Factors Affecting Agriculture In India
India is an agriculturally rich country with millions of acres of fertile land and plenty of natural resources. India ranks second in worldwide agricultural production, and the main reason behind it is the versatility of the cropping pattern, availability of fertile soil, and water, and the government’s agriculture-centred policies. However, the agricultural production doesn’t remain the same every year in India and there are many factors that affect the agriculture in India.
According to the stats, India ranks 1st in terms of the highest fertile land available with more than 17,235,800 square kilometers of cultivated land.
Some of the Major Factors Affecting Agriculture in India:
People usually believe that agriculture is mainly affected by climatic conditions, but there are many other factors that affect agriculture with the climatic condition being the most important. Some of the major factors affecting agriculture are discussed below.
A. Physical Factors:
Physical factors affecting agriculture in India mainly include the climate, soil, terrain, and topographical location. Climate is the most important determinant of agricultural production because every crop needs a different climatic condition. For example rice, corn and peas are cultivated in the rainy season, while the other hand crops like corn, tomato, and pumpkin are cultivated in the summer season in India. Each crop requires a specific amount of water and sunlight to grow as it’s the basic necessity for plants to carry out photosynthesis. Almost every year many farmers in India lose their crops due to bad climatic conditions. However, they do get compensated by the government for their losses. In 2017, the bad climatic condition lead to a loss of 1.5% in the total GDP of India. The fertility of the soil is also an important aspect of agriculture, the higher the fertility of soil more will be the more agricultural production. Also, some specific crops require specific soil to grow for example cotton only grows in the black soil. Alongside some special crops like tea leaves grows in higher terrain areas like Assam, thus the terrain and topographical location are also equally important for agriculture.
B. Infrastructure Factors:
Infrastructure is quite important in agricultural production as it compensates for the basic necessities of agriculture. For example, the primary requirement to grow any crop is electricity, a proper irrigation facility, a credit facility to buy crops, a good road network, and a decent storage facility to transport and store the crops. Thus, the GOI is focusing on improving the agricultural infrastructure by proving the farmers with the subsidy on irrigation, credit, and power. Also, the government is providing farmers with crop loans so that they get compensated in case of crop failure due to bad weather.
C. Institutional Factors:
Agriculture and agricultural production are also affected by the size of landholdings. The average landholdings of farmers in India are decreasing at a significant rate from 2.28 hectares in 1970-71 to 1.15 hectares in 2010-11. More than 82% of farmers in India are small and marginal farmers with an average land of not more than 2 hectares. It is difficult to earn a profit by cultivating crops in such a small area of 2 hectares. Sometimes the farmers are even unable to recover the cost they spent on the cultivation of their crops. One of the main reasons for decreasing land holding among farmers is the establishment of new industries on that land. When farmers are unable to get the best out of their land they sell to industrialists and this causes a decrease in landholdings.
D. Technological Factors:
Technological factors can play a significant role in increasing agricultural production. After the green revolution in the 1960s in India, high-yielding crops were introduced that can produce more crops in less area. After from this the enhancement in the agricultural technology lead to the development of new fertilizers and pesticides that protects the crops from weeds. The use of frame machinery like the cultivator and tractors reduced the manual labor and made the sowing and irrigation process simple and efficient. The use of tractors helped farmers to easily transport their crops from one place to another. That is why the GOI announced a 50% of subsidy for farmers on buying tractors under the PM Kisan tractor scheme.
However, this technological factor also has a darker side as it significantly contributes to soil, water, and air pollution. The pesticides used in the crops are made from certain harmful chemicals that cause soil pollution. When this soil mixes with the rainwater and gets into the lakes and rivers causes water pollution. While on the other hand agricultural machinery like tractors and threshers causes air pollution.
E. Political Factors:
Political factor is also an important factor that is not often taken into consideration for agricultural production. But it has a significant effect on agriculture in India, as farmers are being tempted by the political parties before the election by announcing certain promises for the welfare of Indian farmers. But it’s barely seen that any of that parties deliver their promises after getting into power. Also, government policies and subsidies decide the agriculture production as it motivates the farmers and provides financial support to grow the crops. The government of India launched many crucial policies in the favor of Indian farmers and that resulted in surplus agricultural production even at the time of the pandemic.
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