Agriculture is the principal source of livelihood for more than 58% of India’s population and contributes 15% to the country’s GDP. The Green Revolution in the 1960s put India on the path of food self-sufficiency. The agriculture sector continues to be challenged by several factors such as land fragmentation and land holding patterns that perpetuate the marginal and subsistence nature of the Indian farm. The average size of the operational holdings continues to decline. More than 83% of farming households have landholdings of less than two acres, limiting their access to technology, capital and markets. Soil degradation and water stressed cultivable land continue to inhibit productivity, while prevalent farming practices add pressure to the environmental footprint of this sector.
Limited post-harvest infrastructure and weak value chain linkages have resulted in post-harvest losses that are in the region of 30% for fruit and vegetables. Rising per capita income and shifting consumption patterns from cereal to include fruits, vegetables and milk contribute to spiraling food inflation levels. Food processing levels continue to be very low, offering limited levels of value addition. Increasing agricultural production with limited natural resources in a sustainable manner for ensuring food and nutritional security, creating a vibrant food processing sector and providing assured incomes to farmers remain key national priorities.
To respond to the needs, CARD has been playing a pro-active role in the field of environment, agriculture and rural development, since its inception in the year 2000; and is making a small difference in its own way. I am indebted to all those who have extended their whole hearted support in realizing our objectives and converting a noble idea into a concept and finally into an institution. CARD acts as a bridge between this network of Agricultural Community and various other stake- holders of this sector (State and Central Governments, International Organizations, Bilateral Developmental agencies, Corporate, Academia, and End-users) through large-scale projects on the field.