Cropping Pattern

Mains Marks Booster     5th August 2023        

Cropping Pattern: Cropping pattern is defined as spatial representation of crops rotations, or the proportion of land under cultivation of different crops at different times of the year. Cropping pattern mainly determined by the rainfall, temperature, climate and soil types.

Cropping Pattern and Cropping System

  • Cropping pattern: It is the proportion of area under various crops at a point of time in a unit area. It includes yearly sequence and spatial arrangement of crops and fallow on a given area.
  • Cropping system: Cropping pattern and its management to derive benefits from a given resource base under specific environmental conditions is called cropping system. It is location specific, so it changes when place and environment are changed.

Types of Cropping system

  • Mono cropping- It is a system of growing the same crop or a single crop on the same land year after year. It is also called monoculture or single cropping. Cropping intensity is thus always 100%.
  • Multiple cropping: - It is defined as cultivation of two or more crops on the same field in a year without deteriorating soil fertility.
  • Inter-cropping: It is the practice of growing two or more crops simultaneously on the same piece of land in a fixed ratio or with a definite row arrangement, e.g., Wheat + mustard = 9:1
  • Sequence/Sequential cropping: It can be defined as growing of two or more crops in quick succession on the same piece of land in a farming year.
  • Relay cropping: Growing two or more crops simultaneously during the part of life cycle of each. Succeeding crop is planted before the harvesting of preceding crop. 

Factors affecting cropping pattern

Physical factors: Soil, Climatic, Temperature

Technological factors 

  • Irrigation facilities: For Ex. Punjab and Haryana emerged as rice growing states due to irrigation facilities
  • Quality seedFor Ex. Bt seeds in Vidarbha altered cropping pattern towards cotton-based economy.
  • Green house technology: Vegetable based and horticulture based cropping pattern.
  • Processing technology: Ketchup industry in Maharashtra, Tomato cropping. 
  • Storage technology: More toward perishable crops like flavour savour tomato.

Economic factors 

  • Availability of credit by institutional and non-institutional factors. Ex., Sugarcane based in western Maharashtra. 
  • Landholdings size of land of farmers helps in choice and cropping patterns. 
  • Inputs- Ex., credit and loans for input directly affect area under different crops.

Government policies

  • Minimum Support Price (MSP): For Ex. higher MSP for rice and Wheat have resulted in higher area under cultivation of these crops. 
  • Subsidies on farm inputs eg. subsidies on power leads to adoption of water intensive crops like sugarcane. 
  • Export import policies of government Ex. Area under onion and sunflower in 2022 got affected by government policies

Social factors: Food habits, For eg, preference of Wheat/rice over traditional millets in India has resulted in decrease in area under Millets cultivation. 

Issues with the Current Cropping Patterns 

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cropping pattern

Remedies to current issues in cropping pattern:

  • Crop diversification 

Crop diversification is a strategy applied to grow more diverse crops from shrinking land resources with an increase in productivity in the same arable land.


  • Vertical Crop Diversification: Vertical crop diversification stresses upon the development of allied sectors and shift of burden from cultivation to allied activities e.g., animal husbandry, horticulture, floriculture, food and fruit processing etc.
  • Horizontal Crop Diversification: It stands for inclusion of more and varied crops in the cropping system, using multiple cropping techniques, rather than concentrating on repetition of few crops. 
      Horizontal Crop Diversification

Measures of Crop diversification


  • Maximisation of income- 84% of farmers in India are small and marginal. With small landholding profit maximisation can be possible with crop diversification.
  • Mitigate natural calamities – Mixed cropping is useful to fight sudden erratic rainfall, increased temperature, climate change etc.
  • Increase economic stability- Crop subsidisation with more economical crops helps farmers in maintaining economic stability of farming system.
  • Environment conservation: Iimproves soil fertility, minimizes water stress, decreases soil pollution leading to reduced chances of pest attack. 
  • Food and nutritional security as it enables farmers to grow surplus produce.  


  • Overuse of resources: like land, water may amplify resource consumption degrading the sustainability of agriculture.
  • Over-dependence on Monsoon: Around 55% of Cultivable Land is Rain-fed with heavy dependence on monsoon resulting in adverse impact on crops as some crops may not be able to survive in the prevailing environmental conditions.
  • Inadequate infrastructure for improving cropping pattern such as road, market, supply chain, post-harvest handling technology ,irrigation practice.
  • Lack of technology: Inadequate trained human resources, modern technology & mechanization of agriculture, illiteracy of farmers etc.
  • Research: Climate specific varieties, drought resistant varieties of different crops need to be done.
  • Linkages: Inadequate forward and backward linkages due to inadequate infrastructure and modern mechanisms.

Govt measures for encouraging crop diversification: 

Govt measures for encouraging crop diversification:

Conclusion: Crop diversification is demand driven, need based situation specific and national goal seeking dynamic and iterative concepts that incorporate spatial, temporal and value addition and resource complementary techniques. That will ensure food security of Indian and provide sustainable solutions for agricultural problems.

output themes