Accelerating agricultural productivity growth in India

In the past 50 years, Indian agriculture has undergone a major transformation, from dependence on food aid to becoming a consistent net food exporter. The gradual reforms in the agricultural sector (following the broader macro-reforms of the early 1990s) spurred some unprecedented innovations and changes in the food sector driven by private investment. These impressive achievements must now be viewed in light of the policy and investment imperatives that lie ahead. Agricultural growth has improved in recent years (averaging about 3.5 percent since 2004-05), but at a long-term trend rate of growth of 3 percent, agriculture has underperformed relative to its potential. The pockets of post-reform dynamism that have emerged evidently have not reached a sufficiently large scale to influence the sector's performance. For the vast population that still derives a living directly or indirectly from agriculture, achieving "faster, more inclusive, and sustainable growth', the objectives at the heart of the Twelfth five year plan, depends critically on simultaneous efforts to improve agriculture's performance and develop new sources of employment for the disproportionately large share of the labor force still on the farm. The scope of this study is broad in the sense that it marshals considerable empirical evidence and analyses to address those issues.

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