Cropping Pattern Over Time:
The dominance of food crops and among food crops that of rice and wheat only states the existing cropping patterns. It is important to study the trend and trace the changes, if any.
Some of the salient features of the cropping pattern over time are as follows:
1) Foodgrains constitute the crop group, which is cultivated on a very large area. This share was more than 3/4th of the cultivated area up to the beginning 1970's. The share started declining steadily and by the beginning of 2000-01, the share of area under foodgrains decreased to nearly 2/3rds of the total cultivated area. This proportion has more or less stabilised at this level with only minor year-to-year fluctuations.
2) Largest share of the foodgrains is devoted to the cereals. Up to the beginning of 1980's, the share of area under cultivation of all types of cereals was around 60 per cent. From the beginning of 1990's, it declined to around 55 to 56 per cent and has stabilised at that level. We have noted earlier that there was rapid growth in productivity during the 1970's and 1980's. This might have contributed to the decline in area under this crop group. Thus, the green revolution and particularly the sharp increase in productivity particularly in wheat and rice proved to be a land saving technology.
3) There are only minor variations in the proportion of area under the rice crop. It varied between 22 to 25 per cent. The relatively shrinking area under rice crop may largely be due to greater increase in area brought under cultivation which did not have access to water resources which is vital for the rice crop. However, the proportion of area under rice has risen since the beginning of 2000-01.
4) The proportion of area under wheat has been almost consistently on the rise.
5) The proportion of area under pulses has shown a steady decline.
6) It may be noted that the area under both rice and wheat put together has risen since the beginning of the decade of 1980's. It fluctuated around 31 to 33 per cent up to the beginning of the 1970's. Thereafter, it picked up and has varied between 36 to 38 per cent in the 1980's and thereafter.
7) Among the non-foodgrain crops the only crop group that has shown a discernible rise in its share of the total cultivated area is oilseeds. It increased from nearly 8 per cent to almost 13 per cent between 1950's and 1990's. It has continued to fluctuate around 13 per cent with minor year-to-year variations.
8) Some rise in the share of sugar-cane is noticed. It has increased from around 1.3 per cent in 1950's to almost double the proportion in the year 2002-03.
9) There is a substantial stability in respect of share of other crops i.e. cotton, jute & mesta and tobacco and no discernible variations are observed in the case of the share of these crops.