Indian Economy – Agriculture – Cropping Pattern of India
- Multiplicity of cropping systems has been one of main features of Indian agriculture and it is attributed to rain fed agriculture and prevailing socio-economic situations of farming community. It has been estimated that more than 250 double cropping systems are followed throughout the country and based on rationale of spread of crops in each district in the country, 30 important cropping systems have been identified.
- Cropping systems of a region are decided by and large, by a number of soil and climatic parameters which determine overall agro-ecological setting for nourishment and appropriateness of a crop or set of crops for cultivation.
- Nevertheless, at farmers’ level, potential productivity and monetary benefits act as guiding principles while opting for a particular crop/cropping system. These decisions with respect to choice of crops and cropping systems are further narrowed down under influence of several other forces related to infrastructure facilities, socio-economic factors and technological developments, all operating interactively at micro-level.
Types of Cropping System in India:
CROPPING SYSTEMS OF IRRIGATED ECOSYSTEM:
Depending upon the natural water resources, each region has certain area under irrigated agriculture. But, broadly considering, two distinct irrigated ecosystems emerge. One is Indo-Gangetic Plain region comprising the states of Punjab, Haryana, plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and plains of Jammu & Kashmir. The other ecosystem may be carved out of coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
ISSUES IN IRRIGATED CROPPING SYSTEMS
- Adequate information is lacking on site-specific characterization of land and water resources and climatic parameters, which is crucial for efficient land use planning and resource deployment.
- Despite the fact that water is a precious and scarce resource, its application and use efficiencies have been quite low.
- Excessive use of water due to – – improper leveling of fields coupled with improper application methods, even in agriculturally advanced areas, and – faulty pricing policy for electricity and canal water leading to over irrigation.
- Non-adoption of appropriate cropping systems. For example – – extensive cultivation of rice in sandy soils of Punjab, and – advancement of rice transplanting to April/May in Punjab and Haryana.
- Soil salinity hazards due to ground water rise and impeded natural drainage in certain canal command areas
- The excessive pumping of ground water for irrigation purposes in intensively cultivated areas of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh has caused lowering down of the ground water table. serious questions about the long-term sustainability of rice-wheat system itself in these areas.
- Diversion of highly productive irrigated land to nonagricultural uses; such as industry, housing etc., specially at rural-urban interface needs to be viewed seriously.
- Due to imbalance in fertilizer use, widespread deficiencies of secondary and micro-nutrients and reduced organic matter contents of cultivated lands, a declining trend for responses to nutrients, specially to nitrogen, in major cropping systems is being observed on farmers’ fields. That is, to sustain earlier yield levels farmers need to apply higher fertilizer doses.
- The problem of imbalance in fertilizer use has been accentuated on three accounts With intensive cropping, nutrient removal by crops from soil has far exceeded replenishment through fertilizers and manures. This is causing negative balance of nutrients in soil. And if this trend continues, a serious threat persists for sustainability of the major cropping systems of irrigated areas. Due to continuous cereal-cereal cropping in most of the irrigated fertile lands during post green revolution period, multiple nutrient deficiencies have emerged.
- With crop intensification under high input use, serious threats of occurrence and build up of some obnoxious pests and diseases have crept in.
- With a pressing need for producing more and more from less and less land resource, a serious threat is lurking upon the environmental quality.
Cropping Pattern Of India:
On the basis of some homogeneity and commonness, major crop regions in India may be divides as follows:
- Rice Region
- Wheat Region
- Jowar-Bajra Region
- Cotton Region
- Millet and Maize Region
- Fruit and Spice Region
The Rice Region
Rice is considered as the first-ranking crop in the vast region stretching from lower Gangetic Plain to Brahmaputra Valley in the east and the circum-coastal alluvial tracts of the peninsula region. Rice cultivation is done around Bay of Bengal, barring isolated pockets bordering the Arabian Sea. The isohyets line (a line on a map connecting points having the same amount of rainfall in a given period) 150 cm demarcates the lower boundary of rice, except in some edges where rice grows even in 100 cm of annual rainfall. Though rice displays overall dominance, considering the secondary importance of other crops, this region may be subdivides into following zones:
Rice-Jute-Tea: This association of crops occurs in farthest east, near Assam Valley northern West Bengal and lower Gangetic plains.
Rice-Pulses-Millets-: This association occurs in the western section of the former zone, covering central Bihar, eastern Madhya Pradesh and eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Rice-Millets: This zone comprises the entire Andhra Pradesh, south Orissa and some parts of Tamil Nadu.
