Research Article

Horizontal Diversification Comprising Differential Agri-horticultural and Livestock Production in Hilly and Terai Region of West Bengal

Aditya Lama, Souvik Ghosh and Sudarshan Awatade

  • Page No:  673 - 681
  • Published online: 26 Nov 2018
  • DOI : HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.23910/IJBSM/2018.9.6.1914

  • Abstract
  •  adlamakpg90@gmail.com

The present study was undertaken to assess the extent of horizontal diversification comprising different growth rate of agri-horticultural crops along with livestock and fish production in the hilly and terai region of West Bengal for the period of 2003–2015. The study was measured based on cumulative annual exponential growth rate (CAEGR) including Simpsons Diversity Index (SID). The study revealed that the area under food grains in the both the region has declined and the area under finer cereals has also increased but the increase in SID values signifying shift towards non-food grain crops like fruits, flowers, vegetables, etc. along was clearly observed. The highest level of extent in increase of SID values was found in flowers (8.96) in hilly and (4.20) in terai region. In hilly region, there has been an extent of decrease in SID values in terms of different livestock and fish production. While, in terai region, it is observed that there has been an extent of increase in SID value in terms of different livestock and fish production. In contrast, growth rate of area under the production of different agri-horticultural crops and livestock and fish production was found positive in hilly region. On the other hand, in terai region, it is revealed that the growth rate of area under the major horticultural based crops likes vegetables and fish production was found negative. Growth rate of area under agricultural crops and livestock production was found positive.

Keywords :   Horizontal diversification, agriculture, horticulture, livestock, growth rate

  • Introduction

    A sustained economic growth, rising per capita income and growing urbanization are causing a shift in the consumption patterns in favor of high-value food commodities like fruits, vegetables, dairy, poultry, meat and fish products from staple food such as rice, wheat and coarse cereals. Such a shift in consumption patterns in favor of high-value food commodities depicts an on-going process of agricultural diversification (Haque et al., 2010). In agriculture, diversification can be defined as shift from the regional dominance of one crop (like rice) to another crops (like oilseeds), or from one enterprise (like crop based) to another enterprise (like livestock) or to engage in other complimentary activities (Vyas, 1996 and Joshi et al., 2004). Different forms of diversification in agriculture which include crop diversification are sub-set of livelihood diversification. Indeed, it is a silent revolution within crop production sector. The motives behind this silent revolution are livelihood sustainability through raising the income levels, urbanization expansion, infrastructural development and trade liberalization policies (Idowu et al., 2014). Agricultural diversification as a strategy connects different logic viz. risk minimization, sustainability or high production depending on the intention of the farmer (Sen et al., 2017). The main advantage of the study of diversification in a region lies in the fact that it enables us to understand the impact of physical and socio-economic conditions on the agriculture. It also helps us in knowing the contemporary competition among crops for area, for rotation and effect on double cropping, total production and per hectare productivity (Bhalsing, 2009). The main form and the most commonly understood concept is the addition of more crops to the existing cropping system, which could be referred to as horizontal diversification (Thomas and Ravikishore, 2017). In India, diversification has occurred both across and within the crop, livestock, forestry and fishery sectors. Within the agriculture, the share of output and employment in the non-crop sectors, i.e. animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries, has been gradually increasing. Thus, diversification is taking place in terms of moving away from crop production to other agricultural activities (Singh et al., 2006). West Bengal as being one among the most fast diversifying economy states in India. More than 65% of the population engaged in agriculture and allied sectors is primarily an agrarian state. Agriculture and allied activities have observed consistently increasing state plan allocation since 2012–2013. Revising 2011-2012 to 2014-2015, Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in allocation for the sector was 36.50% (Economic survey of West Bengal, 2015).

