An increase in agricultural production can result from an increase in area under cultivation (horizontal expansion) and /or from an increase in the productivity (vertical expansion). Productivity has two aspects to it, viz., land productivity and labour productivity.
India with its sizable agricultural sector has to face a number of problems. Low production and low productivity are at the core of agricultural problem In India. The productivity of agriculture is relatively low in India compared to other countries with comparable natural environment. There have been some improvements in recent years. But conditions in agriculture have not changed much. It will be useful to analyze the factors responsible for the backwardness of are agriculture. The factors are classified into
3.Institutional factors and
The most important demographic factor responsible for low yield in agriculture is the increasing pressure of population on land. With population growth rates being what they are, an increasing addition to the labour force could be expected to be absorbed in the industrial sector of the economy. But the rate of growth in the industrial sector has been far from adequate. Consequently, the increasing population has fallen back on land for its livelihood, with the result that the population pressure has created a number of problems like fragmentation and subdivision of holdings; the supply of improved practices and services has always fallen short of requirements. It has created conditions of unemployment and disguised unemployment. All these evils, taken together have been responsible for low productivity in agriculture.
The main cause for the low agricultural labour productivity is the overcrowding in agriculture. There are many people who depend on agriculture. As population increases, the pressure on land also increases, because natural increase is not absorbed by the industrial sector.
b) Discouraging Rural climate
The farmers of India generally are poor, ignorant, superstitious, conservative, and illiterate and bound by outmoded customs and institutions such as the caste system and the joint family system. Superstition and belief in fact are the curses, which keep the farmers fully satisfied with their primitive system of cultivation. Except for a small group of farmers, who adopted quickly modern techniques of production, vast majority of farmers are not motivated by considerations of economic progress.
c) Inadequate non-farm services
Indian agriculture has suffered because of the inadequacy of non-farm services such as provision of finance, marketing etc. All these facilities are inadequate in India. Marketing system is defective and costly. Modern warehousing is inadequate and indigenous. Storing methods are defective and costly. Modern credit facilities are still poorly developed for the farmers. Farmers still depend on moneylenders for their day-to-day requirements.
a. Size of holdings
The average size of holdings in India is very low. About 80 percent of the land holdings are less than 2 acres. Not only agriculture holdings are small but they are fragmented too. In certain parts of the country, plots of land have become so small that it is impossible to move even ordinary plough. Since the average agricultural holdings are too small, no scientific cultivation with improved implements, seeds etc. are possible. Small size of holdings lead to great waste of time, labour and cattle power, difficulty in proper utilization of irrigation facilities, quarrels and consequent litigation among farmers, wastage of crops in the absence of fencing etc.
b. Defective land tenure structure
The land tenure system in India has been depressing and disincentive ridden. It has built in features to support stagnation. The main features have been the presence of intermediaries; exploitative owner-tenant relationship; small and fragmented holdings; and the heavy and ever increasing pressure of population on land.
a)Poor inputs and techniques
The method and techniques of cultivation have been old and inefficient. It results in high cost and low productivity. These methods have not undergone any change for centuries. The investment in agriculture in the form of manures and fertilizers, improved seeds, irrigation, tools and implements and other types of assets has been miserably low.
b) Inadequate irrigation facilities
One of the basic causes for the weakness of Indian agriculture has been that most of the farmers throughout the country have to depend upon rainfall and very few of them can avail the facilities of artificial irrigation.
c) Indebtedness of the farmers
It is said that the farmers in India are born in debt, live in debt, die in debt and bequeath debt. The causes of their indebtedness are many such as hereditary debt, litigation, want of supplementary incomes and wasteful social expenditure.
d) Inadequate Research
Benefit of research and development has not reached all the farmers. Extension is confined to a few individuals and the modern pattern of farming is yet to take roots in the countryside.
e) Remedial measures
The above causes of low agricultural productivity also suggest their own remedies. Following remedial measures should be taken in order to solve various problems of Indian agriculture.
Co-operative joint farming should be launched on a national scale
Check on the population growth
Arrangements for better manures
Use of better seeds
Alternative arrangements for irrigation facilities.
Improvements in agricultural credit
Reclamation of waste lands
Consolidation of holdings
Use of new implements
Soil conservation and intensive cultivation
Improvement in marketing system
Encouragement to agricultural research and plant protection.
It is our responsibility to do all within our means to improve agriculture in India. The future of our rural population, solution of food and food problems and industrial development of our country depend upon agriculture only.