|Mayeux Jr, Herman|
Submitted to: Sustainable Agriculture International Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2001
Publication Date: 10/1/2001
Citation: RAO, S.C., MAYEUX JR, H.S. INDIAN AGRICULTURE IN RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT. pp. 205-209. In: Payne, W.A. et al. (Eds.), Sustainability of Agricultural Systems in Transition. 2001. ASA Special Publication No. 64. Interpretive Summary: Abstract only
Technical Abstract: Agricultural achievements in India during its 50 years of independence have been positive and changed the country's image from food importer to potential exporter. However, India's population is growing at the rate of 1.9 percent annually, and may reach 1.4 billion by the year 2025. To keep pace with the present rate of population growth and consumption patterns, the food requirement must exceed 225 million tons by year 2001, and 246 million tons by year 2020. Production of 'Green Revolution' crops (wheat and rice) has declined at the rate of 2.46 percent since 1991. To offset the decline in productivity, there is a need to reduce crop losses from pests, diseases, and weeds and promote fertilizer use efficiency. The challenge to sustain food security is to develop food production technologies for rainfed areas, which account for 70 percent of India's cultivated land. Rainfed agricultural production plays an important role in meeting the demand for food in the future. Several technological breakthroughs, such as molecular biotechnology and genetic engineering for new crops, have the potential to conserve natural resources efficiently and in developing a sustainable agricultural production system for India in future. India has the potential to become the world's largest exporter of agricultural products, and also to become fourth largest economy behind the U.S.A., Japan and China by the year 2020. However, failing on the farm front and not orienting its agricultural practices toward greater food production would nullify its prospects.