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What are the causes of low agricultural productivity in India? । UPPSC General Studies-III Mains Solutions 2020


What are the causes of low agricultural productivity in India?

( UPPSC, UP PCS Mains General Studies-III/GS-3 2020)


Agricultural productivity refers to agricultural output per unit of land. As far as fertile land is concerned, India has the largest fertile land in the world, more than China or the United States of America. However, agricultural productivity is lowest as compared to countries like China, Brazil, the USA, the UK, Israel, and other European countries. India's agricultural productivity is even lower than the global average. For example, as per estimate, India's paddy productivity is about 2191 kg per hectare while the global average is 3026 kg per hectare. India's wheat productivity is about 2750 kg per hectare while the global average is 3289 kg per hectare. 

There are several factors that contribute to low agricultural productivity in India. Here are some of the key causes-

Small landholdings; The average landholding size in India is small. Landholding sizes are decreasing day by day due to equal inheritance of land rights. Small landholding makes it challenging to adopt modern agricultural technologies.

Outdated Farming Technique; Many farmers in India still rely on traditional and outdated farming techniques that do not provide much productivity. The lack of modern farming practices, such as the use of mechanization, improved irrigation systems, quality of seeds, and fertilizer, hinders productivity.

Inadequate Irrigation Facilities, and Dependency on Monsoon; Majority of Indian farmer totally relies on monsoon rains, and uncertainty or insufficient rains cause significant loss of agriculture and reduce overall productivity. Irrigation plays a crucial role in increasing agricultural productivity.

Soil degradation; Soil erosion, over-irrigation, excessive use of fertilizer, salinization, and improver agriculture management lead to depletion of nutrients in soil and soil degradation. Continuous cultivation without adequate soil conservation measures leads to soil fertility loss and lower crop productivity over time.


Lack of Access to credit and Inputs [ lack of Investment in agriculture];

Many farmers, especially small and marginal ones, face challenges in loan facilities from banks for purchasing quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and modern farming equipment.

Lack of knowledge and Information; Limited research and scientific knowledge of agriculture lead to lower agriculture productivity. Modern techniques and innovations in farming could enhance agricultural productivity.

Lack of diversification or practicing monocropping; Growing a single crop throughout the year and each year, reduces the crop productivity as it leads to the depletion of particular nutrients in the soil. Farmers should not grow only one crop, crop diversification is needed for the overall increase in productivity.


Inadequate agro-infrastructure and Post-Harvest loss; Inadequate agro-infrastructure like storage facilities and processing facilities[ agro-processing units] contributes to significant post-harvest loss of agricultural produce, which reduces the farmer income and investment in agriculture, and also demotivates farmer to make effort to increase the agriculture productivity.


Price volatility and farmer distress; Volatility of farmer products in the market, and the high level of debt of farmer, leads to farmer distress, which leads to a decrease in farmer productivity.


In conclusion, low productivity in the farm sector in India is a major problem, not only from an economic perspective but also from farmer livelihood, where a substantial portion of the population is, directly and indirectly, dependent on agriculture. Addressing these challenges in the agriculture sector requires a comprehensive approach that includes modernizing agriculture practices, investing in agricultural infrastructure, investing in irrigation facilities, promoting soil conservation, improving agricultural knowledge, ensuring market access to farmers, making price stabilities, and strengthening financial services to farmer, may enhance the agriculture productivity in India.

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