Indian Agriculture- History of Indian Agriculture

 The history of agriculture and civilization go hand in hand as the food production made it possible for primitive man to settle down in selected spots leading to formation of society and initiation of civilization.

Western Asia is considered to be the birth place of agricultural revolution where wild ancestors of wheat and barley and domesticated animals like goat, sheep, pig and cattle are found. The period from 7500-6500 B.C. was the period of discovery of agriculture.

The period from 3000-1700 B.C. marked the spread of agricultural revolution to Egypt and subsequently to Indus valley. Mohenjodaro to Harappa territory was the centre of agricultural revolution in Indus valley.

Agriculture was very important profession during Vedic age 1500-1000 B.C. Use of iron implements, particularly iron ploughs became prevalent. Buddhist period 600 BC marks the importance of trees. It can be called as a period of Arboriculture and Horticulture.

During the first century of Christian era the most important development in agriculture was irrigated cultivation in agriculture. Irrigated cultivation of rice in South India Cauvery River was the most important source of irrigation water. Cultivation of rice, finger millet, Sugarcane, Pepper and turmeric was quite common.

During British period the most important development in agriculture was cultivation of commercial crops like cotton, sugarcane and Indigo. The reason for introducing commercial crops in India by Britishers, they felt need of raw materials for their industrial growth and they got huge amount from European market by selling our commercial crops there.

After Independence during 1950’s there was food crisis in India. India imported wheat from USA and rice from Myanmar. During mid 1960’s green revolution was started in India. After green revolution India became a food surplus country.

Global Agriculture:

Advancement of civilization is closely related to agriculture which produces food to satisfy hunger. In the world nearly one billion people are living below poverty line. Therefore, the increased food production should aim at trebling food production in the next century.

For crop production the basic input is land. The FAO’s analysis of growth patterns in crop output in developing countries shows that 63% of the growth in production come from higher yields and 15% from higher cropping intensity, only 22% is from land resource.

Environmental degradation is increasing at a pace that is impairing the productivity of land and undermining the welfare of millions of rural people.

Cereals are grown throughout the world to provide food for human consumption and fodder for livestock. They are grown in 73% of the world’s arable land and contribute 74% of the global calorific production. Demand for food is growing with ever increasing population.

Indian Agriculture:

In India, more than 70% of the population is depending on agriculture in one form or the other. The present population is about 1000 million which is expected to stabilize at about 1500 million by the middle of present century. This trend of population growth created alarming situation as the scope of increasing area under cultivation is limited.

Importance of Agriculture in Indian Economy:Importance of agriculture can be measured by the share of agriculture in national income and employment pattern etc. Knowing the importance of agriculture, agriculture sector can be related with the industrial sector.

Share of Agriculture in National Income:Agricultural share in India’s GDP was 14.02 percent on 2010-11. India’s GDP shown robust growth (never less than 5 percent since 1990-91) which shows that non-agricultural sectors (particularly to service sector) have grown at the expense of agriculture. This is a trend that takes place the fundamentals of the Indian economy closer to the developed economies.

Indian Agriculture and Pattern of Employment:Very high proportion of working population in India is engaged in agriculture. According to India’s census figure, 66 percent of India’s working population is engaged in agriculture. Where as in U.K. and U.S.A. 2 to 3 per cent, in France 7 percent and in Australia 6 percent of working population is engaged in agriculture.

Importance of Agriculture for Industrial Development:Indian Agriculture has been source of supply of raw materials to our leading industry. Cotton, Jute, Textile Industry, Sugar, Vanaspati and Plantation depend upon agriculture directly.

There are many other industries which depend on agriculture in indirect manner. Many of our small and cottage industries, handloom, oil industry, rice mills and sugar mills depend upon agriculture for their raw materials. They account for 50 percent of income generated in manufacturing sector in India.

However, in recent years the importance of food processing industry is being recognized both for generation of income and employment opportunities.

Role of Agriculture in the field of International Trade:Agriculture products like tea, oilseeds, tobacco and spices constitute the main items of exports of India. The proportion of agricultural goods which are exported may account for 50 percent of our export and another 20 percent of exports from manufactures with agricultural content.

In total 70 percent of India’s exports comes from agricultural sector. The increased exports pay for the imported oil, machinery, etc.

Role of Agriculture in Economic Planning:Agriculture is main support for India’s transport system. Transport systems like railway and roadways secure bulk of business from movement of agriculture goods and international trade is mostly in agriculture products. Many other economic activities like food grain business, dairying and fruit marketing seed and agricultural machinery etc. also depends upon agriculture. Economic condition of govt, to large extent depend upon prosperity of agriculture. It is therefore clear that agriculture is the back bone of Indian economy and prosperity of agriculture largely influence the Indian Economy.