(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains GS Online Coaching : Paper 3 - "Major Crops Cropping Patterns In Various Parts Of The Country"

Sample Material of Our IAS Mains GS Online Coaching Programme

Subject: General Studies (Paper 3 - Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Topic: Major Crops Cropping Patterns In Various Parts Of The Country



Crop pattern refers to the proportion of area under different crops at a particular period of time. A change in cropping pattern means a change in the proportion of area under different crops. It can be described in a number of ways but the most convenient method is to classify the agricultural production into two groups i.e. food grains and non-food grains. They have been discussed as below:

  • Cropping Pattern of Food-grain crops in India

  • Summary of the key points in Cropping Pattern in India

  • Among food crops, increased area under cereals and decreased area under millets.

  • Among Food grains to non-food grains area, there is a gradual shift from Non- food grains to food-grains.

  • High MSP of wheat and rice has kept the farmers encouraged to grow them in more and more Strategic objectives of India’s agriculture policy have been focussing on the increased food grain production.


India ranks second in world rice and wheat production, contributing to more than 21 percent and 11 percent of world rice and wheat output. Food grain constitutes 64 percent of the gross cropped area (GCA), although it accounts for less than 25 percent of the total value of output of agriculture and allied activities.

In India, there is an existing imbalance in the cropping pattern of the food grains because alarge proportion of the area under food grains is occupied by cereals. The food grains occupied an area of 97.32 million hectare (mha) in 1950-51 has increased to 126.74 mha in 2011-12.


  • Prices of food grains have been rising quite fast and the farmers have started growing food crops in the similar way they grow commercial crops like cotton, oil seed crops sugarcane etc.

  • Cultivation of food grains has become highly remunerative and productive under the influence of new technology.

  • Traditionally, the Minimum Support Prices for wheat and rice have been maintained reasonably high (in comparison to millets such as Jowar and Bajra’). This has helped the farmers to increase their production

  • The re has been a change in the consumption pattern and people have moved from coarse cereals to wheat and rice for their main dietary grant. This is became of the increase in the income of the people and coarse cereals being the inferior goods.

  • The strategic objectives of agricultural development in India have been changing over time.

In 1960s, it was to maintain the prices of food grains at low level. The government significantly supported the growth of wheat and rice cultivation via its policy intervention, procurement and technology.

• In 1960s to 1980s, it was to maximize food production.
• In 1980s to 1990s, it was to go for a demand driven production pattern.
• Since 1990s, it was to reduce inputs of agricultural commodities.


  • Among non-food grain crops, oil seed form an important group which, also include other crops like cotton, jute, sugarcane, tobacco tea, coffee, etc The area has shown increasing and decreasing trends.

  • Sometimes there is an increase in the area and sometimes there is a decrease in the area but overall there was not much change in the area of cultivation.


Cropping pattern of any region depends upon geographical features as soil, climate, rainfall, etc. Apart from this, it depends on the nature and availability of irrigation facilities.


  • Economic motivations are also important in determining the cropping pattern. The prices influence the acreage under the crops in two ways.

  • One is that the variations in the intercrop price disparities led to shifts in acreage between the crops.

  • Another is that the maintenance of a stable level of prices for a crop provides a better incentive to the pro duce r to increase the opt put than what a very high level of price does, if there is no uncertainty of this level being maintained over a number of years.


  • Fixed procurement price of wheat and rice and other Government controls have induced farmers to shift the cultivation to cash crops like sugarcane.

  • Farmers also would choose the combination of crops which would give the m maximum income . Relative profitability peracreis the main consideration which influences the crop pattern.

  • Small farmers are first interested in producing food “grains for the requirements and devote only a small relative acreage to cash crops than large farmers.

  • Food Crop Acts, Land use Acts, intensive schemes for paddy, cotton, oil seed etc. all the sebring sharply into focus the possibility that while each individual measure may push the crop pattern in the direction intended to, but if the overall effect of all measures taken together on the entire crop pattern is taken, it may not be in accordance with national requirements.

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