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Integrated Transformation of Agriculture:

Look at the food and nutritional security of human society of the 21st century

Agriculture is the lifeline of India as being central to food security, nutritional


security, poverty alleviation, socio-economic stability and sustainable development. Though
contribution to nation’s GDP is 18% yet agriculture is the major profession providing
employment to more than 58% households in rural India. Indian agriculture is vibrant,
responding and gigantic enterprise with annual production of 285 million tons of food grains,
181 million tons of vegetables, 115 million tons of fruits, 25.3 million tons of pulses, 174 million
tons of fresh milk, 74 billion of poultry eggs and11.5 million tons of fish. In spite of this,
nutritional security to many and food security to 115 millions, targets of higher livestock and
crop productivity, consumers’ demand for innovative agri-products and export orientation are yet
to be achieved. This advocates factorial analysis of agriculture and renovations and reforms in
earlier and present recommendations. Major factors impacting Indian agriculture comprise
weather parameters, monsoon, irrigation patterns, crop and livestock nutrition,
government policy (federal as well as state), commodity prices (global, national as well as
local) and consumers’ preferences. The predictability as well as modeling of risks on above
mentioned factors, is a herculean task. In fact, the number of factors impacting the viability of
agriculture sector, as well as the volatility in the magnitude of these factors is increasing and
thus, the sector requires integrated transformation for sustainable development and stable food
security.
The Indian agriculture sector is witnessing a massive transformation because of
technological interventions and governmental initiatives. In the past three consecutive budgets,
the agriculture sector has received special attention but this time the focus of the Indian Union
Budget is on agribusiness and “agri-value” addition. In the Indian Union Budget 2018-19, the
government has allocated Rs. 14.5 lakh crores ($222.4 billion) for the rural development and
agriculture sector. Indian government has set a target to double farmers’ income by 2022. Indian
finance minister has announced a number of initiatives, keeping the recommendations of the
Doubling Farmers’ Income committee in mind, for example the decision to keep MSP
(Minimum Support Price) for crops at least at one and- half times of their production cost. For
those farmers who are not in a position to directly transact at APMCs (Agriculture Produce
Market Committees) and other wholesale markets, the government has decided to develop and
upgrade existing 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs). These GrAMs
will be electronically linked to e-NAM (Electronic National Agricultural Market, an online
platform) to provide farmers with a facility to sell their produce directly to consumers. The
government has launched with allocation Rs. 2600 crore ($360.8m.) Pradhan Mantri Krishi
Sinchai Yojana, a national mission to improve farm productivity and ensure better utilization of
the resources in the country, in 96 irrigation- deprived districts.
In words of Indian Finance Minister “We consider agriculture to be an enterprise
and want to help farmers produce more from the same land parcel at less cost, and
simultaneously to realize higher prices for their produce”. To address the challenge of price
volatility of perishable agricultural commodities, the finance minister has proposed launching a
scheme called “Operation Greens.” This scheme will help bring farmers closer to the
marketplace through better logistics, processing facilities and professional management. A sum
of Rs. 500 crore ($75.2 million) is allocated for this purpose.
Hence, a shift from agriculture to agripreneurship and agribusiness is the focus to
revitalize Indian agriculture so that it becomes more receptive and remunerative venture for
youths that has the potential to contribute to a range of social and economic developments such
as employment generation, women empowerment, income generation, poverty reduction and
improvements in nutrition, health and overall food security in the national economy. Nearly 40
crore women out of the total of 60 crore female population depend upon crop and animal
husbandry, fisheries, forestry, agro-processing and agri-business for their livelihood. Moreover,
agripreneurship ventures are seen to have a potential to promote job-led economic growth in
rural areas by harnessing technologies for environmentally sustainable and socially equitable
development which can provide a decent livelihood to women as well.
Considering the existing scenario that two-thirds of the Indian population is employed
in agriculture sector, agripreneurship and agribusiness stand out as imperatives for sustainable
development and employment generation in the country. With this contention in mind, an
attempt has been made through this volume entitled “Integrated Transformation of Agriculture
with Special reference to India” to narrow down on the challenges related to agricultural
transformation in India. Technological amalgamations required to upgrade agriculture to
commercial form. Strategical deployment of innovations to transform agriculture into an
attractive and profitable venture. In all, there are 23 chapters first one describes the bottlenecks
and gaps in the form of challenges that one needs to know while thinking of futuristic plans.
Chapter 2nd elaborates technologies that brought green revolution while third one focuses on
technologies that deserve priority if transformation in agriculture is desired. In view of small
holdings, contract farming is important which is enumerated in chapter 4. Due emphasis is
placed on livestock farming through zoonotic diseases control, strategic parasite management
and dairying at chapters 5, 8 and 15. Innovative approaches like ICTs interventions, climate
smart agriculture, seed priming, biochar, organic agriculture and integrated farming system are
appropriately dealt in chapter no 6, 7, 10, 13, 14 and 17. Horticulture and marketing aspects are
covered in chapter no 11, 12 and 9 and hi-tech agronomy in chapter no 22. Weather forecasting,
remote sensing and agro-advisory relevance is discussed in chapter no 16 and 18. Last chapter
but not the least, is on organic agriculture as an entrepreneurship for women empowerment and
socio-economic transformation which discusses the compatibility and suitability of organic
agriculture to women entrepreneurs.
The book is a complete basket for designing agriculture for Integrated
Transformation particularly in context of developing countries like India. As depicted pictorial
that all three primary sectors of agriculture namely crop production, livestock farming and
horticulture have to contribute the collectively in a integrated way for development of secondary
agriculture (a wholly product development approach comprising post harvest, processing and
value addition) inferring that there has to be strategic shift from produce to product development.
For sustainable development of agriculture next evolution is desired in product diversity which is
demand of consumers and market both at national and international levels. It is expected in due
course of time tertiary agriculture will emerge as a one of the focused and remunerative in area
in agriculture and the tertiary agriculture is area of developing ready to serve products in fresh or
packed or frozen forms. I hope publishers M/S NIPA, New Delhi will take care to make
available economy edition for the welfare of students.
Dated: 10-05-2019 Jag Paul Sharma
Editor