Cropping pattern refers to the  following

  1. Proportion of area under different crops
  2. Changes in this proportion of area over a period
  3. Factors that determines this proportion of area
  •  In India out of total cropped area ,75% area is under food crops
  • Food crops include – cereals , Millet’s (jowar,bazara & Ragi), Pulses, vegetable & Fruits .
  • Majority of the area under food crops are dedicated to cereals .In 1950-51 area under the cereals was only 80.4% of the total food crop area.This figure changed a little in 2011-12 and it was 80.2% of total food crop area
  • With in the cereal crops- Rice is most important food grain crop.In 2011-12 nearly 35% of total area under food crops was under rice cultivation .This figure was 31.6% in 1950 .This rise in  area for cultivation of rice was due to Govt supported schemes .In fact in almost all the state the area under rice cultivation has increased.
  • After rice,  wheat is the most important cereal crop. In 1951, wheat had a share of only 10% of the total area under food crops however after 1966, the situation improved and in 2011-12, it had a share of 24% of total area under food crops .However this rise was restricted up to Haryana ,Punjab, Bihar & Western U.P.

                 Coarse cereals –  which Includes Jawar, Bajra & maize ,for it, the trend was declining from 29% of total area under food in 1951  fell to 19% in year 2011-12


  1.   Change in the Consumer taste with the rise in the income towards high value status food like wheat & rice
  2. Low Rate of profit as compare to Wheat and Rice , due to the existence of minimum support price provided by the government to wheat and rice .
  3. High cost of inputs.
  4. High yield varieties were location specific & they were prone to pests and diseases.

               OIL SEEDS

  • Areas Under oil seeds in 1950 was 11% of the total  area under the food crops.
  • In 1998-99 the area under oil seeds rose, as government decided to decrease our dependability on imports on edible oils. however edible oil is still a large component of our imports. It causes a huge loss of our foreign exchange on meeting the demand for the edible oil.

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  • Climatic Conditions -Nature of soil  type of climate , extent of rain fall etc are natural factors that are most important to determine the cropping pattern.For example in west Bengal heavy rainfall and water logging helps in good production of rice .In Rajasthan and dry areas of Gujarat, there is low availability of water thus coarse cereals like jowra, bajra or pulses are best suited for the region.
  • Prices of  the commodities – Stable prices of a particular commodity ,motivates a farmer to opt a particular crop. India has largest Public distribution system in the world. Before every sowing season MSPs are announced by GOI on the recommendation of Commission for Agriculture cost and Prices (CACP). Farmers are more inclined towards Paddy and wheat as due to Public procurement of Paddy and Wheat by FCI, prices of these two commodities stay stable. MSPs for pulses or millets are usually higher than the Wheat and Paddy but they are not procured by government on large scale as these commodities are not a part of public distribution system. Thus due stability in returns farmers are more inclined towards Wheat and paddy compared to other commodities.
  • Land Holdings – In India due to particle success of land reforms , the land holding a re still small .These small land holding are not capable to support higher farm technologies .thus farmers are still dependent on subsistence farming and are not able to implement multiple cropping system .This was specially visible in eastern part of india .On the other hand in northern part of India , especially in Punjab and Haryana land holdings are larger in size thus multiple crops like sugar can along with wheat is cropped
  • Cost and availability of Inputs-after the green revolution states like Punjab Haryana and up had a better access to HYV seeds , fertilizers , irrigation facilities and cheap power for pump sets .Due to this no other region compared to Punjab Haryana and UP shown the development on Yield per hector in farming in fact this is also quoted as a disadvantage of green revolution that it created regional imbalances
  • Policy of Government -In Pre Independence era , the major focus of British government was to collect revenue only from the agriculture but in post independence era government emphasized more on the infrastructure , R&D and lower input cost for agriculture .Government crafted special policies for particular areas to give boost to particular commodities in agriculture .policy of government is second most important factor after climate to decide on cropping pattern in India. Policy of government in the agriculture extends from Crop insurance, Irrigation facilities, Credit facilities, announcement of minimum support price, to the Technological advancement. The Recent announcement of E-NAM (national agricultural Market) can have greater impact on reducing regional imbalances of agricultural market.
  • Special Products in India.- we are living in a time of globalization. Imports in agriculture enters in India and give competition to our farmers. In order to safeguard our farmers, India announces certain commodities under the Special products arrangement of WTO. Tariff protections are there for the products falling in this list. currently India has around 40 such commodities under the SP list. when a Agri commodity gets tariff protection against cheap imports, it will more accepted by the farmers compared other crops.

About the author: Aman Kumar

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