Gujarat is the one of the fastest growing states of India. The state has adopted a novel pattern of progress with the strategic development of the key sectors like energy, industry and agriculture. About 57.4 per cent people of the state live in rural areas and about 70.5 per cent of total workers in the state are rural based. Agriculture continues to be the primary occupation for the majority of rural people in the state. Agriculture provides indirect employment to large portion of population in agro-based occupations. Thus, prosperity and well being of people in Gujarat is closely linked with agriculture and allied activities.

Gujarat is one of the leading states in export of processed foods and high value products, which is a promising area for increasing revenue from agriculture sector. Thus, emphasis must be given to further development and expansion of agro-processing units and Agri-Export Zones in the state. The farmers should be made aware about various improved cultivation practices required for high quality cash crops and about available incentives/schemes/programs. The processors should be well trained on various food safety measures and quality standards, adherence to sanitation and phyto-sanitation (SPS) standards and measures for minimizing the export rejections.

Agriculture and allied sector plays an important role in the State economy. More than half of the working population in the state is still dependent on agricultural activities for their livelihood. Thus, a higher priority to agriculture will achieve the goals of reducing poverty and malnutrition as well as of inclusive growth. Since agriculture forms the resource base for a number of agro-based industries and agro-services, it would be more meaningful to view agriculture not as farming alone but as a holistic value chain, which includes farming, wholesaling, warehousing, processing, and retailing.

Furthermore, the challenges of climate change and global warming, deteriorating soil health including imbalanced use of fertilizers, micronutrient deficiency, lack of organic matter content, low productivity, unfavorable prices and practically very little value addition, distress sales, rising cost of cultivation are some of the other challenging areas to be addressed for further development of agriculture sector in Gujarat.

Agriculture sector offers a great opportunity to increase employment, incomes and livelihoods in rural areas.  As a large portion of our rural population is young, we need to propagate modern agricultural activities and management practices which are technology driven and are efficient. 

In the coming years, it will be possible to improve efficiencies at all levels of operations to make our agriculture sector competitive, as well as socially, economically and environmentally sustainable when all stakeholders, including agriculture organizations, produces, processors, producer institutions,  supporting institutions, service providers and professionals work together.

Let’s innovate…