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 Punjab

           The present study was undertaken to examine the relative economics of paddy vis-à-vis competing/alternative crops, the constraints in adoption of alternative crops and to suggest policy measures to overcome these constraints in Punjab state. In the present study, the important crops competing with paddy during kharif season viz., basmati-paddy, maize, cotton, guara and sugarcane were selected for the indepth analysis spreading over six districts with a total sample of 210 farmers. The primary data collection was done by the personal interview method for the reference year 2012-13. The results of the study showed that area under paddy increased ten folds during last five decades by replacing crops like cotton, kharif pulses, maize, jowar, bajra and kharif oilseeds. The average operational holding size of sample households was 7.97 hectares. The average sample household was found to possess assets worth about Rs. 3 lakh and the asset value was found to increase with the increasing farm size. The average sample household was found to possess 0.79 tractors and less than one electric motor (0.80). Paddy and wheat were the major kharif and rabi crops in the study area grown on 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 occupying about 15, 15, 8, 7 and 4 per cent of the net cropped area during the kharif season. The farmers revealed that basmati-paddy, sugarcane, maize, cotton, groundnut and guara were the potential alternative crops to paddy during the kharif season. 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. 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. As there is assured marketing of paddy in the state, the government agencies were purchasing the paddy at minimum support price (MSP) from the farmers in the state. Unlike the fine varieties of paddy, there is no provision of procurement by the government agency in case of other competing crops. The labour requirement for cotton was more than other competing crops during kharif season as more labour was required for harvesting of crop which is done manually. Being highly water intensive crop, paddy required the maximum hours (about 155 hours) for the irrigation at different stages of paddy production while the guara crop required less than 5 per cent as required for paddy cultivation. The results showed that the returns over variable cost fetched from Basmati-paddy were the highest on per hectare basis (Rs. 122276) even more than the fine varieties of paddy (Rs. 60113), which was mainly due the higher average price of basmati-paddy (Rs. 3673/q) fetched during the reference year under the study. Otherwise, the last year average price received by the farmers was about Rs. 2800/q. The production scenario of basmati-paddy in the state has significantly improved in the recent years due to the adoption of Pusa 1509 and Pusa 1121 varieties in the state, which have become popular in the state due to their better yield. It was followed by guara, cotton and maize as the returns over variable cost on per hectare basis for these crops were Rs. 57075, Rs. 50407 and Rs. 13602 respectively. The returns over variable cost on per hectare basis were the least for maize crop as the average price realized by the farmers was only Rs. 860/q, which was only about 70 per cent as compared to the MSP announced by the government (Rs. 1310/q). The returns over variable cost for maize could be increased through the government procurement at MSP. The MSP coupled with effective procurement can go a long way in making maize cultivation remunerative in the state. The guara growers got handsome returns over variable cost 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. Cotton crop requires specific agro-climatic conditions, which are prevalent only in the South western region of the state. In terms of benefit cost analysis, the ratio was the highest for guara (6.73), which may be due to the lowest variable cost which has to be incurred during production of the crop. Human labour was found be significant variable affecting the productivity of cotton and sugarcane crops, while the coefficient of machine labour was observed to be negative and significant in Basmati-paddy. The regression coefficient for expenditure on plant protection measures was positive and significant for paddy showing that the variable play an important role in paddy production. The regression analysis for guara crop showed that none of the independent variable was found to be significantly affecting the yield. As the crop is neglected in terms of the research and extension initiatives, therefore the high yielding varieties responsive to the input use were not available. The value of R2 varied between 0.74 to 0.11 which was the highest for cotton and the lowest for guara. The adaptation to the soil/climate type and attractive price of the Basmati-paddy, cotton and guara has been the major reasons for attraction of the farmers to the crop. 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. Low/fluctuation of prices in the market and lack of market intelligence were reported as the major marketing problem confronted by growers of kharif crops in the study area. 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 crops growers in south western districts of the state 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 MSP 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 availability of the 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.