Crop Diversification in West Bengal: Nature and Constraints

Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)


Based on household survey conducted in two districts of West Bengal, one representing a more diversified agriculture (Burdwan) and the other less diversified one (Purulia), this study examines the nature and constraints to crop diversification among different livelihood groups. The findings of the study show that the level of crop diversification varies across the regions and different livelihood groups. On an average, while the households in Burdwan district grow more than three crops, with the highest number of crops being grown by the cultivator group followed by the salaried group, the households in Purulia district grow at most two crops, with as high as 41 per cent of sample households growing only one crop per annum. The low level of crop diversification in Purulia was found to be due to distress induced by the agro-climatic factors, particularly due to erratic rainfall pattern and lack of any kind of irrigation facilities in the study area. The principal constraints faced by the rural households are of various kinds. While most of them are socio-economic in nature, some constraints are of agro-ecological nature, and there are few, which are technical or institutional in nature like non-availability of quality seeds resistant to extreme climates, and pests and diseases, etc. Spatial variation leads to cross sectional heterogeneity thereby influencing diversification pattern. Property rights in productive assets such as land and livestock, labour availability, and access to credit differs across livelihood groups. Therefore, though all the livelihood groups faces these constraints because of poor asset base, the severity of the constraints are more for the landless labourer groups and least for the resource-rich salaried class. High volatility in prices, absence of market and lack of access to technical knowhow are the main constraints faced by the cultivators group. A large proportion of small and marginal farmers gain livelihoods through production on small pieces of land. For these households, timely availability or access to credit and improved methods of production are quite critical for their livelihood.


Livelihood Group Herfindahl Index Entropy Index Crop Diversification Irrigation Facility 


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© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsKulti CollegeKulti - 713343India
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Extension, Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Statistics (EES), Palli Siksha Bhavana (Institute of Agriculture)Visva-BharatiSriniketanIndia

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