Discuss the cropping pattern in terms of soybean and sugarcane in India. Justify the recent shift of sugarcane farmers to soybean in some parts of India.

Published: October 27, 2015

Model Answer: Soybean is predominantly a rainfed crop grown in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and some other parts of India.
Cropping Pattern of Soyabean
Soyabean is grown as a kharif crop. In some districts, it is cultivated two times in a year, as Soyabean-Soyabean cropping pattern. It is also grown in intercropping system as Soyabean+Arhar in rainfed areas and Soyabean+Maize, Sugarcane+Soybean  in irrigated lands. It is also sown as intercrop of Paddy and Cotton.
Cropping pattern of sugar cane
In many sugarcane-growing areas of India, sugarcane mono-cropping is practiced using the interval between the crops for short duration seasonal crops. This makes Sugarcane-wheat and Sugarcane-Maize cropping pattern in UP, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana. In Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh the prevanent patterns are of Sugarcane-rice, Sugarcane-ragi and Sugarcane-pulses. In Maharashtra, sugarcane-pulses, sugarcane-jowar and sugarcane-cotton patterns are found.
Shift of sugarcane farmers to soybean
Sugarcane is a water guzzling crop. Erratic monsoon and depleting groundwater have led to movements such as Beyond Sugarcane to shift to less water consuming crops such as Soyabean, sunflower etc. This is justified because such diversification helps to reduce farmer’s distress, keep profitability of farming and reduce dependence on erratic monsoons. The governments also promote such diversification by increasing MSP for Soyabean. (209 words)

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