Demographics of India:Comparative Advantages of India

Comparative Advantages of India

Nature has given India several advantages. It has:
• Second largest arable land in the world
• Diverse agro-climatic zones across the country
• Round the year sunshine
• Potential to cultivate a vast range of agricultural products
• Large marketable surpluses and abundant raw material for processing
• Vast pool of skilled manpower in research
• Vast pool of crops
Table 2.1: Area and Production of Agricultural products
(Production in million tonnes)
India India’s Rank in World Production
Arable Land (Million ha) 151 2
Irrigated Land (Million ha) 55 1
Wheat 72 2
Rice, Paddy 124 2
Coarse grains (including maize) 29 3
Milk 91 1
Fruits 47 2
Vegetables 82 2
Edible Oilseeds 25 3
Pulses 15 1
Sugarcane 245 2
Tea 0.85 1
Cattle (Million) 186 2
Source: ‘Marketing Reforms & Enhancing competitiveness’, 2006.

If these advantages can be leveraged, India can be a leading food supplier to the world. Progress in agriculture made the country being able to meet its minimum needs for agricultural commodities. In order to safeguard the interest of farmer community, it is essential to have food processing industries and value added agriculture schemes.6
However the agricultural sector faces many complex problems and often conflicting issues:
• High consumer prices with low farm incomes
• Overflowing granaries with segments of population undernourished
• Very small but rapidly growing organized agri-business sector
• Inefficient supply chain
• High marketing fees of intermediaries
• Too many varieties of produce often not the type required for global markets due to lack of market intelligence
• Poor quality and wastage due to contamination at post harvest stage
• Volumes lost due to multiple handling and poor storage techniques
• Low technology inputs and sub scale plantation sizes
• Too many processing units with small & medium capacities which lack supply chain management capabilities
• Supply of varieties amenable to processing is limited
• Lack of large organized sector participation, limiting the market size for processed products7
These are not unsolvable issues. Other countries have succeeded in agribusiness and India too can. With political will, the intellectuals of the country can address these issues and this can make a leader.