Perspectives from the Asia-Pacific
Edited by Matthew Tonts and M. A.B. Siddique
Chapter 5: Agriculture and Economic Development in India and China: An Overview
M.A.B. Siddique INTRODUCTION India and China are among the fastest-growing economies in the world. Although both countries exemplify economic accomplishment, their individual experiences have been vastly different. Since the late 1980s, India and China have been successful in achieving a turnaround in economic conditions, reaching annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth in excess of 10 per cent, and have withstood trying times in Asia (WDI online). The two countries are major players in the global economy, accounting for a large proportion of the world’s population and producing 17.6 per cent of global GDP. China and India are both likely to continue to exhibit strong growth, alongside features typical of developing countries: a significant proportion of the population in both countries lives below the poverty line (US$1 per day), and rural areas are still reliant on agriculture. Agriculture can determine the pace of industrialisation and development in other sectors of the economy. This chapter is a modest attempt to assess the role of agriculture in promoting economic development in India and China. These two economies have been selected on the basis of their significant importance to the global economy and due to the substantial role that agriculture has played in promoting development in these countries. Agriculture in India and China is assessed in the next two sections, which look at the historical growth patterns of the respective countries, followed by an examination of the significance of agriculture to their economies. The two country-specific sections then address the major agricultural reforms...
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