2023 GS3 Answer

Q. Explain the changes in cropping pattern in India in the context of changes in consumption pattern and marketing conditions.

Question from UPSC Mains 2023 GS3 Paper

Model Answer: 

Cropping Pattern in India

Cropping pattern in India refers to the proportion of area under different crops at a point in time. It changes over space and time and gets influenced by the physical condition of the environment and socio-economic factors like technology, consumption pattern, and marketing conditions. Over the last few decades, India has seen a significant shift in its cropping pattern due to changes in consumption patterns and marketing conditions.

Changes in Consumption Pattern

1. Shift towards High-Value Crops: With the rise in income levels and changing dietary habits, the demand for high-value crops like fruits, vegetables, and spices has increased. This has led to a shift in the cropping pattern from traditional cereal crops to high-value crops. For instance, in Punjab, farmers have started cultivating more of potato, tomato, and other vegetables instead of wheat and rice.

2. Increase in Demand for Protein-rich Food: With growing awareness about health and nutrition, the demand for protein-rich food like pulses and poultry has increased. This has led to an increase in the cultivation of pulses in states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Changes in Marketing Conditions

3. Liberalization and Globalization: The liberalization and globalization of the Indian economy have opened up new markets for agricultural products. This has encouraged farmers to diversify their cropping pattern and grow crops that have a high demand in the international market. For instance, the cultivation of flowers for export has increased in states like Karnataka and Maharashtra.

4. Government Policies: Government policies and incentives also play a significant role in determining the cropping pattern. For instance, the government’s focus on food security has led to increased cultivation of rice and wheat. However, recent initiatives like the promotion of organic farming and horticulture have led to diversification in the cropping pattern.

5. Technological Advancements: Technological advancements in agriculture have enabled farmers to grow different types of crops. For instance, the introduction of hybrid seeds and genetically modified crops has led to a shift in the cropping pattern.

6. Infrastructure Development: The development of cold storage facilities and better transport facilities have made it possible for farmers to grow perishable crops like fruits and vegetables and transport them to distant markets.

7. Climate Change: Climate change and variability also influence the cropping pattern. For instance, in regions experiencing water scarcity, farmers have shifted to drought-resistant crops.

8. Market Prices: Fluctuations in market prices also influence the cropping pattern. For instance, when the prices of pulses increased in the market, farmers shifted towards the cultivation of pulses.


In conclusion, the cropping pattern in India has undergone significant changes due to shifts in consumption patterns and changes in marketing conditions. The shift towards high-value crops, protein-rich food, and crops with high demand in international markets is evident. However, to ensure these changes benefit the farmers, there is a need for supportive policies like ensuring fair prices, providing access to markets, and promoting sustainable farming practices.

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