Agriculture’s share in India’s economy is significant, albeit in decline. Although the sector accounted for 22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2005 – next to 51 percent for services and 27 percent for industry – it remains the leading industry for employing close to two thirds of the country’s working population.
Furthermore, India has as much usable farmland as the European Union: 180 million hectares – 140 million of which are planted, covering approximately 60 percent of the country’s total land area.
The Indus and Brahmaputra regions in the north of the country (including the Assam plain, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab), traversed by the Ganges and graced most by the benefits of the monsoons, are the country’s most fertile regions where most agricultural production takes place, sugar cane and wheat production in particular.
These “natural” advantages in part explain India’s leading position with regard to many agricultural products.