Agricultural Diversification

Agriculture Diversification refers to either a change in cropping pattern or the farmers opting for other non-farming options like poultry farming, animal husbandry, etc. This practice allows farmers to expand the production, which helps generate a higher level of income. 

Changing a cropping pattern implies the Diversification between food and non-food crops, conventional crops and horticulture, high value and low-value crops, etc. 

After the emergence of Golden Revolution (1991-2003), diversification has started to flourish rapidly across the country,

Types of Diversification

There are mainly two types of agricultural diversification prominent in India. They are: 

  1. Horizontal Diversification - This relates to multiple cropping or mix of crops instead of cultivating a single crop. Horizontal Diversification is especially useful for small farmers who hold a small piece of land. This allows them to earn more by escalating cropping intensity. 

  2. Vertical Diversification - It refers to the incorporation of industrialisation along with multiple cropping. In this kind of Diversification, farmers take a further step and invest in activities like horticulture, agro-forestry, livestock rearing, culture of aromatic plants, etc. 

Major Features of Diversification

  • Introduction of multiple or mixed cropping systems. 

  • Shift from sole agricultural activities to other allied enterprises like fishery, forest products, poultry and other non-agriculture sectors.

By every mean, Diversification in agricultural activities proves to be extremely beneficial for small farmers to increase their incomes. 

Reasons for Agricultural Diversification

The demand for high-value crops is increasing in India, and this paves the way for farmers to experiment with several cropping combinations. Apart from that, some other reasons make diversification an excellent choice for small and marginal farmers of India.

These include:

  • Climate Change - Diversification reasonably controls the damage that can occur from the unfavourable weather condition. This process safeguards the farmers from the loss of crops in such a situation. 

  • Facilitate Several Employment Alternatives - Almost half of the employment of India revolves around the agriculture sector. Diversification creates new job opportunities for rural people other than traditional farming. 

  • Increases of Income - Opting for Diversification will undoubtedly increase the income and will let the farmers live a comfortable life. 

  • Exportation - Diversification, especially of non-farming products, makes a sizeable export provision for its unique characteristics. India is now on the front line in exporting several agricultural products to multiple countries. This contributes to the overall growth of the economy. 

Along with this, you can also read about Agricultural Revolution of India and how that impacted this essential sector of the country. 

Benefits of Diversification

The benefits of employing Diversification are mentioned below.

  • It helps in reducing risk factors as it ensures that the farmers do not lose all of their resources if the weather does not favour the crop production.

  • Since multiple crops can be harvested from a small field, the production increases ten-fold, which ensures a substantial amount of income. 

  • The agriculture sector is already crowded in India; therefore, it makes provision for additional employment in rural areas. 

  • The importance of crop diversification lies in the fact that it effectively increases soil fertility and controls pest incidences. 

  • The boost in rural employment impacts the overall economy of the nation, as agriculture in India falls into the primary sector of the country. 

Kinds of non-farm Employment in Rural Areas

The scope for employment in non-farm sectors in India is immense. Some of these are listed below. 

  1. Livestock - It includes breeding, raising and nurturing the pastoral animals for food or raw material (like meat, milk, wool, skin, etc.) that can be used for commercial purposes. It provides livelihood to over 70 million rural farmers. Livestock is also used by farmers as an instrument in a farm for transport and carrying agricultural inputs, and animals like cows are used in the field for conventional ploughing method. 

  2. Horticulture - Horticulture refers to the cultivation of garden crops like fruits, flowers, vegetables, etc. India is a significant exporter of different fruits like bananas, mangoes, sugarcane, etc. across the globe. This sector employs almost 19% of country’s workforce. 

  3. Fisheries - It involves catching, sorting, selling and distributing fishes, prawns, oysters, crabs and other marine and fresh-water fishes. The coastal states like Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala are the key regions to supply fishes across the country and export to other countries. This sector contributes to 1.9% of Indian GDP. Since mostly women are employed in this sector, the scope for women empowerment in the field is prominent. 

  4. Dairy - In this industry, cattle like cows, goats, buffaloes, and sheep are reared for milk. The process comprises collecting, preserving and distributing the milk and its by-products like butter, raw-milk powder, ghee, etc. 

Impact of Diversification

  • Increase in production of high-value crops.

  • Better livelihood for farmers and instrumental for lowering the poverty level.

  • Scopes for varied employment.

  • Empowerment of women.

  • Sustainable water usage.

Do your research on the high-value crops (HVC) cultivated in India and how it contributes to the economical growth of the country.  

Almost 43.21% of people are associated with Agriculture in India, making it one of the most vital service sectors of the nation. Also, the possibilities and scopes are unlimited in Agricultural Diversification in India using advanced farming apparatus.

To know more about farming and its allied topics, go through the study materials available in our website today! Also, check out Vedantu’s app for an integrated learning experience.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What Is Crop Diversification?

It relates to the addition of new crops or advancement of a cropping system to increase production within a particular farm. It provides an opportunity to expand production and lower the possible risk factors.

2. State The Meaning of Farming?

Farming includes cultivating crops or rearing pastoral animals or a combination of both to produce food for people. It is an essential part of agriculture. 

3. What Does Crop Combination Mean?

It is a process of producing more than one crop in the same piece of land. It allows farmers to cultivate different crops during different season. It also effectively increases the fertility of the soil. 

4. Why Is Agricultural Diversification Beneficial?

It is beneficial for most rural people as they can opt for profitable supplementary employment other than agriculture. It paves the way for earning a better income and improves the standard of living.