India's progress in the agricultural sector has been enormous since the dawn of Independence over 50 years ago. Productivity has increased over 3 times compared to 1950. As an example, India's productivity in cassava growing is the highest in the world at 24.5 tonnes/hectare. India's diverse agriculture sector contributes almost a quarter of India's GDP (Gross Domestic Product). India has achieved self-sufficiency in foodgrains production and is able to export surplus production to many countries. There are two major crop seasons in India, the kharif (starts with the onset of the South West monsoon) and the winter crop, or rabi. Some areas manage a third annual crop.

Paddy fields a few meters below sea level in Alappuzha, Kerala.
Paddy fields a few meters below sea level in Alappuzha, Kerala.

India is the world's second largest foodgrain, fruit and vegetable producer. 175 different types of vegetables are grown in India although potato, tomato, onion, cabbage and cauliflower account for 60 per cent of the total production. India's main foodgrain crops include rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses. India grows a wide variety of horticultural crops including vegetables, fruits, potatoes, medicinal and aromatic plants and plantation crops. India is self-sufficient (with surplus production in many crops) in food production but needs to import substantial amounts of edible oil (oilseeds) and pulses. Agro-processing industries have grown rapidly in India. As an example the sugar industry has an annual turnover of some Rs 250 billion providing direct employment to over half a million people. India's wheat and rice stocks reached almost 30 million tons at the beginning of 2005.

India's plantation crops include tea, coffee, cardamom, pepper, vanilla and rubber.

Cardamom
Cardamom, small (Elettaria cardamomum Maton) - India produced 11 385 tons of cardamom in 2004-05 of which 620 tons were exported. Exports have dwindled due to stiff competition from Guatemala. Large cardamom (Amomum subulatum Roxb) is grown in Sikkim and Darjeeling.

India is the largest producer in the world of the following main agro crops: Tea, mango, banana, cauliflower, ginger acid lime, sapota, cashew and milk.

  • Total value of output: Rs 6.48 trillion¹
  • Foodgrain production (2013-14 estimate): 265 million tonnes
  • Vegetable production: 90 million tonnes
  • Fruit production: 47.5 million tonnes
  • Agricultural and allied products exports (2004-05): USD 8.0 bn
  • Milk production: 138 million tonnes (2013-14)
  • Total cattle population (10/2000): 313 million
  • Fish production: 9.6 million tonnes (2013-14)
  • Spice production: 3.1 million tonnes¹
  • Tractors sold: 225 280¹
  • Marine fishing fleet: 281 000 traditional craft, 53 648 mechanised craft and some 170 large fishing vessels
2003-04 figures unless otherwise noted
¹ 2001-02
² 2002-03

AGRO EXPORTS

Mangoes and lychees Above pic: Mangoes and lychees. India contributes over half of the world mango (Mangifera indica) production. Indian mangoes come in dozens if not hundreds of varieties. Mangoes are very healthy as can be seen from this nutrition table. 2005 has seen a bumper crop of mangoes, West Bengal's production alone will be around 800 000 tons. Mangoes worth Rs 840 m were exported in fiscal year 2003-04.

India exported a wide range of agri products valued at USD 8 bn during 2004-05. Marine products, oil meals, shellac, rice, tea, coffee, cotton, cashew, spices and wheat are some of the main exported agro products. Fresh processed fruits and vegetable exports amount to an estimated USD 400 million. Spice exports amounted to 318,635 tons with a value of Rs 32 bn in the first nine months of 2007-08. Spices exported include black pepper, cardamom, red chili, coriander, pepper, mint and fenugreek. Agri imports amounted to USD 2.3 billion, mainly comprising of edible oils. India is the second largest rice exporting nation after Thailand.












 MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENTS

FISHING

Fishing boats
A minor fishing harbour at Namkhana - Southern West Bengal

DAIRY INDUSTRY

COTTON

Cotton in India is cultivated in an area totalling almost 9 million hectares, more than any other country. India is now the second largest producrer of cotton in the world, although yields per hectare are still low compared to other major producers such as China and the United States. Yields differ depending on the type of agroclimatic conditions and seeds used. Total production was amounted to almost 28 million bales, or 4.75 million tonnes in the last 12-month season ended July 2007. The current season is expected to yield a bumper crop of over 5.3 m tonnes. The four largest cotton producing states include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.

The export of cotton is expected to grow to 7.8 m bales. China (the largest producer of cotton) and India alone contribute almost 60 per cent of the global cotton production.

JUTE

India is the largest producer of jute fibre. West Bengal and Bihar are the largest jute growing states. Jute cultivation is labour intensive and gives a livelihood to an estimated four million families. Jute is a very versatile fibre and has many applications such as biodegradeble packaging material (Hessian and sacking). Tossa, White, Mesta and Bimli are the most prominent varieties of jute grown.

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