Discuss the socio-economic and environmental consequences of wheat-paddy cycle becoming the dominant cropping pattern on states in northern India.

The wheat-paddy cropping system is the most widely adopted cropping system in India. It is especially dominant in states of northern India, adjacent to Indo-Gangetic plains like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh.

Consequences of dominance: The cultivation of the wheat-paddy cropping over a prolonged period has been causing environmental and socio-economic problems.

Environmental problems:

  • It can affect soil health by reducing land fertility and
  • Overmining of vital nutrients from the soil
  • Declining groundwater levels
  • Infestation of pests
  • Air pollution caused by burning stubble

Socio-economic problems:

  • Excess stock in FCI warehouses causes decay
  • The agricultural economy is facing a downward slope due to the excess production
  • Small and marginal farmers debarred from availing proper procurement facilities
  • The procurement ability of Food Corporation of India has decreased due to massive surplus

Climate change and population overgrowth worsen the problem of the excessive harvest of wheat and rice.

Way out: The governments have been promoting alternate crops like Summer Moong, Sunflower, and Maize in order to reduce the wheat and paddy crop rotation because legume crops have the capability to increase soil nutrition. But the immediate implementation of crop rotation can impact the food security of the country. So a gradual transition is going to be the best option which will also help to maintain the income of farmers.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Discuss the socio-economic and environmental consequences of wheat-paddy cycle becoming the dominant cropping pattern on states in northern India.

Published: November 19, 2017 | Modified:August 18, 2020

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