India is an agricultural country. Seventy percent of its people live in villages. Their chief occupation is farming. They work on farmers scattered round the villages. Still India was not able to produce enough food for its people. Till recently the people lived on the verge of starvation.
The reason is that in India farming is backward. The Indian farmer still works with his old fashioned plough driven by bullocks. The tractor, which is now common in foreign countries, can be used only on big farms. Land holdings in India are small and scattered. The result is that tractor is used in India only on a few big farms. The yield per acre is, therefore, very low. Other scientific appliances which are used by farmers in other countries have not even heard of by the Indian farmer. He does not know that fruits can be ripened much earlier by electric heating and that eggs can be hatched easily and quickly in the incubators. Similarly, the different machines used for milking cattle and processing of milk and milk products are equally unknown to him.
Indian farming is still a gamble in rains. The Indian farmer depends chiefly on rains for irrigation. Sometimes, the rain does not fall in time or there is no rain at all. At other times, the rain is excessive or much before time. In either case, crops suffer. Tube-wells have been constructed and canals dug, but they are not at all sufficient. Such wonders of science as soil-less farming, and indoor farming are not even dreamed of by the Indian farmer. But it is only such latest scientific methods that can make the farmer independent of the vagaries of nature. It is only by the use of such methods that he can be sure of reaping the crop which he sows.
Farming in India does not get the benefit of many other inventions of science. Crops in India often suffer from diseases or are destroyed by pests. Now science has invented many medicines which kill pests and thus protect the crops. But the use of such medicines is practically unknown in India. Moreover, scientists have produced through cross-breeding newer and better varieties of plants and animals. Thus, a new kind of wheat plant has been produced which is much shorter, which ripens in a much shorter time, and which yields more and better wheat. Similarly, there are hens which lay more eggs, and cattle which yield more milk. Indian scientists, too, have done much commendable work in this respect, but the fruits of their research have not yet reached the Indian farmer, particularly those who live and work in remote backward areas.
The yield per acre in India continues to be extremely low. The manure used by the India farmers is still old-fashioned. Through some chemical fertilizers are now produced in the country, they are not at all sufficient to meet the needs of Indian farming. The seeds which the Indian farmer uses are also of a low quality. Better quality seeds are still not available to him, the result is that he cannot produce as much in his fields as done by his counterparts in Europe and America. To increase production it is essential that scientific knowledge and technology must be made available to the Indian farmer at the earliest.
Modern science has revolutionized farming. Farming in India must also be mechanized as rapidly as possible. The Government must take early steps to consolidate land holdings so that the use of tractors and other machines may become possible on a large scale. The Indian farmer must be provided rapidly with better seeds, scientific manures and storage facilities and other scientific devices which are being used rapidly in other parts of the world. In short, Indian farming must be modernized. This is the only way in which the needs of the growing population of the country can be met. We are glad to note that the government has already done much in this direction. Intensive research is being carried out and new varieties of seeds and better fertilizers are being developed. Production has already been increased manifold to meet the needs of a growing population.