Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy. Agriculture and allied sectors contribute nearly 22 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP of India), while about 65-70 per cent of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. The agricultural output, however, depends on monsoons as nearly 60 per cent of area sown is dependent on rainfall. This year’s insufficient monsoon has forced people to pay more attention to agriculture and food security, but these have already been a high priority for the Government.
India with a population of 1.13 billion, growing at about 1.6 percent per annum, is a large and growing market for agricultural and food products. Food is the single largest component of private consumption expenditure, accounting for as much as 53 percent of the total. Consumption of food products is increasing consistently at 7.8 percent.
India is the world's third largest producer of food. Indian retail market for fresh fruit and vegetables is estimated at $35 billion. Organised retailing is $73 million and growing at a rate of 30 percent. Rapid growth of food retailing and increasing health consciousness with changing lifestyles is driving growth of agricultural produce which is hygienic and healthy. In fact, it will be in line with the next stage of development cycle for the agricultural and food processing industry.