Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana,India
 Sponsored by
Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi
Research Content
Possibilites and Constraints in Adoption of Alternative Crops to Paddy in Green Revolution Belt of North India

           The present study was undertaken to examine the relative economics of paddy vis-a-vis competing/alternative crops, the constraints in adoption of alternative crops and to suggest policy measures to overcome these constraints in selected states of India. The present study was conducted in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh (Western part) states of India and the important crops competing with paddy during kharif season viz., basmati-paddy, maize, cotton, guara, sugarcane, bajra and urad were selected for the in depth analysis spreading over six districts with a total sample of 210 farmers in each selected state. The primary data collection was done by the personal interview method for the reference year 2012-13. The results of the study showed that the area under paddy in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh which occupied only about 5, 6 and 13 per cent of gross cropped area (GCA) during TE 1970-71 jumped to around 19, 36 and 23 per cent in TE 2011-12 in these states, respectively. The area under rice has increased by replacing crops like kharif pulses, maize, jowar, bajra and kharif oilseeds. The average land holding was the highest for Punjab farmers (7.97 ha.) and the least for Western U.P. farmers (3.04 ha.). In Haryana, paddy and wheat were the major kharif and rabi crops in the study area. Cotton followed by fodder and maize was observed as the important crops in terms of net area sown (NAS) devoted in kharif season by the sampled households. Bajra and sugarcane were grown on 4.86 and 4.07 per cent of NAS respectively. In Punjab, paddy and wheat were grown over about 47 and 79 per cent area respectively. Sugarcane, basmati-paddy, maize, cotton and guara were the other important crops grown during the kharif season. In Western U.P., wheat, paddy, bajra, vegetables, urad, mustard and maize were important crops on the sample farms which accounted for 56.64 per cent, 41.02 per cent, 17.44 per cent, 12.42 per cent, 11.24 per cent, 10.69 per cent and 10.67 per cent to NAS respectively. In Haryana, the proportion of net quantity sold to the total production for paddy, basmati-paddy, bajra and maize was 96.05, 97.45, 83.33 and 93.19 per cent, respectively. In Punjab, the proportion of net quantity sold to the total production for paddy, basmati-paddy, maize and sugarcane was 99.79, 96.89, 96.41 and 88.92 per cent, respectively. In Western U.P., the proportion of net quantity sold to the total production for paddy, basmati-paddy, bajra, maize and urad was 87.44, 91.82, 87.72, 88.21 and 89.30 per cent, respectively. The whole quantity of guara and sugarcane produced was found to be disposed of by the sample farmers as nothing was kept for home consumption, seed for next year and for feed purposes. Unlike the fine varieties of paddy, there is no provision of procurement by the government agency in case of basmati-paddy, maize, cotton, bajra, urad and guara and whole the quantity of the produce was sold through the local/private traders. Even for paddy in Western U.P., whole the quantity of paddy was sold through the local/private traders. In Punjab, the whole quantity of sugarcane was sold to the processor/miller in the nearby area. The results showed that the returns over variable cost (ROVC) fetched from paddy on per hectare basis were the highest in Punjab (Rs. 60113) and the lowest for Western U.P. (Rs. 19138) as the productivity of paddy was the highest (68.42q/ha) in Punjab. Further, the ROVC fetched from basmati-paddy on per hectare basis were found to vary between Rs. 122276 in Punjab to Rs. 76714 in Western U.P., which was mainly due the highest average price of basmati-paddy (Rs. 3673/q) fetched in Punjab during the reference year under the study, although productivity for the crop was the lowest in state. The production scenario of basmati-paddy in these states has significantly improved in the recent years due to the adoption of Pusa 1121 and Pusa 1509 varieties, which have become popular in the state due to their better yield. The total variable cost on per hectare basis for bajra was found to be higher (Rs 17088) for Western U.P. as compared to Rs 11039 for the Haryana state. Similarly, ROVC was also higher for Western U.P. For maize, the ROVC fetched from maize on per hectare basis were the highest for Western U.P. (Rs. 22803) and the lowest for Haryana (Rs. 11950) due the highest average price of maize (Rs. 1345/q) fetched in Western U.P. during the reference year under the study. In Western U.P., the average cost of cultivation of urad was estimated at Rs 15,437 per ha. and the per ha net income of urad was estimated at Rs 27,317 and the per ha yield of urad was worked out to be 12.04 qtls. The ROVC on per hectare basis for cotton crop was found to be higher (Rs 64052) for Haryana as compared to Rs 50407 in Punjab which was due the highest average price of cotton (Rs. 4955/q) fetched in Haryana. The guara growers got handsome ROVC (Rs. 57075/q) in Punjab due to remunerative prices in the market. In the long run the yield of the crop would have to be increased to make guara crop remunerative. The prevalence of insect pest and diseases and shortage of labour for performing various operations were the most prevalent problems during production of the various kharif season crops. The weeds and environment were also important problems in the cultivation of bajra as had been revealed by 40 per cent and 45per cent of sample growers of bajra respectively. The prevalence of weeds was the important problem faced by sample growers during the cultivation of urad on their farms. Low/fluctuation of prices in the market and lack of market intelligence were reported as the major marketing problem confronted by the growers. Delay in payment by the sugarcane mills and the problem of destruction by the stray animals and monkeys by the maize growers were also reported. Cotton and guara crop growers in south western districts of Punjab confronted the problem of water logging on their farms. The attack of insects/pests was found to be more prevalent in the kharif crops as compared to diseases and weeds. The productivity of cotton and guara crops was found to be affected due to water logging problems in some areas. The farmers felt the need for effective procurement of produce by government agencies at minimum support price and better market intelligence so that the farmers may get the remunerative prices for their produce. The sugarcane growers were advocating that the Government should work as regulatory in ensuring the timely payments of the produce by the mill owners. To improve the yield of these alternative crops, the researcher should develop disease resistant, excess moisture tolerant varieties for guara and cotton and drought tolerant varieties for sugarcane. On the production front, application of the irrigation at the right time, timely sowing and transplanting schedule, monitoring of the insect-pest population/damage and use of recommended control measures and seed treatment to avoid seed borne diseases were the secret of success for these alternative crops. Most of the growers felt the need to improve the extension activities through increase in number of training camps or field visits by the experts and providing the information particularly regarding the high yielding recommended varieties of the crop particularly hitherto neglected guara crop.