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Agriculture

Irrigation and Agriculture

As of 2011, India has the world's highest percentage of arable land (48.83%) to the total geographical area, in the world. Also, 546,820 square kilometres (211,130 sq mi or 215.6 million acres) of the land area, or about 39% of the total cultivated area, is irrigated.

Arable/ Irrigated land sizes, 2011
Source - UN Food and Agriculture Organization
(Million hectares)

Absolute size of India World World Rank

Arable land
Irrigated Area

160
82.6

1444
249.6

Second after USA
Largest in the world

2011 figures from UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, Wikipedia, Indian Ministry of Agriculture state that:

  • India ranks second worldwide in farm output accounting for 52% of the labour force and 15% of GDP in 2011.
  • It is the second largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton and groundnuts
  • India has the third largest fishing industry in the world.
  • India is the largest producer in the world of milk, jute and pulses.
  • India has the world's second largest cattle population with 175 million animals in 2008 (such as sheep, goats, buffalo, cow, pigs etc), almost 25% of the world total.
  • India has the second largest fruit and vegetable producer, accounting for 10.9% and 8.6% of the world fruit and vegetable production respectively.
  • From being an importer of food after independence; India has now become an exporter of food. India is amongst the five largest exporters of rice in the world and top ten exporter of wheat.
  • India is also the second largest producer and the largest consumer of silk in the world, producing 77,000 million tons in 2005.
  • India has the largest area in the world under pulse crops
  • India is the first in the world to evolve a cotton hybrid.
  Total food grain production has increased from 50.82 million tonnes in 1951 to 176 million tonnes in 1990 to 208 million tonnes in 2006. Crop Yield of total foodgrains has increased from 1552 (kg per hectare) in 1997-98 to 1703 (kg per hectare) in 2004-05.

India's Agricultural exports (Source: Indian Ministry of Agriculture) increased from 16,147 cr in 1999 to Rs 21,704 cr in 2003.

World Production of Wheat, 2010
Source - UN Food and Agriculture Organization
(in thousands of metric tons)

  Country Wheat
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
China
India
USA
Russia
France
Germany
Pakistan
Canada
Australia
Turkey
115,180
80,710
60,102
41,508
38,207
24,107
23,311
23,167
22,138
19,660

World Production of Rice, 2010
Source - UN Food and Agriculture Organization
(in thousands of metric tons)

  Country Rice
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
China
India
Indonesia
Bangladesh
Vietnam
Myanmar
Thailand
Philippines
Brazil
USA
197,212
120,620
66,412
49,355
39,989
33,209
31,597
15,771
11,309
11,027

The top wheat exporters in the world, 2009
Source - UN Food and Agriculture Organization, US Dept of Agriculture
(in thousands of metric tons)

Leading Exporter 2009 figures
USA
Russia
Canada
Australia
Ukraine
Argentina
Kazakhstan
Turkey
China
India
26,700
18,500
17,750
13,500
12,500
8,400
5,000
2,000
750
300

The top rice exporters of Rice in the world, 2010
Source - UN Food and Agriculture Organization, World Almanac
(in thousands of metric tons)

Leading Exporters 2010 2001 1995
Thailand
Vietnam
USA
Pakistan
India
China
8,500
6,500
-
3,800
2,200
600
7,685
3,729
2,622
2,423
2,193
2,011
6,197
1,988
3,083
1,852
4,913
-

India's rice exports to reach 7 million tonnes in 2011-12, overtaking Thailand and Vietnam.
 

The farmers and their families use most of their crops. Half of all Indian farms are less than 2.5 acres (1 hectare) in area. Only 4 percent cover more than 25 acres (10 hectares). About two-thirds of the farmers in India own their own land. Most of their farms become smaller and smaller with each generation because of inheritance customs.  

Indian farmers

World's leading producers of other agricultural products, 2001
Source - UN Food and Agriculture Organization
(in millions of metric tons)

Production indicator India's rank in the world

Tea production
Groundnuts (shell)
Cashews
Pulses
Sesame seeds
Peanuts
Raw sugar
Mangoes
Millet
Betel nuts
Cardomom
Ginger
Pepper
Turmeric
Rapeseed
Sugarcane
Jute
Onions
Cauliflowers
Milk (cow/ buffalo)
Coconuts
Cotton (seed)
Cotton (lint)
Eggs (Hens)

Corn

First
First
First
First
First

First
First
First
First
First

First
First
First
First
Second
Second
Second
Second
Second
Second
Third
Third
Fourth
Fifth
Seventh
  • India grows more than half of the world's mangoes and leads all countries in the production of tea (80% of all beverage consumption in India is tea; 10% coffee and 10% others like soft drinks). India is also a major producer of apples, bananas, coffee, eggplants, oranges, potatoes, tobacco and wheat.
  • India is the fifth leading fertilizer producer in the world after USA, Canada, China and France. India is the fourth largest consumer of fertilizer in the world, after the USA, Russia and China.
  • Tests in 2000, by a team of experts have confirmed that Naga Jolokia or capsicum frutescens, a specialty from Assam in the northeast, is now the world's hottest chili, surpassing the tongue-burning ability of the Red Savina Habanero, a Mexican chili that had been known as the world's hottest. Naga Jolokia measured 855 Scoville units, compared to 577 for the Habanero.

Commercial catch of fish, crustaceans and Mollusks, 2001
Source - US Dept of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin., National Marine Fisheries
(in thousands of metric tons, live weight)

  Country 2001 1998
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
China
Peru
India
Japan
USA *
Indonesia
Chile
Russia
Thailand
Norway
42,579
7,996
5,965
5,521
5,405
5,068
4,363
3,718
3,606
3,199
39,545
4,346
5,245
6,030
5,154
4,595
3,558
4,518
3,508
3,259

Note:
- USA * weight includes that of shells (clams, scallop and mollusks shells)
- India's numbers were 800,000 metric tons in 1950

As per a 2006 report of UN's FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), India’s share in the global aquaculture output is 4.2 per cent in terms of both volume and value. The share of China, on the other hand, is 69.6 per cent in terms of production and 51.2 percent in value. The ten countries, in terms of ranking, are China, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea republic, Bangladesh and Chile. The report has reckoned India’s farmed fish output (2004) at 2.47 million tonnes, against China’s 41.32 million tonnes. The annual per capita consumption of fish in India has steadily risen from 2.9 kg prior to 1981 to 4.7 kg post-2000.

 

 

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