Mechanization in agriculture through modern power sources along with matching implements brings in added operational capacity, reduced dependence on labour, timeliness in field operations. This would lead to increased productivity and conservation of inputs, besides increase in profitability and sustainability of agriculture.

In India, the horticulture sector with a production of over 230 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables over an area of 20 million hectares is currently a significant contributor to agricultural GDP of the country. But its contribution to farmer's income, livelihood, nutrition, export earnings, ecology and equity does not get the prominence it deserves because our political discourse and economic commentary are geared to 'meta narrative' of food security, minimum support price and PSS for wheat, rice, pulses and oilseeds.

Forests are vital for ensuring stability of water cycle and its benefits to agriculture and households, carbon cycle and its role in climate mitigation, soil fertility and its value to crop production, local microclimate for safe habitats, medicinal plants for health, biodiversity for survival, and so on; which are all crucial elements of green economy for reducing poverty and hunger.

There is a need to break yield barriers through multidimensional approch to achieve food security on a sustainable basis for the people of this country. Cooperatives can play an important role in this direction due to their proximity to farmers. The Indian Farmers' Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), since over the last four decades, is providing services to farmers and cooperatives through various programmes, besides ensuring fertilizers availability.

Independent India inherited a structure of landholdings characterised by heavy concentration of cultivable areas in the hands of relatively large absentee landowners, the excessive fragmentation of small landholdings, growing number of landless agricultural workers, and the lack of any generalised system of documentary evidence of landownership or tenancy.

Agriculture continues to be the predominant component of the national economy and a principal means of livelihood for two thirds of country's population living in the rural areas. Hence, it occupies central stage in the Indian economy and the Government of India places high priority on reducing poverty by raising agricultural productivity.

India's economic success has been remarkable; India's agricultural success will follow. Rural India still needs nurturing, not necessarily by just extra funding, but with vision and leadership addressing issues, with down to earth, workable solutions.

Traditionally, India was recognized as a fish-eating country, but it was only after Independence that fishery has been recognized as an important allied sector of Indian agriculture. Over ten-fold increase in fish production-from 0.75 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 8.0 million tonnes in 2009-10 amply justifies vibrancy of this sector that has been exhibited in the country during the last six decades.

When we reflect back in the past, we recollect Pandit Nehru's declaration soon after Independence in 1947, 'Everything else can wait but not Agriculture'. In 1948, Mahatma Gandhi orchestrated 'God is bread to the hungry'. This perspective of our national leadership led to the development of research institutions and the systems for technology-led agricultural growth in our country, which started with experiments in wheat and rice, and then ushered in vegetables, fruits, milk, fish, poultry, mushroom, honey, cotton, castor, soybean, maize etc., where we made good progress.

Agriculture for the Indian rural people is the way of life, a tradition, which for centuries, has shaped thought, outlook, culture and economic life of the people of the country. It is not a commodity machine but the backbone of the livelihood security system, where more than two-thirds of the population lives in the villages. So, agriculture is not just a question of economics and trade but of dignity and survival, and has a special significance for low income group, poor and vulnerable section of rural society.