The following points highlight the four main factors determining cropping pattern in India. The factors are: 1. Physical Factors 2. Technical Factors. 3. Economic Factors. 4. Government Action.
Factor # 1. 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.
Factor # 2. 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.
Factor # 3. 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:
(a) 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.
(b) Farm Size:
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.
(d) Availability affirm inputs:
Cropping pattern is also depending upon the farm inputs available viz., seeds, fertiliser, controlled and assured water supply through irrigation etc. and among these irrigation is the most important. Accordingly, the NCAER observed, “if additional irrigation facilities were provided in Punjab, the cropping pattern on as much as 3.4 million acre could be changed, of which nearly 1.6 million acre now under gram could be put to more paying crops.”
Factor # 4. Government Action:
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 which include:
(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.
Thus, 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.
Whenever farmers in India see a better cropping pattern they try to adjust with it. To adopt a better cropping pattern farmer should possess requisite volume of capital and know-how just for changing the cropping pattern in India.