Explained: Why India lags behind in agriculture productivity

Published: March 25, 2019 1:33:26 AM

Can an MBA in agribusiness help you understand the problems in the sector and think about solutions?

Most farmers in India don’t have access to technology-driven irrigation tools and practices. (Representational photo/Reuters)

By Asmita Chitnis

India is primarily an agricultural country, as the sector provides livelihood to more than 50% of the population and contributes 17-18% to the country’s GDP. However, India lags behind many other countries as far as agricultural productivity is concerned. The reasons are several.

Most farmers in India don’t have access to technology-driven irrigation tools and practices. The technology is either expensive or can’t be made available in rural areas because of logistics challenges. Also, farmers still rely heavily on manual labour to plant, pluck, harvest, thresh, separate and bundle the crops. They are not much aware of using safe fertilisers and organic techniques to grow food, improve the quality of soil and crops, prevent soil erosion, and dispose of crop residues responsibly. Even agricultural markets lack regulatory control and work in an unorganised manner. Farmers also lack information on finance and marketing tactics to get the best prices for their output.
Such practices may not be sustainable for the development of the agricultural industry and the economy as a whole. The policymakers at the macro level as well as farmers at the micro levels expect efficient management of the sector, and unique insights and sustainable solutions to the problems. The sector needs innovation, support and intervention of professionals.

Traditionally, agriculture has been the domain of farmers and businessmen from rural areas, and is a labour-intensive occupation. But, over the past few years, a new breed of entrepreneurs (agripreneurs) has emerged in the field of agriculture, who are upgrading conventional farming practices and adopting more technology-oriented and automated business practices to facilitate improved productivity, quality and quantity of crops at affordable prices. Professionals, usually armed with an MBA degree, are providing technical, financial, informational and commercial guidance to farmers and other stakeholders.

The challenges in the agricultural sector present myriad opportunities to introduce reforms in production, finance, warehousing, supply chain and marketing, and make it at par with global standards. Agriculture will always remain a booming industry because food will never go out of demand. Hence, there is an immense potential for growth of this sector in India.

If you are an aspiring agripreneur or a farming professional, then agriculture can offer promising career prospects. You can become a crop producer, farm manager, crop analyst, quality controller, agricultural economist, grain broker, farm and land appraiser, weather analyst, yield predictor or farm educationist—the list of careers you can pursue is long.

However, in order to enter and grow in this sector, you would need to be equipped with proper qualification and skills. You could consider enrolling in an MBA programme with specialisation in agribusiness so that you can understand the problems in the sector, have a close perspective, and think about solutions. Not only this, you can improve the quality of life of farmers, be instrumental in providing safe and hygienic crops to the consumers, and contribute to the development of the nation.

-The author is director, Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB), Pune. Views are personal

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