Agriculture and allied sector contributes 24% of the total GDP and provide employment to around 67% Indian population (Planning Commission, 2002). Use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides have played a positive role in increasing agricultural productivity and in making India self-sufficient in food grain production. Yield of food-grain in India increased from 644 k.g. per hectare in 1966-67 to 1636 k.g. per hectare in 2000-2001(www.indiastat.com) i.e. this registered an impressive increase by around two and half times. This was mainly brought about by a more than 12 fold increase in the consumption of chemical fertilizers (from 1.1 million ton to 13.56 million tons) during the same period (Pawan Wadhwa, 2001). This apart, inorganic chemical use in agriculture has also contributed towards increasing productivity of cash crops.
After this prolonged dependence on inorganic and mineral components for agriculture growth there has been an increasing demand for rethinking agricultural growth strategy. Agriculture sustainability (Pretty J., 1998), soil degradation (soil productivity and soil structure), bio-diversity (CSE, 1998), impact on human health and on environment as a whole are the some of the concerns that are being raised for reviewing part of the agricultural growth potentials based on the current strategy. Search for alternates with a focus on long-term sustainability of agriculture has been enhanced in the last decade. In developed countries the initiatives towards greening agriculture have been prompted both by market attractiveness as well as state support activities. Usage of bio-fertilizer & bio-pesticides, organic farming (Bernhard Berger, 2001), Biodynamic farming (Planning Commission, 2001) low input agriculture (http://www.ileia.org/), permaculture (Allan Atkisson, 1991), sustainable agriculture (Pretty J. 1998), integrated farming practices (integrated pest management and integrated nutrient management), are some of the practices that are being espoused by proponents both in developed and developing countries. All these practices have evolved as alternatives to chemical use in agriculture keeping in view the increasing demand for green agriculture products across the world(Gilk Paul, 2003). This growing demand for green agriculture products is both a constraint as well as window of opportunity not only for the agriculturists but also for producers, suppliers and traders of agriculture inputs (fertilizer, pesticide etc.) and outputs (www.etagriculture.com/).
As a result of increasing domestic and international demand for greening agriculture across the countries both economic and non-economic actors such as institutions/organizations, industrial and trading firms, farming communities, civil society and their representatives played significant role in determining the extent of greening the agricultural production activities. In order to understand the greening initiative in agriculture contextually, it is pertinent to have an overview of trends in chemical inputs into the agriculture in India. Hence in the following we present a brief overview of the same in Indian agriculture.