    West Bengal has 2.7% of the nation totals land and about 8% of the country’s population. It produces more than 8% of the food produced in the country. The state is a leading producer of rice, potato, vegetables, fish, meat and also significant producer of pineapple, litchi, flower, mango and mandarin orange. The state supplies about 33% of potato and 66% of jute requirement of the country (Economic review of West Bengal, 2017–2018). The production of rice and cereals has been appreciable and production was in surplus. The state has been lagging behind in production to pulses and oilseeds (Economic survey of West Bengal, 2017). In agricultural sector, the state recorded a growth of 5.14% while the national growth rate was 4.90%.The share of livestock sector in total State Domestic Product (SDP) is 4.41% and that in Agricultural (SDP) is 18.6%. West Bengal accounts for 30% of the total fish production of the country. The export earnings from the fisheries sector grew from ` 50 crore in 1987-88 to ` 725 crore in 2008–09 with shrimps being the major commodity. Despite significant increase in production of various livestock products during the past three decades, the state still faces several challenges in augmenting productivity of livestock and poultry birds for bridging the ever-increasing demand–supply gap (State Agriculture Plan for West Bengal, 2007).

    In an overall agricultural scenario of West Bengal, there is a diminishing trend in acreage and production of major crops with the change in time. Gradually, there has been a change in the cropping pattern in favor of high value crops like boro paddy, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, etc. against pulses, coarse cereals and sugarcane in the last two decades i.e. since the beginning of the nineties (De and Chattopadhyay, 2010, Ghosh, 2010). Farmers are now interested in short duration high value cash crops like summer and winter vegetables (bhindi, cucurbitaceous, tomato, brinjal, chili) to generate income in the farm family to raise their overall livelihood. Progressive farmers are shifted to high value vegetables and fruit-based cropping system from the traditional rice based system and diversifying more within the allied sectors like livestock and fisheries (Chatterjee and Ray, 2013). Farming systems in northern regions of West Bengal is heavily diversifying towards vegetable based farming system followed by dairy and plantation based systems, marginal and small farmers’ dominant in hill zone has adopted diversified farming system apart from growing traditional cereal crops and the terai zone is dominated by conventional cereal-based farming systems, followed by vegetable based sub-system, and jute based systems with its vast agricultural field and forest area coverage, and very limited studies have been carried out in the region (Ray et al., 2013).

    On this backdrop an attempt to assess the extent of horizontal diversification of crops and to assess spatial-temporal variation in area, production and productivity of different agri-horticultural crops and livestock production in hilly and terai region of West Bengal.


  • Materials and Methods

    The present study was carried out based on secondary data for three districts from hilly and terai region of West Bengal. The secondary time series data regarding area, production and productivity of like Agri-horticultural crops along with livestock and fish production were considered for the period from 2003 to 2015 from various publications of Department of Planning and Statistics, Government of West Bengal and from other various publications.

    Cumulative annual exponential growth rate (CAEGR) was calculated for area, production and productivity of agriculture and horticultural crops along with livestock and fish production by using the following formula:

    Log Yit= α+βt

    In case of parameters under agriculture,

    Yit= value of the ith parameter considered under agriculture t time t (i=1, 2…,n)

    t=Time in years;

    α, β=Parameters; and,

    β gives the annual exponential rate of growth of area and its fluctuation around the trend can be estimated by using standard error.

    Simpson Index (SID) was calculated to find the extent of diversification and was worked out using the following equation:


    Where,


    Xi is the area of the ith crop, and Wi is the proportionate area of the ith crop in the total cropped area (Table 1 and Table 1.2).


  • Results and Discussion

    The result of the study shows the spatial temporal variation in the hilly and terai region among the different Agri-horticultural crops and livestock and fish production. The study will also show the extent of diversification of crops in both the regions.

    3.1.  Land used cropping pattern in hilly and terai region of West Bengal

    The differential land use cropping pattern over a period of 2003-2015 is presented in Figure 1 and 1.2.


    In Hilly region, net cropped area has shown a decline from 148.1 thousand ha to 135.66 thousand ha. Gross cropped area was found increasing from 176.24 thousand ha to 197.25 thousand ha. However, there is an improvement in cropping intensity from 123% to 145 % as depicted in Figure 1. While in the other hand in Terai region, net cropped area has a marginal decline from 594.46 thousand ha to 591.26 thousand ha. Gross cropped area was found increasing from 1033.77 thousand ha to 1089.64 thousand ha in 2014-2015. The cropping intensity has shown a fluctuation over the period of study; however, it has increased from 173% to 184% as depicted in Figure 1.2.

