Agricultural production in India is an important determinant of overall economic growth and a huge employer of the rural populace. Total food grain production, for instance, in 2004/2005 (April-March) amounted to 206.4 million tones, including 87.8 million tones of rice and 73.0 million tones of wheat (Country Report, 2005). However, yields per hectare remain low by international standards. Other major crops grown include oilseeds, cotton, pulses, sugar, tea, coffee, rubber, jute and potatoes.
The recent slowdown in the sector is a cause for concern and calls for a change in the government’s agricultural policy. Some academic research suggests that in order for India to sustain GDP growth of around 7 percent or more, agriculture has to grow at, or in excess of, 4 percent (India Economic Survey, 2004; Sinha, 2005; Nilekani, 2006).