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| Last Updated:: 24/11/2016

Agriculture

 

Cultivated Crops of Kerala | Cash Crops   | Agro-Ecological Zones   | Plantation Crops | Agro-Ecological Zones   | Paddy Varieties |

 

Kerala, the State with network of azure backwaters, rivers and streams, boasts of an agrarian economy. The abundance of water due to the 34 lakes and other small streamlets, innumerable backwaters and water bodies and 44 rain-fed rivers flowing over the terrain of the state and also the adequate annual rainfall of 3000mm received by this state probably facilitates agriculture to a great extent and hence the economy of the state is dominated by agriculture.

 

Trends in Agricultural Income in Kerala: The growth performance of the agriculture and allied sectors has been fluctuating across the Plan period. It witnessed a positive growth of 1.8 percent in Xth Plan period but a negative growth rate of -1.3 percent in XIth Five Year Plan. In the Twelfth Plan based on the new series brought out by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics (DES) with 2011-12 as base year, the agriculture and allied sectors recorded a positive growth rate of 1.43 per cent in the first year (2012-13), and a negative growth rate of -2.13 per cent in second year (2013-14). In 2014-15, the sector has recorded a negative growth rate of -4.67 per cent. Consequently, the share of agriculture and allied sectors in total GSDP of the State has also declined from 14.38 percent in 2011-12 to 11.6 percent in 2014-15. But, the switch from 2004-05 to new series with 2011-12 as base has resulted in higher share of agriculture and allied sectors in the total GSDP of the State from 8.83 per cent to 12.9 per cent for 2013-14. The details of share of Agriculture and allied sectors in GDP at the National and State level (Base 2011-12) is shown below.

Sl No

Year

Share of agriculture and allied sectors in GDP (India)

Share of Agriculture and allied sectors in GSDP (Kerala) #

1

2011-12

18.4

14.38 (9.1)

2

2012-13

18.0

13.76 (9.5)

3

2013-14*

18.0

12.9 (8.83)

4

2014-15**

NA

11.6

(*Provisional ** Quick # figure with 2004-05 base in brackets)

Trends in Agriculture Income in Kerala 2010-2011

 

Crops

            The most essential or the staple crop is the rice or paddy. About 600 varieties of rice are  grown in the sprawling paddy fields of Kerala. In fact the Kuttanad region of the district of Kerala is known as the 'rice bowl of the state' and enjoys a significant status in the production of rice.

            Next to rice is Tapioca and is cultivated mainly in the drier regions. Tapioca is a major food of the Keralites. Besides production of the main crop, Kerala is also a major producer of spices that form the cash crops of the state. Kerala produces 96% of the country's national output of pepper. The important spices are cardamom, cinnamon, clove, turmeric, nutmeg and vanilla.

            Other cash crops that constitute the agricultural sector include tea , coffee cashew, pulses ,areca nut, ginger and coconut. In fact coconut provides the principal source of income in Kerala- from coir industry to coconut shell artifacts. Cashew is also an essential cash crop. Kerala also accounts for 91% of natural rubber production of the country. Kottayam district has extensive areas producing and processing rubber. Apart from rubber, other plantation crop likes plantains or bananas are also grown in plenty.

 

Trend in Area, Production and Productivity of Crops and Performance :

            Food grain production in country has reached a record value of 244.8 million tons in 2010-11. Production of rice alone was to the tune of 96.0 million tons in 2010-11.The estimated production of rice for the country is 102.8 million tons in 2011-12.Data regarding the area, production and productivity of important crops grown in Kerala are shown below. Out of a gross cropped area of 26.69 lakh ha. in 2009-10, food crops comprising rice, pulses and tapioca occupy only 11.74 percent. But in 2010-11, it reduced to 8.13%. Kerala state which had a low base in food production is facing serious challenges in retaining even this meager area. Kerala agricultural economy is undergoing structural transformation from the mid seventies by switching over a large proportion of its traditional crop area which was devoted to subsistence crops like rice and tapioca to more remunerative crops like banana and other plantations.

            The area under rice has been declining consistently over the last several years. After a long period of continuous decline, area under paddy increased from 2.29 lakh ha in 2007-08 to 2.34 lakh ha in 2008-09 and slightly declined by 252 ha only in 2009-10. But a sharp fall of area by 20828 ha was marked during 2010-11. In the case of tapioca, the area declined from 0.75 lakh ha in 2009-10 to 0.72 lakh ha. in 2010-11. Area under cashew nut was 0.49 lakh ha in 2009-10. But it declined to 0.44 lakh ha during 2010-11. 

            In the case of coconut, area was at its peak during 2000-01. During the year 2010-11, the area declined by 8145 ha. Major commercial crops which had recorded reduction of area during 2010-11 are coconut (8145 ha), cardamom (351 ha), turmeric (47 ha), cashew nut (5124 ha) and tapioca (2572 ha). The major crops with considerable gain in area include pepper (693 ha), ginger (680 ha),banana (7396 ha), arecanut (646 ha), other plantains (1327 ha), coffee (135 ha), tea (120 ha) and rubber (8822 ha). The crops which have failed to sustain the production level from 2009-10 are cashew,tapioca and coconut. In 2010-11 some of the crops indicated increase in production over 2009-10. These crops are pepper (16770 MT), ginger (4594 MT), turmeric (150 MT), cardamom (135 MT), banana (77425 MT) and other plantains (15226 MT). The crops which have marked decline in the production level during 2010-11 are rice (75598 MT), pulses (482 MT), arecanut (16854 MT), cashew nut (1066MT), tapioca (165303 MT), coconut (388 million nuts) and tea (703 MT).

