Live Better with the Flood

naipThe green revolution in wheat and rice, white revolution in milk, yellow revolution in oilseed and the “blue revolution” in fisheries have augmented the food basket of the country. But many technological challenges remain. First, despite the shrinking share (23%) of the agricultural sector in the economy, the majority of the labour force (nearly 60%) continues to depend on agriculture. About 75% of India’s poor people with low purchasing power live in rural areas and nearly 60% of the cultivated area is under rainfed farming.  Hence, the National Agricultural Policy and the Tenth Five Year Plan place high priority on raising agricultural productivity as a means to achieve more rapid agricultural growth and reduce rural poverty. Secondly, stagnating/decelerating productivity growth and declining total factor productivity in agriculture have cast doubts on the resilience of the sector to meet the challenges of a more market-driven and competitive regime. Related to the issue of stagnating productivity is the obvious limited connection between input use and productivity growth performance. Thirdly, current unsustainable land and water use practices will lead to lower agricultural productivity in the future.  Fourthly, ensuring economic and ecologically sound access to food to every Indian, while conserving and improving the natural resources and traditional wisdom, in a more competitive regime, is yet another challenge.

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