Determinants of crop diversification in Kerala- a temporal analysis

Geethu P. George, Hari Om Sharma

Abstract


The magnitude of crop diversification shows the impact of physical, socio-economic and technological influence on cropping pattern of an area. The present study was aimed at assessing crop diversification over a period of 30 years (1987-88 to 2016-17) along with the trends and growth in area of major crops of Kerala. The data were collected from periodic documents such as ‘Economic Review’ published by the Kerala State Planning Board, and ‘Agricultural Statistics’ by the Department of Economics & Statistics, Government of Kerala. The study revealed that the area under food crops in Kerala has been dwindling over the years while the area under most commercial crops, especially, rubber, arecanut and banana has been increasing. In the process, crop diversity suffered as farmers have shifted from diversified to specialized farming. It is also evident that when wage rate increases, crop diversification decreases as farmers shift to less labour-intensive perennial crops like rubber and coconut. Higher literacy rate prevalent in Kerala also contributes to decline of crop diversification. However, as increased population density leads to fragmentation of land holdings, homestead-based farming, which encourages crop diversification is widely prevalent among small holders.


Keywords


Crop diversification, Kerala, commercial crops, homestead farming, Modified Entropy Index

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References


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A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]