Rice-Coffee-Spices: This zone is found in the southern extremity of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The Jowar-Bajra Region:
This crop combination occurs relatively in less rainfall region of 50-100 cm in red soil region. As the region is drought prone, Jowar-Bajra is more popular.
- Jowar-Cotton in Maharashtra.
- Jowar-Cotton-Oilseeds-Millets in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
- Jowar-Wheat in entire Rajasthan, Haryana and some parts of Uttar Pradesh.
- Bajra-Jowar-Pulses in Rajasthan desert and semi-desert areas.
The Wheat Region:
This region covers the entire north-western India including the state of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The major sub-regions are:
- Wheat-Maize-Sugar Cane: This region comprises a great part of wheat regions, covering West Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and
- Wheat-Jowar-Bajrain Indus Plain covering Punjab and Haryana.
- Wheat-Jowar-Bajrain Vindhyan scarp land and Malwa Bundelkhand plateau.
The Cotton Region:
In the black cotton soil as regur region in the North West India, cotton cultivation predominates. The cotton cultivation covers the Deccan trap region and Gujarat Plain. The Narmada, Tapti, Purna, Sabarmati River Valleys are basically heartlands of cotton cultivation. As a cash-crop, cotton cultivation is always associated with one food grain cultivation, preferably Jowar, Bajra or oil seeds. The different sub-regions are:
- Cotton-Jowar-Bajra grows in close association with one another in the Maharashtra and Western Madhya Pradesh.
- Cotton-Oilseeds-Combination developed in Gujarat.
- Cotton-Pulses-Rice-Region developed in Narmada banks and eastern Gujarat.
The Millet Maize Region:
The cultivation of millet, maize and ragi are found in close association with other major cereals like bajra, wheat, rice etc. Maize cultivation dominates in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. In Himachal Pradesh, Maize-Barley-wheat combination has developed, particularly in the foothills of the Himalayas. Some parts of the Aravalli have the peculiar crop combination of Maize-Cotton-Oilseeds-Millets-Wheat. Ragi cultivation predominates in South of Karnataka.
The Fruit and Spice Region:
This is the smallest region among the different crop regions. High-altitude hilly areas come under the territory of this region. The ‘Duns’and valleys in Himalayas, foothills of Nilgiri, Annamalai, Palni and Cardamom hills in Tamil Nadu and Kerala may be classified as fruit and spice region. Here, the dominant agricultural activity is fruit orchards and plantations.
DIVERSIFICATION OF CROPPING PATTERNS IN INDIA
The Cropping Patterns in India underwent several changes with the advent of modern agricultural technology, especially during the period of the Green Revolution in the late sixties and early seventies. There is a continuous surge for diversified agriculture in terms of crops, primarily on economic considerations. The crop pattern changes, however, are the outcome of the interactive effect of many factors which can be broadly categorized into the following 5 groups:
- Resource relatedfactors covering irrigation, rainfall and soil fertility
- Technology relatedfactors covering not only seed, fertilizer, and water technologies but also those related to marketing, storage and processing.
- Household relatedfactors covering food and fodder self-sufficiency requirement as well as investment capacity.
- Price relatedfactors covering output and input prices as well as trade policies and other economic policies that affect these prices either directly or indirectly.
- Institutional and infrastructural relatedfactors covering farm size and tenancy arrangements, research, extension and marketing systems and government regulatory policies.
- These factorsare not watertight but inter-related. For instance, the adoption of crop technologies is influenced not only by resource related factors but also by institutional and infrastructure factors.
- Similarly, government policies– both supportive and regulatory in nature- affect both the input and output prices. Likewise, special government programmes also affect area allocation and crop composition. More important both the economic liberalization policiesas well as the globalization process are also exerting strong pressure on the area allocation decision of farmers, essentially through the impact on the relative prices of input and outputs.
- Whilefactors such as food and fodder self-sufficiency, farm size, and investment constraints are important in influencing the area allocation pattern among smaller farms, larger farmers with an ability to circumvent resources constraints usually go more by economic considerations based on relative crop prices than by other non-economic consideration.
- Similarly economicfactors play a relative stronger role in influencing the crop pattern in areas with a better irrigation and infrastructure potential. In such areas, commercialization and market networks co-evolve to make the farmers more dynamic and highly responsive to economic impulses.
- Irrigation expansion, infrastructure development, penetration of rural markets, development and spread of short duration and drought resistant crop technologies haveall contributed to minimizing the role of non-economic factors in crop choice of even small farmers.
