Agriculture is the dominant sector of the Indian economy, which determines the growth and sustainability of the country too. India is the second-largest producer of food in the world and holds the potential of being the biggest on global food and agriculture canvas, according to a Corporate Catalyst India (CCI) survey. About 65 per cent of the population still relies on agriculture for employment and livelihood. The sector contributes approximately 16 per cent of total gross domestic product (GDP) and 10 per cent of export earnings.
During 2012-13, the agriculture sector is expected to witness a growth of 2.4 per cent, according to the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). The Gross Capital Formation (GCF) in agriculture and allied sectors was Rs 142254 crore (US$ 25.68 billion) in 2010-11 as compared to Rs 76,096 crore (US$ 13.71 billion) in 2004-05, as per the Annual Report 2011-12 of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.
The green revolution transformed India from a food deficient stage to a surplus food market. In a span of three decades, India has become a net exporter of food grains. The transformations in the sector are due to factors such as new and improved technologies, easy credit facilities, interest of the organised sector, rapid growth of contract farming, and investor friendly Government policies.
Exports of agricultural products are expected to cross US$ 22 billion mark by 2014 and account for 5 per cent of the world's agriculture exports, according to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
Sugar output in India grew 13 per cent during October 2011-March 2012, to touch 23.2 million tonnes (MT) as compared to 20.45 MT in the same period last year, according to the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).
Further, cotton yarn exports have increased by 15 per cent during 2011-12, due to rising demand in the foreign markets. During the last financial year, 872.68 million kg of cotton yarn were exported, as compared to 720 million kg in 2010-11, according to the data compiled by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
Meanwhile, oil meal exports from the country has registered 8 per cent growth in volume and touched a figure of 5.5 MT in the financial year 2011-12 as compared to 5.1 MT in 2010-11.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a loan of US$ 67 million to Bihar for expanding agriculture value chain and to facilitate linkages for small farmers with food processors, agribusiness entrepreneurs and service providers in Mazaffarpur, Patna and Nalanda districts.
The total planned expenditure for the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is increased by 18 per cent from Rs 17,123 crore (US$ 3.08 billion) in 2011-12 to Rs 20,208 crore (US$ 3.64 billion) in 2012-13. The outlay for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) is being increased from Rs 7,860 crore (US$ 1.42 billion) in 2011-12 to Rs 9,217 crore (US$ 1.66 billion) in 2012-13. Further, the amount of Rs 10 billion (US$ 180.10 million) has been allocated for "Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India" initiative, compared to Rs 4.0 billion (US$ 72.04 million) in 2011-12.
The sector attracted foreign direct investments (FDI) worth Rs 93.18 crore (US$ 16.78 million) in the month of May 2012 as compared to Rs 29.58 crore (US$ 5.33 million) during the corresponding month in 2011.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has increased financial assistance in Gujarat by 50 per cent in 2011-12, to Rs 4,340 crore (US$ 781.63 million) as compared to Rs 2,894 crore (US$ 521.21 million) in the previous fiscal. The assistance is provided mainly for supporting agriculture, rural development and rural infrastructure development in Gujarat.