Agriculture plays a vital role in India’s economy. Over 58 per cent of the rural households depend on agriculture as their principal means of livelihood. Agriculture, along with fisheries and forestry, is one of the largest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
India ranks third in farm and agriculture outputs. Agricultural export constitutes 10 per cent of the country’s exports and is the fourth-largest exported principal commodity. The agro industry in India is divided into several sub segments such as canned, dairy, processed, frozen food to fisheries, meat, poultry, and food grains.
The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under the Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the development of the agriculture sector in India. It manages several other bodies, such as the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), to develop other allied agricultural sectors.
Over the recent past, multiple factors have worked together to facilitate growth in the agriculture sector in India. These include growth in household income and consumption, expansion in the food processing sector and increase in agricultural exports. Rising private participation in Indian agriculture, growing organic farming and use of information technology are some of the key trends in the agriculture industry.
As per the 4th Advance Estimates, food grain production is estimated at 252.68 million tonnes (MT) for 2014-15. Production of pulses estimated at 17.20 million tonnes.
With an annual output of 138 MT, India is the largest producer of milk. It also has the largest bovine population. India is the largest importer of pulses at 19.0 MT and 3.4 MT, respectively. India, the second-largest producer of sugar, accounts for 14 per cent of the global output. It is the sixth-largest exporter of sugar, accounting for 2.76 per cent of the global exports.
Spice exports from India are expected to reach US$ 3 billion by 2016–17 due to creative marketing strategies, innovative packaging, strength in quality and strong distribution networks. The spices market in India is valued at Rs 40,000 crore (US$ 6.16 billion) annually, of which the branded segment accounts for 15 per cent.
The procurement target for rice during marketing season (MS) 2015–16 has been finalised as 30 MT.
Several players have invested in the agricultural sector in India, mainly driven by the government’s initiatives and schemes.
According to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the Indian agricultural services and agricultural machinery sectors have cumulatively attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) equity inflow of about US$ 2,182 million from April 2000 to June 2015.
Some major investments and developments in agriculture in the recent past are as follows: