With the introduction of economic planning in 1950-51 and with the advent of Green Revolution after 1965, there was a steady increase in area under cultivation and a steady rise in average yield per hectare (or) rise in agricultural productivity. As a result, general production of all agricultural crops recorded a rising trend.
India's major food crops are rice, wheat, maize, cereals and pulses. The major cash crops are sugarcane, jute, cotton, tea, coffee, groundnut and other oil seeds. In the pre-green revolution period, i.e. 1949-65, foodgrains production increased from 55 million tonnes to 89 million tonnes. It was accounted for 3.2% of annual rate of growth. In the post-green revolution period, i.e. 1965-2001, the production of food grains has increased from 89 million tonnes to 195.9 million tonnes. But the annual rate of growth was only 2.2%.
Cropping pattern means the proportion of area under different crops at a point of time. In other words, it means a ratio of different crops cultivated at a particular time. A change in cropping pattern implies a change in the proportion of area under different crops.
Table: Nature of crop distribution since 1951
The table indicates the share of different categories of crops in the total area sown.
Natural Factors: Natural factors include the type of land, climate, rainfall and average temperature etc. These are the most important factors affecting cropping pattern because the role of Nature is more important than man in agriculture.
Crops 1950-51 1980-81 2000-01
a) All Crops 100 100 100
b) Foodgrains 74 80 75
c) Non-foodgrains 26 20 25
Size of Holdings: If the size of holding is small, farmers will prefer food grains and if the size of holding is sufficiently large, they may choose commercial crops.
Price of Agricultural Products: Farmers like to produce the crops, which may yield maximum profit to them.
Availability of Agricultural Inputs: If the farmers have inputs of high quality, they may go in for commercial crops. For this purpose, they require agricultural implements, fertilizers, chemicals, high yielding seeds and irrigation facilities.
Social Factors: Social customs and attitude of farmers towards new technology and development also affect cropping pattern of a country. If the farmers are willing to accept new technology and development, they will be induced to go for commercial crops.
Government Policy: Government may also affect cropping pattern of the country by giving incentives to some particular crops.
Knowledge about Cropping Pattern: If the farmers were aware of the improvements they can bring in their cropping pattern, they would like to change it.
Crop Insurance Scheme: Crop insurance scheme helps in diversifying cropping pattern of a country. This scheme helps farmers in adopting the crops, which involve risks.
Government Efforts: Government can also help in the diversification of cropping pattern by adopting following measures - (i) To distribute high yielding variety seeds through government agencies, ii) To make chemical fertilizers available at concessional rates iii) To provide the facilities of storage and transportation regarding agricultural products, iv) to make the marketing system of agricultural products effective so that the farmers may get fair price for their products.
Agricultural holding is the main determinant of the quantity, quality and structure of agricultural production. Agricultural holding means the size of land owned and cultivated by a farmer. It may be defined on the basis of ownership, (agricultural holding means the size of land owned by a farmer) and on the basis of cultivation. Agricultural holding means the size of land cultivated by a farmer at a particular time.
Consolidation of holdings
A major cause of low agricultural productivity is the fragmentation and sub-division of holdings which has resulted in uneconomic holdings. Besides the tenancy system and the ownership pattern, the programme of land reforms covers the task of consolidating the scattered holdings of the small farmers so as to make them compact units in one place.