Critical factors to be considered for selection of crops
Agricultural Universities, Research Institutes, Krishi Vigyan Kendras have been generating ample technologies to improve the productivity and profitability of the farmers. However, knowledge gap is prevailing among farmers and those who have access to knowledge harvest better profits.
Key requirements for improving productivity
Increase in productivity and profitability can be achieved through:
- Blending practical knowledge with scientific technologies
- Efficient use of natural resources
- Adopting time specific management practices
- Giving priority for quality driven production
- Adopting suitable farming systems
- Adoption of location specific technology
- Market demand driven production
- Adopting low cost and no cost technologies
Factors influencing decisions on the selection of crops & cropping system
Farmers need to answer all the below questions while making decisions for choosing a crop/ cropping pattern. During this decision making process, farmers cross check the suitability of proposed crop/cropping systems with their existing resources and other conditions. Thereby, they justify choosing or rejecting a crop/cropping systems. This process enables the farmers to undertake a SWOT analysis internally which in turn guides them to take an appropriate decision.
- Climatic factors - Is the crop/cropping system suitable for local weather parameters such as temperature, rainfall, sun shine hours, relative humidity, wind velocity, wind direction, seasons and agro-ecological situations?
- Soil conditions - Is the crop/cropping system suitable for local soil type, pH and soil fertility?
Cropping system options
- Do you have adequate water source like a tanks, wells, dams, etc.?
- Do you receive adequate rainfall?
- Is the distribution of rainfall suitable to grow identified crops?
- Is the water quality suitable?
- Is electricity available for lifting the water?
- Do you have pump sets, micro irrigation systems?
Past and present experiences of farmers
- Do you have the opportunity to go for inter-cropping, mixed cropping, multi-storeyed cropping, relay cropping, crop rotation, etc.?
- Do you have the knowledge on cropping systems management?
Expected profit and risk
- What were your previous experiences with regard to the crop/cropping systems that you are planning to choose?
- What is the opinion of your friends, relatives and neighbours on proposed crop/cropping systems?
Economic conditions of farmers including land holding
- How much profit are you expecting from the proposed crop/cropping system?
- Whether this profit is better than the existing crop/cropping system?
- What are the risks you are anticipating in the proposed crop/cropping system?
- Do you have the solution?
- Can you manage the risks?
- Is it worth to take the risks for anticipated profits?
Labour availability and mechanization potential
- Are the proposed crop/cropping systems suitable for your size of land holding?
- Are your financial resources adequate to manage the proposed crop/cropping system?
- If not, can you mobilize financial resources through alternative routes?
Technology availability and suitability
- Can you manage the proposed crop/cropping system through your family labour?
- If not, do you have adequate labours to manage the same?
- Is family/hired labour equipped to handle the proposed crop/cropping system?
- Are there any mechanization options to substitute the labour?
- Is machinery available? Affordable? Cost effective?
- Is family/hired labour equipped to handle the machinery?
Market demand and availability of market infrastructure
- Is the proposed crop/cropping system suitable?
- Do you have technologies for the proposed crop/cropping system?
- Do you have extension access to get the technologies?
- Are technologies economically feasible and technically viable?
- Are technologies complex or user-friendly?
Policies and schemes
- Are the crops proposed in market demand?
- Do you have market infrastructure to sell your produce?
- Do you have organized marketing system to reduce the intermediaries?
- Do you have answers for questions such as where to sell? When to sell? Whom to sell to? What form to sell in? What price to sell for?
- Do you get real time market information and market intelligence on proposed crops?
Public and private extension influence
- Do Government policies favour your crops?
- Is there any existing scheme which incentivises your crop?
- Are you eligible to avail those benefits?
Availability of required agricultural inputs including agricultural credit
- Do you have access to Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA)/ Departmental extension functionaries to get advisory?
- Do you know Kissan Call Center?
- Do you have access to KVKs, Agricultural Universities and ICAR organizations?
- Do you subscribe agricultural magazines?
- Do you read agricultural articles in newspapers?
- Do you get any support from input dealers, Agribusiness Companies, NGOs, Agriclinics and Agribusiness Centers?
Post harvest storage and processing technologies
- Do you get adequate agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and implements in time?
- Do you have access to institutional credit?
- Do you have your own storage facility?
- If not, do you have access to such facility?
- Do you have access to primary processing facility?
- Do you know technologies for value addition of your crop?
- Do you have market linkage for value added products?
- Are you aware about required quality standards of value added products of proposed crops?
Source : Farmer’s Handbook on Basic Agriculture
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