Sustainability transition for Indian agriculture

Sci Rep. 2023 May 5;13(1):7290. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-34092-0.


Farming in India faces a sustainability challenge due to its overreliance on chemical inputs. For every US$ 1,000 investment in sustainable farming, a US$ 100,000 subsidy is allocated for chemical fertilizers. Indian farming system is far off the optimal nitrogen efficiency, calling for substantial reforms in policy towards the transition to sustainable inputs. We examine the propensity of Indian farmers to adopt biofertilizers and other sustainable inputs. While small farmers are inclined towards chemical inputs, sustainable inputs are costly. Here we show that less than 5 per cent of the farming population contributes to the 95 per cent usage of the bio-fertilizer in India. However, small and marginal farmers contribute substantially to food security. Shifting from chemical to sustainable inputs calls for autonomous investment by the state to augment the capacity and improve affordability. We illustrate the transition to sustainability through a framework that includes scale, affordability, and sustainable inputs.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Farmers*
  • Farms
  • Fertilizers
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen


  • Fertilizers
  • Nitrogen