On 23rd December every year, the birth anniversary of 5th Prime Minister of India Chaudhary Charan Singh, is observed as National Day of Farmers or Farmers’ Day (Kisan Diwas). Singh was a great farmer leader from western Uttar Pradesh. In 2001, the Government of India decided to mark his birth anniversary as National Day of Farmers every year. Kisan Diwas is being observed to recognise the role farmers in India’s food security as well as their contribution to the economic development of the country. In a country of 1.3 billion, today, agriculture is providing livelihood to over 50 percent of the country’s population.
And therefore, observing Kisan Diwas, today we’ll discuss how Indian farmers made India the food factory of the world. India is the largest producer of milk, bananas, mango, jute and cotton; second largest producer of rice, tomato and potato; third largest producer of cardamom; fifth largest producer of apple and soybean, sixth largest producer of pineapple and seventh largest produce of coffee in the world. This all happened possible due to the hard-work of Indian farmers.
Food factory of the world
In the year 2019-20, Indian farmers produced 291 million tonnes of foodgrains. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with 25 percent of global foodgrain production, India is the largest producer of food in the world. Today, Indian farmers are not only feeding the country, but also exporting food to many countries and earn foreign exchange for the country. This is one of the greatest services to the country by any group of professionals or workforce.
No.1 in milk production in the world
The success of milk cooperatives has transformed India from a milk deficient to milk surplus country in the world. Post independence, there has been a constant growth in milk production in the country. According to National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), in 1991, the total milk production in India was 55.6 million tonnes and per capita availability of milk was 178 gm per day. By 2018-19, with a constant growth, milk production reached to 187 million tonnes and per capita milk availability to 394 gm per day. This is one of the biggest success stories scripted by India’s milk producing farmers in the history which made the country the world’s No. 1 in milk production.
No. 2 in horticulture production
Known as cash crop as it fetches regular cash to the hands of farmers, horticulture production in India almost doubled in last two decades. This was a revolution that in 2001-02, the production of fruits and vegetables in India was 146 million tonnes which reached to 314 million tonnes by 2018-19. This was a big revolution created by the Indian farmers in the past two decades which made India the second largest producer of horticultural crops in the world.
No. 1 in cotton production
In 1947-48, India’s cotton production was 33.36 lakh bales with 132 kg yield per hectare. In 2001-02, the production was 158 lakh bales with 308 kg yield per hectare. However, with the introduction of genetically modifies bt cotton in 2002, and with better farm practices, in last two decades with producing world’s 19 percent cotton, India has now become the world’s No. 1 producer of cotton in the world. According to Cotton Corporation of India, in 2019-20, India produced 360 lakh bales of cotton with 486 kg yield per hectare. Before 2002, India was the importer of cotton. This has been a great journey of Indian farmers in cotton production which made the country the second largest exporter in the world.