- The reform initiativesundertaken in the context of the ongoing agricultural liberalization and globalization policies are also going to further strengthen the role of price related economic incentives in determining crop composition both at the micro andmacro levels. Obviously, such a changing economic environment will also ensure that government price and trade policies will become still more powerful instruments for directing area allocation decisions of farmers, aligning thereby the crop pattern changes in the line with the changing demand-supply conditions.
- In a condition where agricultural growth results more from productivity improvement than from area expansion, the increasing role that price related economic incentives play in crop choice can also pave the way for the next stage of agricultural evolution where growth originates more and more from value-added production.
Factors determining cropping pattern in India.
- Physical Factors:
- Cropping pattern of any particular region of the country is depending on its soil content, weather, climate, rainfall etc. As for example, in a wet area having chances of heavy rainfall and water-logging, people will like to cultivate rice whereas in a dry area, farmer can manage to cultivate coarse cereals like bajra, jowar etc.
- Technical Factors:
- The cropping pattern also depend upon the technical factors such as nature and capacity of irrigation facilities available in a region, availability of improved seeds, chemical fertiliser etc. With the development of irrigation facilities, the entire method of cultivation being followed from the traditional period is bound to change.
- With this, new and better crop rotation system can be followed and new and superior crops also can be grown.
- In India, due to the extension of irrigation facilities, the cultivation of sugarcane, tobacco, oilseeds etc. have increased substantially.
- Moreover, with the availability of irrigation water, even double or triple cropping is also successfully done. Again, in the absence of irrigation facilities in some other parts of the country, the concept of “dry land farming” is also gaining its importance in recent years.
- Economic Factors:
Economic factors are playing the major role in determining the cropping pattern in a country like India.The following are some of the economic factors influencing the cropping pattern of our country:
Price and income aspect:
- Movement of price of agricultural products is having some correlation with the changes in cropping pattern. A remunerative and steady price of a particular crop will provide a better incentive to the producer to produce that crop and un-remunerative price will induce the farmer to change the cropping pattern.
- In India, fixed procurement price of wheat and rice and other controls imposed by the Government induced the farmers to shift to cash crops like sugarcane. Again, the un-remunerative prices of jute prevailing in Assam and other adjoining states also led to shift in the production of food crops.
- Moreover, income maximisation aspect is also playing an important role in influencing the cropping pattern in the country. Relative profitability per acre is also having considerable influence on the cropping pattern of the country.
- A good relationship also exists between farm size and cropping pattern. In a small farm, farmers are very much interested to produce food grains for household consumption. After meeting their own food requirements small farmers may go for cash crops in order to maximise their money income. On the other hand, in a big farm farmers like to follow that cropping pattern which maximise their income.
- Land tenure system prevailing in the country also influences the cropping pattern. In a system of crop sharing, it is the landlord who finalizes the cropping pattern guided by profit maximising principle.
Availability affirm inputs:
- Cropping pattern is also depending upon the farm inputs available, seeds, fertiliser, controlled and assured water supply through irrigation etc. and among these irrigation is the most important.
- Cropping pattern may also be influenced by government action undertaken in the form of administrative and legislative measure. Supply of inputs by the government, intensive scheme for various crops, various government campaign like grow more food or any legislative provision by the government, transportation and marketing provision also help to finalize the cropping pattern in the country.
NCAER suggested certain measures for introducing a better and scientific cropping pattern:
(a) Like U.S.A., U.A.E., and other countries, the NCAER suggest to introduce legislative compulsion for structuring a desired cropping pattern in different region of the country.
(b) Government may appoint District Planning Officers who introduce crop planning in every season considering various seasonal changes and changes in other factors such as yields, policies, demand etc. The cultivators also should co-operate with various government departments for implementing their programme.
(c) An agricultural mechanisation corporation may also be set up for supplying various inputs on loans.
(d) The Government should also provide adequate transport and marketing facilities and also make provision for consolidation of holdings.
- In conclusion, it can be said that economic factors are playing a dominant role in determining the cropping pattern in India. Although Indian farmers are very much poverty stricken and conservative still their cropping pattern can be changed through appropriate changes in economic motive.
- There is a need to shift to sustainable agriculture. The policies should consider the environmental cost as well. The planning should be done with the fact that the next generation also need to have food security.
- Strong political will combined with mass farmer awareness can make the desired changes.
Model Mains Question:
The conventional ways of agriculture needs to be replaced with diverse and sustainable agriculture.Comment
NCAER,Hindu, Economy Discussion, Business line