priority to increase agricultural productivity. (1960-2010)
This can be done by farmers mainly; provided
supporting infrastructure is made available Item 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
by the government and necessary equipment,
spare parts and maintenance are provided by Agricultural 133 140 140 143 143 142
the private sector. For infrastructure markets land (mha)
connected by rural roads and offering reasonable
price for farmers' produce are necessary. Irrigation
Government should also provide electricity
in rural areas for domestic, agricultural (for pumps 0.4 3.3 6.2 12.9 19.5 25*
irrigation pumps) and agro-industries use.
With assured irrigation farmers will be able to (million)
plant HYV seeds and can apply higher doses of
fertilizers to get higher yield. With MSP for their Irrigated 19 22 28 33 34 35
produce farmers should make reasonable profit area
and invest in mechanization to purchase tractors, (percent)
power tillers, trailers, threshers and other farm
equipment. Cropping 1.15 1.18 1.23 1.30 1.33 1.39
Based on year-long survey (Singh and
Chancellor, 1975), it was found that agricultural Fertilizer 2 15 39 88 125 150
output of farms was related to energy inputs, use (kg/ha)
irrespective of ownership of farm power sources
(owned or rented) and the size of land holding Grain yield 700 860 1 000 1 300 1 600 1 900
had no effect on yield. Farmers with better (kg/ha)
management (i.e. timely operations, like sowing,
irrigation, weeding, fertilizer and pesticide Tractors 37 146 531 1 200 2 600 4 000
application; and proper amounts and right (thousands)
techniques of application) had higher yields than
those with poor management. Area per 3 600 960 260 120 55 36
tractor (ha)
It was also reported (Singh, 2001) that the
economics of ownership of most tractors in Power 0 9.5 16 31 100 155
India had been justified by custom hiring for tillers
on-farm works as well as for off-farm transport (thousand)
and construction activities. The use of tractors
in transport activities accounted for about Draft 80.4 82.6 73.4 70.9 60.3 50*
50 per cent of average annual use of 600 hours. animals
Many small farmers also started purchasing (million)
tractors due to opportunity of custom hiring.
Similarly, the ownership of many other farm *Estimated
machinery and equipment like, pumps for
tube-wells, seed-drills and planters is economic
due to renting out to other farmers. However,
ownership of large threshers, laser land
levelers and combine harvesters is mainly due
to custom work.

The growth in farm mechanization and
investments in machinery and equipment is
presented in Table 2 and can be divided into two
broad periods; (a) The initial period covering
the three decades 1942 to 1970 and (b) the four
decades from 1971 to 2010.

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