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Agriculture Is the Biggest Employer in India


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Anna Fleck


A new report was published by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems yesterday titled ‘Land Squeeze: What is driving unprecedented pressures on farmland and what can be done to achieve equitable access to land?’ It outlines how a global land squeeze is driving a surge in land inequality, rural poverty and food insecurity, with smallholder farmers feeling the brunt of it. The squeeze is a result of a number of factors, including land grabbing, green grabbing, encroachment of other industries and urbanization on arable land, as well as the consolidation of farmland.


India is cited as one of the nations where smallholder farmers are particularly suffering from these effects. As the following chart shows, agriculture is the country’s biggest employment sector, with 45.5 percent of the total workforce working in its related activities. This is according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey report for 2021–22, published by India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. From a geographical perspective, 59 percent of the rural workforce are employed in agriculture, versus 6.7 percent in urban settings.


The next biggest sectors in India for employment in 2021-22 were construction with 12.6 percent of the workforce, trade, hotel & restaurant workers with 12.1 percent, manufacturing with 11.6 percent.


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