Data regarding the area, production and productivity of important crops grown in Kerala during 2011-12 are shown here .  Out of a gross cropped area of 26.6 lakh ha. In 2011-12, food crops comprising rice, pulses and tapioca occupy 10.8 percent. Kerala state which had a low base in food production is facing serious challenges in retaining even this meager area. Kerala agricultural economy is undergoing structural transformation from the mid seventies by switching over a large proportion of its traditional crop area which was devoted to subsistence crops like rice and tapioca to more remunerative crops like banana and plantations.

            During 2011-12, the area under rice declined by 5027 ha. In the case of pepper, the area declined from 1.7 lakh ha in 2010-11 to 0.9 lakh ha. in 2011-12. Area under coconut was 7.7 lakh ha in 2010-11. But it increased to 8.2 lakh ha during 2011-12. All the major crops except rice and pepper showed increase in area in 2011-12. Similarly production of all major crops increased in 2011-12 except pepper. Substantial increase in production of rice is reported to the tune of 9 percent in 2011-12. In the case of coconut 12 percent increase in productivity is also reported.

            Data regarding the area, production and productivity of important crops grown in Kerala during 2012-13  are shown here. Out of a gross cropped area of 25.92 lakh ha. in 2012-13, food crops comprising rice, pulses and tapioca occupy 10.4 percent. Kerala state which had a low base in food production is facing serious challenges in retaining even this meager area. Kerala agricultural economy is undergoing structural transformation from the mid seventies by switching over a large proportion of its traditional crop area which was devoted to subsistence crops like rice and tapioca to more remunerative crops like banana and plantations. All the major crops except rubber, banana and other plantains showed decline in area in 2012-13. While the production of rubber, pepper, tea, pulses, banana and other plantains showed an increase, all other crops showed a decline in production in 2012-13.

            Tapioca is another important food crop of Kerala which was popularized as a cereal substitute towards the end of 19th century itself in the State. The role of cassava in the food security of the state is even more prominent today with ever declining area and production under rice. The tapioca crop occupied 12.59 per cent of the net sown area of the State in 1960-61 and the area expanded to 13.62 per cent of the net sown area in the next decade. However the area started declining from 1990-91 onwards and dropped down to 3.39 per cent of the net sown area by 2012-13. 

 

            About six decades back pulses occupied a prominence in the cropping system of the State. In 1960-61, it was cultivated in an area of 44120 ha with a production of 17550 tons though the productivity was low ( 398 Kg/ha). By 2000-01, the pulse area in the State drastically declined to less than 1/6th of its area in 1960-61which amounts to 0.32 per cent of net sown area. By 2012-13, the pulse area in the State has dropped down to 0.14 per cent of the net sown area  though there was definite productivity enhancement.

 

Data regarding the area, production and productivity of important crops grown in Kerala are shown below. Out of gross cropped area of 26.1lakh hectares in 2013-14, food crops comprising rice, pulses, tapioca occupy only 10.32 percent. In 2013-14, food crops in general showed an increasing trend in production as the production of rice as well as tapioca increased, while that of pulses recorded a marginal decline. This could be more account of increase in productivity than because of an increase in acreage as the area under rice has recorded only a marginal increase while that of tapioca has in fact declined. In the case of spices pepper showed a drastic fall in production mainly due to a productivity decline, while production of ginger and turmeric all showed a downward trend in production. In the case of plantation crops, coffee, tea and rubber have shown a decline in production while cardamom has shown an increase. With regard to fruits banana and other plantains as well as coconut recorded an increase in production because of an increase in acreage whereas the cashew output largely declined.

Area, Production and Productivity of Principal Crops

Sl.

No.

Crops

Area (Ha.)

Production (MT)

Productivity (Kg./Ha.)

2012-13

2013-14

2012-13

2013-14

2012-13

2013-14

1

Rice

197277

199611

508299

564325

2577

2827

2

Tapioca

69586

67589

2458515

2479070

35331

36679

3

Pulses including Tur

2948

2989

3246

3019

1101

1010

4

Cardomum*

41600

39730

10222

14000

246

352

5

Coffee**

85359

85359

68175

66645

799

781

6

Tes$

30205

30205

62963

62937

2085

2084

7

Rubber#

539565

548225

798940

648220

1481

1182

8

Pepper

84707

84065

46298

29408

547

350

9

Ginger

4505

4538

22064

21521

4898

4742

10

Turmeric

2628

2430

6904

6253

2627

2573

11

Arecanut

101775

100008

118233

100018

1162

1000

12

Banana

61011

62261

515607

531299

8451

8533

13

Other Plantains

48859

54512

351315

362395

7190

6648

14

Cashewnut

52086

49105

37919

33375

728

680

15

Coconut

798162

808647

5799

5921

7265

7322

  

The data regarding the area, production and productivity of important crops grown in Kerala are shown below. In the gross cropped area of 26.24 lakh hectares in 2014-15, food crops comprising rice, pulses, tapioca occupy 10.5 per cent. In 2014-15, food crops in general showed an increasing trend in production as the production of pulses and tapioca recorded an increase of 13 and 18 percent respectively and that of rice recorded a marginal decline. This could be more on account of increase in acreage as the area under both pulses and tapioca has recorded an increase of 20 percent and 11.6 percent respectively. In the case of spices, pepper showed a tremendous increase in production (contrary to the previous year) mainly due to a productivity increase achieved, while production of ginger and turmeric showed an increasing trend in production (albeit marginally). In the case of plantation crops, coffee, tea and cardamom have shown increase in production while rubber has shown a drastic decline in production. Fruits, banana and other plantains recorded an increase in production whereas the cashew output largely declined.

Area, Production and Productivity of Principal Crops

Sl.

No.

Crops

Area (Ha.)

Production (MT)

Productivity (Kg./Ha.)

2013-14

2014-15

2013-14

2014-15

2013-14

2014-15

1

Rice