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Explain the changes in cropping pattern in India in the context of changes in consumption pattern and marketing conditions. 

Q13. Explain the changes in cropping pattern in India in the context of changes in consumption pattern and marketing conditions. (15m) – Agriculture


Cropping pattern in India is characterised with changes in time and space. As agriculture in India is still evolving, cropping patterns reflect the demands of consumption and market conditions in a major way.


Factors affecting the change in cropping pattern:

  • Natural Factors:
      • Climate and weather patterns
      • Soil and fertility
      • Pest and diseases
  • Anthropogenic Factors:
    • Technological advances
    • Government policies

Under the anthropogenic factors, in context of changes in consumption pattern and market conditions cropping pattern has changed in following ways:

Consumption Pattern:

  • Shift to high nutrition crops : from cereals to pulses (in Rajasthan), exotic foods (avocados, kiwis in Himachal) due to increased disposable incomes.
  • Environmental consciousness:  increasing demand for organic products due to changes in lifestyles. 
  • E.g. Sikkim as the first fully organic state.
  • Rise in processed food consumption: due to busy lifestyles, people prefer processed foods. Crops like potatoes (UP, West Bengal, Punjab, Bihar and Gujarat) and tomatoes (Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Odisha) supply raw materials for the processed food, such as potato chips and tomato ketchup.
  • Health consciousness: have led to increased demand for healthier oils like olive and jojoba (grown in Rajasthan), 
  • Demand for livestock and fuel feed: Growing demand for dairy and poultry products has increased the need for livestock feed (maize and sorghum – in Rajasthan). Similarly, bagasse from sugarcane (UP and Maharashtra) is used for producing biofuels.
  • E-commerce: rise in delivery services (blinkit, swiggy) increased consumption demand for exclusive products. 
    • E.g cherry tomatoes are a typical winter crop in northern regions but are now grown in Telangana too.

Market Conditions:

  • Export potential: E.g. cotton is best suited for Black soil of Maharashtra and Gujarat, but due to its export potential (in the form of clothing), it is now being grown in Punjab too.
      • The success of exports of pickled Cucumber & Gherkins has changed cropping patterns in more than 20 districts in Karnataka.
  • Government policies: MSP and subsidies have led to changes in the consumption patterns of various crops like rice, wheat and sugarcane (even in those regions which have negative externalities like water availability).
  • Fluctuations in commodity prices: E.g. The plantation of tomatoes in Maharashtra has reduced by more than 50% in the kharif season due to its price volatility in recent times.
  • External factors: decline in imports of oilseeds from South East Asia has led to the increased production of oilseeds in India. The oilseed production in India has grown by almost 43 per cent from 2015-16 to 2020-21. 


Market conditions and consumer preferences need to be tracked in order to align it with ecological capacity of the region and availability of resources. This can be achieved through the use of technology (soil health card, e-technology) and quick dissemination of knowledge from institutions (ICAR) to the farmers.


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