8.14         ndian     onom
           Cropping systems of a region are decided,                  involved in cultivating larger area under
     by and large, by a number of soil and climatic                   a particular crop.
     parameters, which determine              the overall        (ii) Due to prevailing socio-economic
     agro-ecological setting for nourishment and                      situations, such as, dependency of large
     appropriateness of a crop or set of crops for                    population on agriculture, small land-
     cultivation. Nevertheless, at farmers’ level,                    holding size, very high population
     potential productivity and monetary benefits act                 pressure on land resource, etc.
     as guiding principles, while opting for a particular         Improving household food security has
     crop or a cropping system. These decisions with        been an issue of supreme importance to many
     respect to choice of crops and cropping systems are    million farmers of India, with the following farm
     further narrowed down under influence of several       holdings—
     other forces related to infrastructure facilities,
                                                                 (a) 56.15 million marginal (<1.0 ha),
     socio-economic and technological factors, all
     operating interactively at the micro-level. These           (b) 17.92 million small (1.0–2.0 ha), and
     factors are:                                                (c) 13.25 million semi-medium (2.0–4.0
           (i) Goegraphical factors: Soil, landforms,                 ha).
               precipitation, moisture, altitude, etc.            They together are 90 per cent of the 97.15
          (ii) Socio-cultural factors: Food habits,         million operational holdings. An important
               festivals, tradition, etc.                   consequence of this has been that crop production
                                                            in India remained to be considered, by and large, a
        (iii) Infrastructure        factors:    Irrigation,
                                                            subsistence rather than commercial activity. One of
               transport, storage, trade and marketing,
                                                            the typical characteristics of subsistence farming is
               post-harvest handling and processing,
                                                            that most of the farmers resort to grow a number
                                                            of crops on their farm holdings, primarily to fulfil
         (iv) Economic factors: Financial resource          their household needs and follow the practice
               base, land ownership, size and type of       of rotating a particular crop combination over a
               land holding, household needs of food,       period of 3–4 year, interchangeably on different
               fodder, fuel, fibre and finance, labour      farm fields.
               availability, etc.
                                                                  Under the influence of all the above factors,
          (v) Technological factors: Improved varieties     te cropping systems remain dynamic in time and
               of seeds and plants, mechanisation, plant    space, making it difficult to precisely determine
               protection, access to information, etc.      their spread using conventional methods,
                                                            over a large territory. However, it has been
     PrevAlent croPPing systems                             estimated that more than 250 double cropping
     Multiplicity of cropping systems has been one of       systems are followed throughout the country.
     the main features of Indian agriculture. This may      Based on the rationale of spread of crops in
     be attributed to the following two major factors:      each district in the country, 30 important
           (i) Rainfed agriculture still accounts for       cropping systems have been identified—
               over 92.8 million hectare or 65 per cent     rice-wheat, rice-rice, rice-gram, rice-mustard, rice-
               of the cropped area. A large diversity of    groundnut, rice-sorghum, pearlmillet-gram, pearl
               cropping systems exists under rainfed and    millet-mustard, pearl millet-sorghum, cotton-
               dryland areas with an over-riding practice   wheat, cotton-gram, cotton-sorghum, cotton-
               of intercropping, due to greater risks       safflower,     cotton-groundnut,        maize-wheat,