Agricultural Diversification: Agriculture, which employs the majority of the population in India, is a seasonal occupation. Many farmers remain out of work for certain months of a year due to the seasonal nature of agriculture. As a result, these farmers are unable to ensure a continuous flow of income for themselves. Moreover, agricultural production in India is largely dependent on rains. Poor or late monsoons can hamper the production process and, thereby, affect farmers’ income. So, we can say that depending solely on agriculture leads to instability in the income of the rural population. Thus, there is a need to diversify agriculture.
Aspects of Agricultural Diversification
Diversification of agriculture has two aspects.
- Diversification of crops
- Diversification of production activity
Diversification of crops
Farmers should be encouraged to grow a variety of crops rather than focus on producing only one crop. The diversification of crops, thus, implies a shift from a single-cropping system to a multiple-cropping system. Crop diversification can also be understood as a shift from subsistence farming to commercial farming practices. Multiple cropping helps farmers to avoid the risk arising due to fluctuations in market prices. Farmers can grow crops depending upon the prevailing market conditions and, thereby, maximize their gains.
Diversification of production activity
The rural folk should be encouraged to set up and seek employment in non-farming practices. Diversification of production activity, thus, implies a shift from farming activities to non-farming activities such as agro-processing, food processing, horticulture, fisheries, and livestock farming. Such diversification not only raises the standard of living of the rural population but also reduces the strain upon the agricultural sector by creating alternative avenues of employment.
Significance of Agricultural Diversification in Productive Activity
Significance of Agricultural Diversification #1
Non-farming employment opportunities
Indian agriculture is largely dependent on the monsoons. Poor and late monsoons adversely affect the production process. Thus, farmers cannot depend entirely on farming for their sustenance. Diversification of production activity enables farmers to find employment in alternative non-farming avenues and, thereby, sustain themselves.
Significance of Agricultural Diversification #2
Helpful during seasonal change
Agricultural employment opportunities are mostly concentrated in the Kharif season. Lack of proper irrigation facilities prevents framers from finding gainful employment during the rabi season. Diversification of production activity helps counter this seasonal unemployment in the agricultural sector by generating non-farming employment opportunities.
Significance of Agricultural Diversification #3
Creates new prospects
Agriculture suffers from disguised unemployment. This implies that the number of people employed in the agricultural sector is a lot more than what is actually required. Diversification of production activity solves this problem of overcrowding in the agricultural sector by creating non-farming job opportunities. New prospects of employment would help divert the excess workforce from farming and, thereby, lessen the burden on the agricultural sector.
Significance of Agricultural Diversification #4
Non-farming production activities provide employment opportunities to rural people throughout the year. This implies that the people are assured of an income all year round. This goes a long way in raising their standard of living and eradicating poverty from the rural areas.
Major Non-Farming Production Activities
There are three major non-farming activities in India. These are:
- Animal husbandry
Agricultural marketing does not simply refer to farmers’ act of bringing their produce to the market for the purpose of sale. Rather, it also includes all those activities that help farmers fetch the maximum price for their produce.
Rural development refers to the actions and initiatives taken for the social and economic development of the rural or backward areas. It aims at a continuous rise in the standard of living of the rural poor.