Land is fixed
- Farming is the main production activity in Palampur.
- 75 percent of the people who are working are dependent on farming for their livelihood.
- The land area under cultivation is practically fixed.
- There exists no further scope to increase farm production by bringing new land under cultivation.
NOTE: The standard unit of measuring land is a hectare , though in villages units such as bigha, guintha, etc. are also used.
One hectare equals the area of a square with one side measuring 100 meters.
Is there a way one can grow more from the same land?
- All land is cultivated in Palampur. No land is left idle.
- During the rainy season (Kharif) farmers grow jowar and bajra. These plants are used as cattle feed.
- Cultivation of potatoes is done in the month of October and December.
- In the winter season (rabi), fields are sown with wheat.
- A part of the land area is also devoted to Sugarcane which is harvested annually.
- The main reason why farmers are able to grow three different crops in a year in Palampur is due to the well-developed system of irrigation.
- By the mid-1970s the entire cultivated area of 200 hectares was irrigated.
- To grow more than one crop on a piece of land during the year is known as multiple cropping.
- All farmers in Palampur grow at least two main crops ; many are growing potatoes as the third crop in the past fifteen to twenty years.
- One way of increasing production from the same land is by multiple cropping.
- The other way is to use modern farming methods for higher yield.
- Yield is measured as a crop produced on a given piece of land during a single season.
- Till the mid1960s, the seeds used in cultivation were traditional ones with relatively low yields.
- Traditional seeds needed less irrigation . Farmers used cow dung and other natural manure as fertilizers.
- The Green Revolution in the late 1960s introduced the Indian farmer to the cultivation of wheat and rice using high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of seeds.
- Compared to the traditional seeds, the HYV seeds promised to produce much greater amounts of grain on a single plant.
- As a result, the same piece of land would now produce far larger quantities of foodgrains than was possible earlier. HYV seeds , however, needed plenty of water and also chemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce the best results.
- Higher yields were possible only from a combination of HYV seeds, irrigation, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc.
- Farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh were the first to try out the modern farming method in India.
- The farmers in these regions set up tubewells for irrigation and made use of HYV seeds, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides in farming.
- Some of the farmers bought farm machinery, like tractors and threshers, which made ploughing and harvesting faster.
Will the land sustain?
- Land being a natural resource , it is necessary to be careful in its use.
- Modern farming methods have overused the natural resource base.
- Green Revolution is associated with the loss of soil fertility due to the increased use of chemical fertilizers.
- Continuous use of groundwater for tubewell irrigation has led to the depletion of the water table.
- Environmental resources , like soil fertility and groundwater, are built up over years.
How is land distributed between the farmers of Palampur?
- In Palampur, about one-third of the 450 families are landless, i.e. 150 families, most of them Dalits, have no land for cultivation.
- 240 families cultivate small plots of land less than 2 hectares in size.
- In Palampur, there are 60 families of medium and large farmers who cultivate more than 2 hectares of land.
Who will provide the labour?
- After land, labour is the next necessary factor for production.
- Farming requires a great deal of hard work.
- Small farmers along with their families cultivate their own fields.
- Medium and large farmers hire farm laborers to work in the field.
- Farm labourers do not have a right over the crops grown on the land.
- Instead they are paid wages by the farmer for whom they work.
- Wages can be in cash or in kind e.g. crop. Sometimes laboureres get meals also.
- Wages vary widely from region to region , from crop to crop, from one farm to another(like sowing and harvesting).
- A farm labourer might be employed on a daly basis, or for one particular farm activity like harvesting, or for the whole year.
- The minimum wage for a farm laborer set by the government is Rs 300 per day(March 2017).
The capital needed in farming.
- Modern farming methods require a great deal of capital.
- Small farmers have to borrow money to arrange for capital.
- They borrow from large farmers or village moneylenders or traders who supply various inputs for cultivation.
- The rate of interest on such loans is very high . They are put in great distress to repay the loan.
- The medium and large farmers have their own savings from farming.
Sale of Surplus Farm Products
- Farmers retain a part of the crop for the family’s consumption and sell the surplus crop.
- The traders at the market buy the crop and sell it to shopkeepers in the towns and cities.