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The decline in agricultural yield and its consequence

Agriculture provides basic sustenance to all living beings. It is very important that ecologically, socially and economically sustainable agriculture should become the backbone of the development process of any country or state. Agriculture should be sustainable so that the natural resources such as soil, water and biodiversity are used efficiently and equitably. It should be economically variable and lead to increased employment opportunities, socially feasible, strengthening the role of women and other marginalized sections of the people.

Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 25% of the GDP and employed 57% of the total workforce. Despite a steady decline in its share in GDP it is still the largest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic development of India.

For example, Tamil Nadu which continues to occupy the top place in all of India’s ranking in the productivity of major crops is also facing challenges in the field of agriculture due to changes in land use patterns as well as drought situations.

There are various constraints to agriculture productivity such as fragmentation of land holdings, a transformation of cultivable area into dryland conditions, over-exploitation of irrigation sources, deterioration of soil health due to continuous intensive cropping, severe drought etc.

In the era of globalisation Indian agriculture will face increasing competition. During the initial period of the Green Revolution agricultural extension played a crucial role in carrying the message to the various states. However with the increased complexities in the market and society the extension methodology has to be sensitised to the new dimensions in agriculture.

Factors affecting low agricultural productivity in India

Illiteracy, general socio-economic backwardness, slow progression in implementing land reforms and inadequate or inefficient finance and marketing services for farm produce.

The average size of land holdings is very small and subject to fragmentation due to land ceiling act and in some cases family disputes. Such small holdings are often overmanned resulting in disguised unemployment and low productivity of labour.

Adoption of modern agriculture practice and use of technology is hampered by ignorance of such practices, high cost and impracticality in the case of small land holdings.

Irrigation facilities are inadequate as revealed by the fact that only 53.6% of the land was irrigated in recent years. Which results in farmers still being dependent on rainfall specially the monsoon season. A good monsoon results in a robust growth for the economy as a whole while a poor monsoon leads to sluggish growth.