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Non-Farm Activities to Accelerate Agri Growth

Why is agriculture sector significant for India?

1. India is mainly a rural economy, where the mainstay of people is agriculture.

2. The diverse agro-climatic conditions in India make it possible to grow almost all types of horticulture products.

3. The share of primary sector to the country’s GDP has declined from 1950 to present, but it is still significant in employment generation, foreign exchange earnings and providing food security to the increasing population of the country.

4. More than 1/5th of rural households with agriculture as their principal occupation were having income below the poverty line.

How important are non-farm activities?

Food Processing

1. Processing of agricultural produce is an important aspect of commercialization of agriculture in India.

2. It provides a fair and remunerative price to the producers by value addition.

3. There are vast opportunities for rural entrepreneurs in the field of food processing.

Agribusiness and Rural Entrepreneurship

1. Rural areas provide the abundant raw material from agricultural, horticultural and animal produce to start entrepreneurship in food processing.

2. Areas like carpentry, pottery, repairing of agricultural machinery, etc. can fetch employment to the surplus manpower of agriculture sector.

Skill Development

1. Skilled manpower is needed in various sectors like construction, food processing, gems & jewellery, textile and clothing, etc.

2. Various job opportunities are likely to be created for skilled rural youth in eleven sectors in the coming years.

3. Nearly 25% of manpower engaged in agriculture is disguisedly unemployed.

4. If this surplus manpower is withdrawn to some other gainful activity in the non-farm sector, it can contribute to the national output.

What are initiatives taken to boost agriculture?

1. The main focus of the Government is on strengthening and reviving agriculture and creating employment opportunities in the allied and non-farm sector in the rural economy through various schemes.

2. A great emphasis is given on the development of rural infrastructure including power, irrigation, road, transport, and communication, etc.

3. Bharatmala Project has been launched in order to improve rural infrastructure.

4. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana was launched in 2015 to enhance power supply in rural areas.

5. PM Sahaj Bijili Har Ghar Yojana was launched in 2017 to provide energy access throughout the country.

6. Skill Training of rural youth program has been launched.

7. A skill training and placement programme of the Government -DDU Grameen Kaushalya Yojana was launched in 2014.

8. Support to Training and Employment Program for Women (STEP) was launched to train women with non-access to formal skill training facilities.

9. PM Gramin Digital Shiksha Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) was launched in 2017 to impart digital literacy in rural areas.

10. PM Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) yojana has been launched to augment the income of families of small and marginal farmers.

Where is the focus needed?

1. In order to double farmers’ income by 2022, there is an urgent need to increase farm productivity, improve market access and to develop the small industrial and service units in rural areas.

2. An appropriate policy coupled with a strong strategy to promote and strengthen the rural non-farm sector deserves to be at the top priority of Government and policymakers.

3. To boost income from crop cultivation, the focus should be on promoting non-farm activities in rural areas.

4. Modern integrated farming should be adopted in ancillary activities like animal husbandry, horticulture & forestry, vegetable growing, fisheries, etc.