Agronomy Notes for UPSC IAS Exam [Part 5]

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Horticulture in India-
Horticulture sector in India

• India is the second largest producer of vegetables and a big player in fruit production

National Horticulture Survey says 18% growth in production

• Prospects- diversification of crops, income, increasing urban demand, food processing industry, diverse agroclimatic zones

• Govt has been running National Horticulture Mission

• Recentry, it launched operation Greens with focus on reducing price volatility and increasing production- TOP

• Supplementary schemes- fasal bima, SAMPADA scheme, price stabilization fund, etc

• Concerns- logistics, price fluctuation, lack of preservation infra, legislations like ECA and APMC.

National Horticulture Survey-

• Area under horticulture rose by 18%, whereas, it is 5% for food grains

• Fruits and Vegetables accounts for 90% horticulture production of India.

• The inception to shift towards horticulture started from 2012-13, when horticulture production surpassed the food grain production.

• Area under horticulture crops rose by 2.7% per annum, and production by 7% annually.

• Highest annual production growth of 9.5 per cent recorded by fruits – especially citrus.

• Highest intake of vegetables and fruits is in urban areas as compared to rural areas.

• Grapes occupy the top position in terms of export over other horticulture fruits.

Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana

• Groups of farmers would be motivated to take up organic farming under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY). Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50 acre land to take up the organic farming under the scheme.

• In this way during three years 10,000 clusters will be formed covering 5.0 lakh acre area under organic farming. There will be no liability on the farmers for expenditure on certification.

• Every farmer will be provided Rs. 20,000 per acre in three years for seed to harvesting of crops and to transport produce to the market.

Organic Farming in India

• Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.

• Thus Organic farming uses natural fertilizers and pesticides and strictly limits (not eliminates completely) the use of synthetic and non-natural processes

Advantages of Organic Farming

• Organic farming is definitely healthier and safe than non-organic farming.

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• Organic farms have higher levels of soil biological activity and biodiversity;

Farmers can reduce their production costs because they do not need to buy expensive chemicals and fertilizers.

• Organic agriculture causes less pesticide contamination in food, people and the environment;

• In the long term, organic farms save energy and protect the environment.

• Pollution of ground water is stopped.

Disadvantages of organic farming

• Lack of convenience.

• Organic food is more expensive.

• Food safety concerns.

• Productivity is low.

• How to certify a crop is organic?

FSSAI formulated draft regulations for Organic Food in 2017

• Compliance with National Program for Organic Production for certification,

• Standardization and quality check

• It also introduced the Jaivik Bharat logo to certify organic foods.

• Under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, assistance will be given to traditional menthods of farming like yogik farming, gou mata kheti, Vedic farming, Vaishnav kheti, Ahinsa farming, Adhvoot Shivanand farming, and rishi krishi and modern methods like Permaculture and Zero Based Natural Farming.

Sikkim’s organic farming mission since 2004 to be mentioned as way forward

Tax on Agricultural Income –

• Tax officials at Rajasva Gyan Sangam advise PM to tax agricultural income above a certain threshold. Also suggested by Debroy committee of NITI Aayog.

• If decided, it needs a constitutional amendment.

Need for tax on Agriculture income in India–

• Tax base low only 4%, if revenues are to increase, we have to tax agri income.

• Tax:GDP ratio is only 13%.

• PIL are filed in Patna HC about claims of agri income more than 1 crore asking for tax exemption. It is suspected that tax avoidance and tax evasion is practised.

It will settle issue of title deeds of farmers.

• Keller committee suggested tax slabs in agri which can leave out small farners

• Money thus earned can be invested in agriculture

Arguments Against tax on Agriculture income in India –

• Politically impossible.

• 2 years drought has reduced incomes of all.

• Tax on agriculture in entry no.14 of state list. So individual states will have to decide on this issue

• Agri income fluctuates every year. So tax revenues wont stay same.

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Average of last 3 and 5 years is proposed by NITI Aayog.

• 2010-11 Agri census said 95% farmers own less than 10 acre holding. So most won’t pay taxes

Government Schemes for Agriculture in India

National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP)

• It aims to bring an additional area of 1.25 lakh hectare under oil palm cultivation by the end of 2016-17.

• Increasing irrigation coverage under oilseeds from 26 percent to 38 percent;

• Diversification of area from low yielding cereals crops to oilseeds crop

• Inter-cropping of oilseeds and use of fallow land along with area expansion under oil palm.

• Enhancing procurement of oilseeds and collection.

Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan

Mahaabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme was announced in Budget 2018. It aims to incentivize farmers to run solar farm water pumps and use barren land for generating solar power to have extra income

Zero base Natural Farming- It is based on 3 pillars- Bijamrita or seed enhancing, Jeevamrita or fertilizers, Waphasa or soil moisture and mulching

PM AASHA scheme-

An umbrella scheme for supporting the farmers-

• Price Support Scheme- under nafed and fci. Oilseeds, pulses and copra

• Price Deficiency Payment Scheme

Pilot Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme

Couldnt take off well as the selling price was below MSP, combined with drought.


• Earlier launched for 12 crore small and marginal farmers

• It includes payment of Rs 6000 to farmer accounts in three tranches in a year

• It was later expanded to cover all farmer families

• It is based on concept of Direct Income Support. The logic is that farmer will decide for himself where to spend money.


• Too less money for subsistence

• Money is spent on useless expenditure and alcohol

• Inclusion and exclusion errors

Feminization of Agriculture-

• Agri survey says 33% of cultivators and 47% of labourers are women

• Role of women due to migration of men

• Women in supportive roles in ploughing, seeding, post harvest processes

• Allied industries like dairy, poultry, fisheries and horticulture have women

• Prospective role- conservation of biodiversity, varieties, shift to organic farming, behaviorial change and entrepreneurial spirit

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Private Investment in Agriculture

• It hovers around 20% of agri GDP.

• The investment has been increasing mainly in R&D and has the potential to spur agriculture growth to 5% according to Ashok Gulati.

• Ministry of food processing has proposed corporate farming where industries will help farmers with technology and farmers will produce what industries want.

Shanta Kumar committee report on a bigger role to private sector in stockholding and distribution process.

• Private investment is coming in cold chains and overall FDI is increasing. The investments for building value chains from producer to retailer will come from private sector.

Public Expenditure on Agriculture

• Public expenditure is failing because a majority goes in input subsidies like urea, power, irrigation and hardly any in investment. Thus, we need private investment as the Gross Capital Formation by private sector is more than the public sector.

• In reality, the returns on investments are many times higher than those from subsidies. In spite of that, we spend more on subsidies due to short term political gains.

• A Crisil study states that less than 10% public spending is on capital formation.

• Nabard under long term irrigation fund to raise money to fund select important irrigation projects.

• Govt’s budgetary focus on irrigation- 89000 cr for AIBP.

• Micro-irrigation fund by NABARD. Money will be given as concessional loans to states