Issues with current cropping pattern

  • Old methods: Agricultural practices in India have gained self-sufficiency, but the production remains resource-intensive, cereal-centric, and regionally biased. These deficiencies have raised sustainability issues.
  • Unsustainable practices: Since more than half of India’s population depends upon rural employment for a living, Slow agricultural growth is a concern for the policy-makers as the currently adopted agricultural practices are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable.
  • Dominance of cereals among food crops: Within broad group of food crops cereals like wheat and rice dominate. About 82 per cent of the area under food crops has been put to cultivation of cereals. This is due to better prices, less risk in production and the availabil-ity of better seeds.
  • Decline in coarse cereals Jwar, Bajra, Maize, Millets, Barley etc. are called coarse or inferior cereals. The area under these crops to the total area under cereal crops has declined significantly from 48 per cent in 1950-51 to about 29 per cent in 2001. This is due to spread of irrigation facilities, improved inputs and a shift in con-sumption patterns of the people.
  • Declining importance of Kharif crops There are mainly three cropping seasons in India (i) Kharif (ii) Rabi (iii) Zaid. The Kharif season corresponds to the rainy season, while Rabi season with the winter. The short period in between the harvest of the Rabi crops and the sowing of the Kharif crops is called the Zaid season.
  • Social problems: Agriculture is recently facing greater changes in terms of social aspects like the increased feminization of agriculture, mainly due to an increase in the number of women-headed households, increased rural-urban migration by men, and growth in cash crops production which require a lot of labor.