India is likely to produce record 263.2 million tonne foodgrains this year (includes kharif 2013 and rabi crops in the field at present). The earlier foodgrain production record of 259.3 MT was achieved in 2011-12.
As per the latest crop sowing data available, major crops have been sown in more area than in rabi last year. Wheat has been sown in 315.3 lakh hectare as compared to 298.2 lakh hectare in the last rabi; pulses in 161.9 lakh hectare as compared to 152.7 lakh hectare in the last rabi; and oilseeds in 90.1 lakh hectare as compared to 87.3 lakh hectare in the last rabi. This will translate into higher production this rabi.
India is now the top exporter of rice and second top exporter of wheat and cotton. Overall agricultural exports stood at Rs. 2,01,000 crore in 2012-13. India also is one of the top producers of milk, and fruits and vegetables.
A number of initiatives have been taken in recent years to increase farm production and productivity. Some of the major initiatives include:
· Focussed approach for improving productivity of major crops in low-productivity districts through the mega scheme, the National Food Security Mission (NFSM). This scheme resulted in additional foodgrain production of 20 million tonne in the XI Plan. In the current Plan, additional annual foodgrain production of 25 million tonne is planed through NFSM.
· Enhancing public investment in agriculture, especially by incentivising states to invest through the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) scheme. About Rs. 25,000 crore were disbursed to states under RKVY in the XI Plan and the allocation under RKVY has been enhanced. Further, states have been given a great deal of flexibility in deciding projects for which RKVY funds are to be used. In the current Plan, Rs. 1.35 lakh crore have been allocated for agricultural programmes as compared to Rs. 62,000 crore in the XI Plan.
· An area-focussed scheme, Bringing Green Revolution to the Eastern Parts of India (BGREI) aimed at achieving fast growth in production in the eastern parts of the country. After the launch of this scheme 3 years ago, the production of rice in the eastern region has seen fast growth.
· Special programmes for production of pulses and oilseeds.
· Successive increases in MSP of crops. Minimum support prices (MSP) for crops have been increased significantly over the years, thus making farming more remunerative to farmers.
· Expansion of farm credit and availability of farm credit at low interest rates. Farm credit, which was nearly Rs 85,000 crore in 2003-04, is likely to reach the target of Rs. 7,00,000 crore in 2013-14, This means, about eight times more credit is now flowing to agriculture than the credit flow ten years back. In addition, crop loans are now available at a low interest rate of 4% to farmers who are regular in repaying their loans.
A number of other initiatives have been taken to increase the production of horticultural crops under the National Horticulture Mission, and for dairying under the National Dairy Plan. Focus also is on improving yield of inland and marine fisheries, meeting the growing demand for feed and fodder, making quality / certified seeds available to farmers, and covering more farmers under crop insurance.