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Low Productivity of Agriculture in India (14 Causes)


The following points highlight the fourteen major factors responsible for low productivity in agriculture in India.

They are: 1. Small Size of Holdings 2. Vicious Circle of Poverty 3. Indebtedness 4. Inadequate Irrigation Facilities 5. Lack of Adequate Finance 6. Lack of marketing Facilities 7. No Scientific Methods of Cultivation 8. Lack of Productive Investment and Others.

Cause # 1. Small Size of Holdings:

The agricultural productivity is low due to small size of holdings. Indeed small size of the farm fails to provide profitable employment to the farmers.


In our country average size of holdings is 1.8 hectares while in developed countries like U.S.A. it is 122 hectares.

Apart from this, subdivision and fragmentation of holdings is another obstacle in the way of low agricultural productivity. In these small sizes of holdings the scientific cultivation with latest techniques is almost impossible.

Cause # 2. Vicious Circle of Poverty:

To a greater extent, the vicious circle of poverty is also responsible for the poor performance of agriculture.

The vicious circle of poverty takes the following form of agricultural sector:

Vicious Circle of Poverty

The crucial deficiencies in Indian agriculture relate to land, capital and management, etc. which in turn hampers the agricultural productivity.

Cause # 3. Indebtedness:

Another reason for low agricultural productivity is the indebtedness of the farmers. To perform the social ceremonies a farmer has to borrow from money-lender at a very high rate of interest. Unproductive borrowings does not add to his income and he always remains under debt. Consequently, the farmer fails to avail incentives to improve the agricultural production.

Cause # 4. Inadequate Irrigation Facilities:

Indian farmer is almost dependent on climatic conditions for irrigation. Monsoons are irregular. Only a few farmer avail the facilities of irrigation from various sources such as canals, tube wells, etc. Moreover these facilities are found in some areas and where these are available, they are not fully utilized. The result is that the produce is of bad quality and results in low productivity.

Cause # 5. Lack of Adequate Finance:

Availability of finance is the basis of every industry. The supply of finance is inadequate in case of Indian agriculture. Money is required for short period as well as for long period in order to improve the agricultural production.

According to All India Rural Credit Survey Committee in 1950-51 more than 90 per cent of the total agricultural credit was advanced by the moneylenders. The co­operative societies, accounted for about 3 per cent respectively.

Cause # 6. Lack of Marketing Facilities:

The defective marketing system also poses difficulties to the farmers. The farmers do not get a due reward from the sale of his produce. The middleman takes away portion of their profits. Unless farmers are guaranteed fair and remunerative prices there is little inducement for agricultural output to increase.

Indian marketing has no facilities of god-owns and warehousing where the cultivators may keep their produce for a better price. Moreover, they lack transportation facilities. This results in low price of the produce.

Cause # 7. No Scientific Methods of Cultivation:

The ignorance and conservation of Indian farmer also results in the poor performance of agriculture. They do not know the importance of modern technology. Still, seeds are sown by wooden ploughs. Poor quality of seeds yields poor quantity of crops.

According to Dr. Burns, “The average out turn of paddy could be increased by 38 per cent viz., 5 per cent by using improved seeds, 28 per cent by manuring and remaining 5 per cent by protection from pests.”

Cause # 8. Lack of Productive Investment:


Investment in jewellery, trade and money lending seems to be more attractive. Therefore, there is less investment in land improvement. In the absence of productive investment in agriculture, there is little scope for expanding production.

Cause # 9. Agricultural Research:

A large quantity of amount of money is spent on agricultural research, still the fruits do not reach to the poor cultivators. There is a lack of co-ordination between laboratory and farm.

Cause # 10. Excessive Dependence:

The real problem of low productivity is that too many people are dependent on agriculture sector. The experience of agriculture exhibits that agricultural productivity is in inverse proportion to the number of people engaged in it. In fact, excessive dependence leads to small size, uneconomic and fragmented holdings. This inevitably results in low productivity.

Cause # 11. Poor Livestock:

The quality of livestock is very inferior and they are thin and feeble. On account of their poor quality, they are needed in more quantity which adds unnecessary burden on the poor cultivators. Malnutrition is another cause for the degeneration of cattle in our country. As a result, they suffer from one disease or the other.

Cause # 12. Natural Calamities:

Another reason of low productivity of Indian agriculture is that crops worth crores of rupees are destroyed every year due to floods and other natural calamities. The soil erosion has been regarded as creeping death of the farm.

Cause # 13. Social Factors:

In our country, poor performance of agriculture is also found due to the operation of various socio economic factors. Illiteracy, ignorance, superstition and conservative outlook stands in the way of the adoption of modern technology. As such, farmers are against the use of bone manure and chemical fertilizer. Besides, they are prejudiced against killing of monkeys and rats at the farm.

Cause # 14. Land Policy and Legislation:

The piece-meal character of land reform policy and its legislation is greatly, responsible for the backwardness of agriculture. Excessive reliance on the administrative machinery have adversely affected agricultural development, unnecessary delay in implementation and uncertainty about the rights on land has tended to diminish land productivity.

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