New Delhi: India’s agriculture sector has accounted for only 16.6% of its gross domestic product (GDP) so far in the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-12) despite record production of farm commodities in the 2007-08 season, according to the latest government estimate.
The share of the farm sector in the GDP is down to 16.6% from a whopping 46.3% during the First Plan period (1951-56), according to the data presented by minister of state for agriculture K V Thomas in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
The sector contributed 17.8% to the overall GDP in the last Plan period (2002-07), he said.
For the plan period 2007-12, the figures for only the first fiscal of the duration (2007-08) have been released.
The declining share of the sector in the GDP can be a major cause of concern for policy makers this year as the forecast of a “below-normal monsoon” during the on-going Kharif has cast a gloom on production.
Moreover, the dependence on farming has not dipped that dramatically. About 65% of the world’s second-most populous nation still depends upon farming for livelihood.
Even though the country has witnessed record foodgrain production of 230.78 million tonnes in the 2007-08 season followed by another year of bumper output of the grains at 229.85 million tonnes, the share of the sector in the GDP has not shown any improvement.
Already, areas under paddy, a major kharif crop, has declined to 46.6 lakh hectares as on 2 July compared with 54.16 lakh hectares a year before. The acreage of maize, jowar and sugarcane, too, has fallen during this period.
The farm sector grew 4.9% in 2007-08 though the expansion is expected to slow down to around 2.6% in 2008-09, according to a projection by the Central Statistical Organisation.
Though the ministry of agriculture has earlier projected a 4% growth rate for the sector during 2008-09, it has now trimmed its forecast to 2.6%.