Agriculture Story

Agriculture Story

India ranked third among top 3 global producers of food grains with production of 264.77 million metric tons (MMT), after China at 551 MMT and United States at 437 MMT (The World Bank, 2015).

  In 1950, Indian agricultural output was a meager 50.82 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) of food grains to feed 361 million mouths, and composed of;

  • Rice - 20.58 MMT
  • Wheat – 6.46 MMT
  • Coarse cereals – 15.38 MMT
  • Pulses – 8.41 MMT (Govt. of India, 2015).

  Post-independence, policy makers emphasized increasing production of fertilizers and area of irrigated lands. Tall and thin straw varieties of crops were unable to hold nutrientfortified grains.

  By 1960s, India was world’s leading importer of food grains under the Food for Peace Program, popularly known as PL 480 program of the United States, and imported nearly 16 million metric tonnes of food grains. The dangers of food scarcity, excessive dependence on food imports and low foreign exchange reserves, constituted potential threats to India’s security.

  Policy makers and scientists imported high-yielding varieties (HVY) of wheat seeds from CIMMYT Mexico, and short-stiff straw rice varieties from Japan, and later from Taiwan and IRRI in Philippines. New farming and irrigation techniques to increase agricultural yields were also initiated (Swaminathan, 2012).

  By the late 1960s, wheat production tripled to 20.09 MMT and production of rice doubled to 40.43 MMT, as a result of the High-Yielding Varieties (HYV) program implemented by Govt. of India in 1966-67 ( (Planning Commission, 2014).

  In 2011, 263 million Indians were classified as ‘agricultural workers’, a nearly two-fold increase from 131.1 million in 1960 (Govt. of India, 2015).

Works Cited  

  • Govt. of India. (2015, January 28). Agriculture Statistics at a Glance. Retrieved February 10, 2015, from Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture:
  • Planning Commission. (2014, April 04). High-Yielding Varieties Programs in India Part 1 - 1971. Retrieved October 10, 2014, from Summary of Evaluation Studies Conducted By Programme Evaluation Organisation:
  • Swaminathan, M. S. (2012, January 3). Food as people's right. Retrieved February 2, 2013, from The Hindu:
  • The World Bank. (2015, April 17). World Development Indicators. Retrieved May 07, 2015, from Google Public Data:
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