Agriculture plays a crucial role in developing India's economy. According to Census 2011, almost 54.6% of the country's workforce is engaged in agriculture and allied sector activities, accounting for approximately 18.8% of Gross Value Added (GVA) for 2021-22. Given the importance of agriculture in India, the government has taken multiple steps for its development.
In the past two years, the role of agriculture in the Indian economy has gained prominence. The sector surged at 3.9% in 2021-22 and 3.6% in 2020-21, demonstrating buoyancy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another trend observed is significant growth in allied sectors (forestry and logging, livestock, aquaculture and fishing) versus the crop sector. These allied sectors can help in increasing agriculture income.
As per the First Advance Estimates for FY 2022-23 (kharif only), the total foodgrain production in India is projected at 149.92 million tonnes, which is 6.98 million tonnes more than the average foodgrain production for the last five years (2016-17 to 2020-21). Additionally, the total kharif rice production for 2022-23 is projected at 104.99 million tonnes, which are 4.40 million tonnes more than the mean kharif rice production recorded in the last five years (2016-17 to 2020-21). The agriculture sector is developing day after day due to the persistent hard work of Indian farmers, competence of scientists and agriculture-friendly policies of the government. In the past 10 years (2011-12 to 2020-21), total production of foodgrains (including rabi and kharif) increased at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.0% from 259.29 in 2011-12 to 310.74 million tonnes in 2020-21.
Agriculture and its allied sectors are undoubtedly one of India's largest livelihood providers. The sector contributes substantially to GDP. Sustainable agriculture, in the context of rural employment, food security and environment-friendly technologies, such as biodiversity protection, soil conservation and natural resource management, is necessary for holistic rural development. Moreover, the activities within the sector have seen a green revolution, yellow revolution, white revolution and blue revolution.
Agritech is the use of innovation and technology for farming that is developed to enhance profitability and efficiency. Commonly used in agriculture and horticulture, agritech can be used in aquaculture, forestry and viticulture. Agritech helps to improve farming via weather analysis, information monitoring, air and temperature analysis, etc., and includes the usage of automation such as irrigation and controlling heaters and using pest control via aerosol pheromone dispersal.
Agritech offers the chance to address a large number of pain points in India's agriculture sector, thus developing the market potential. Technology can help in modernising and introducing systemic efficiency in the agriculture sector and can open up investment prospects.