The per hectare productivity of most of the agricultural crops cultivated in India is less as compared to China and many countries in Europe and America. Major reasons for low productivity of agricultural crops in India are varied agro climatic conditions, pre dominantly rain-fed agriculture, inefficient use of irrigation resources, weather extremities, fragmented land holdings, complex diseases and pests scenario, low use of good quality seeds and low adoption of improved package of practices, etc. Further, in the above countries, the agricultural crops are largely grown in high input management conditions with long growing period and without any moisture stress.
In order to increase the production and productivity of agricultural crops in the country and improve income levels of farmers, the Indian government state governments, is implementing several crop development schemes/programmes such as National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI), National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP), National Mission on Agriculture Extension & Technology (NMAET), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH); National Mission on Agricultural Extension & Technology (NMAET); Unified National Agriculture Markets, etc.
Under these schemes/programmes, funds are provided to states for implementation of state-specific agricultural strategies including incentives to farmers for use of quality seeds, integrated nutrient management (INM), integrated pest management (IPM), farm mechanisation, etc. The states are also provided support for creation of agricultural infrastructure for optimal use of water and other natural resources.
Also, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is conducting research programmes in different crops in 24 commodity/theme based research institutes. These institutes undertake basic and strategic research programmes related to crop improvement, crop production and protection technologies in different crops. The technical information so developed is used by 31 crop related All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRPs) to develop location specific varieties and technologies for different agro-ecological needs to enhance production and productivity. Improved varieties/hybrids of major crops such as rice, wheat, maize, sorghum, pearl millet, pulses etc. have been released to ensure supply of quality seed to farmers.
These varieties and hybrids are being promoted through front line demonstrations and other promotion programmes/schemes through state agricultural universities and krishi vigyan kendras (KVKs). Besides, integrated nutrient, water and weed management strategies have been developed by crop institutes of ICAR to meet location-specific requirements to achieve higher productivity.
Increase in the productivity of crops is not the only solution to prevent farmers from committing suicide. Farmers’ welfare will improve if there is an increase in the net income from the farms along with increase in the productivity of crops. With this end in view, besides enabling higher productivity, the approach of the government is also to reduce cost of cultivation and ensure realisation of remunerative prices to farmers for their produce. The important initiatives in this direction include
- Soil health card (SHC) scheme,
- Promotion of neem coated urea
- Implementation of parampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and
- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), etc.
In addition, the government is also implementing a number of crop development schemes/programmes such as a new crop insurance scheme—Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) to replace National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified NAIS (MNAIS) from Kharif 2016 season. This scheme would provide insurance cover for all stages of the crop cycle including post-harvest risks in specified instances.
—Inputs from the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, March 2016.