The agricultural sector plays a huge role in India’s economy: it contributes a 17% share of GDP, 38% of exports and employs 58% of the workforce. “Seventy per cent of the population’s livelihood is around agriculture,” according to Q&Q Research Insight’s Roy Patel – that’s more than one billion people involved in a market growing at a compound annual growth rate of 11%.
Those headline figures don’t even start to hint at the complexity of an industry that occupies 43% of the country’s land. “There are also 127 different agricultural climate zones which relate to the different resources, crops, farming systems, the actual land itself, the production environment,” he told an audience at Marketing Week Live (London, March 2019). Then there are the three growing seasons – kharif, rabi and zaid – and the four crop categories:
- food crops: cereals and pulses
- cash crops: sugar cane, oil seeds, cotton, jute
- plantation crops: tea, coffee, coconut
- horticultural crops: flowers and vegetables.