    3.2. Differential growth rate of agri-horticultural crops in hilly and terairegion of West Bengal

    In Hilly region, it is revealed from Table 2 and 3, that the growth rate of area under the oilseeds was found positive (0.05) followed by vegetables (0.03) and flowers (0.01). The area under fruits, plantation and other miscellaneous crops was found (0.00) growth rate over the period of study. Among the major crops, area under paddy was found negative (-0.01). While the area under maize and potato showed a growth rate of (0.02) respectively. It is depicted that the production under different Agri-horticultural crops was found to be positive. It was also revealed that the growth rate of maize production (0.04) was found positive and highest, followed by vegetables


    (0.03), potato (0.02), and other miscellaneous crops (0.02) and fruits (0.01).

    On the other hand, in Terai region, it is revealed from Table 3., that the growth rate of area under the major horticultural based crops likes vegetables (-0.01), fruits (-0.02) and flowers (-0.05) was found negative. However, the area under major crops like potato and jute was found positive with the growth rate of (0.08) and (0.01) respectively is presented in Table 2.1. The growth rate of area under the paddy and plantation crops was found negative (-0.00) respectively over the period of study. In an overall production of different horticultural crops, production growth rate under the flowers was found positive (0.10) followed by plantation crops (0.06) and other miscellaneous crops (0.03). The production under potato was found positive with an annual growth rate of (0.12). The growth rate under paddy and jute production was also found positive (0.03) respectivelyas presented in Table 2.1.

    3.3.  Differential growth rate of livestock and fish production in both hilly and terai region

    The production growth rate of different livestock and fish in both hilly and terai region were calculated for the year2003-2015. In Hilly region, production growth rate, under the poultry was found positive (0.05) followed by egg and meat production (0.03) respectively. Milk and wool productions were found to be positive with an annual growth rate of (0.01) each respectively. The annual growth rate of fish production was found positive (0.02) is presented in Table 4. On the other hand, in Terai region, annual growth rate of fish production was found to be negative (0.06). While the annual growth rate of production under the meat was found highest and positive (0.04) followed by milk and egg productions were found positive with an annual growth rate of (0.02) each respectively was found in Table 4.


    3.4.  Differential Extent of Horizontal Diversification of Agri-horticultural crops in hilly and terairegionsof West Bengal

    The extent of horizontal diversification can be gauged empirically through Simpson’s index of diversification (SID). The Simpson index for the two hilly and terai region of the state was computed to evaluate the extent of diversification among the different agricultural and horticultural crops at two-points of time, 2003-2004 to 2014-2015 and has been presented in Table 1. In hilly region, the SID range from 0.00 (paddy, potato and maize) to 7.70 (flowers) in 2003-2004, and from 0.00 (paddy, potato and maize) to 8.96 (flowers) in 2014-2015. Floriculture is gradually becoming popular among the general farmers and entrepreneurs but become the victim of distressed sale. Quality consciousness, purity of the planting materials and phyto sanitation are completely lacking. Specific strategies are necessary to upgrade the hill floriculture to a competitive one and more remunerative (JIT visit of West Bengal to the districts of both hilly and terai region, 2016). In terai region, the SID range from 0.00 (paddy, jute) to 4.20 (flowers) and 6.53 (fruits) in 2003-2004, and from 0.00 (paddy, jute) to 5.00 (fruits) in 2014-2015. In this region, though the SID increased, similar increases in area under food grain implied the shifting amongst various food grains-mixes (from coarse cereals to fine cereals). Moreover, the increase in SID values signifying shift towards high value crops like fruits, flowers, etc.

    3.5.  Differential Extent of Diversification among the different livestock and fish productions

    Diversification among the different livestock and fish production was computed to evaluate the extent of diversification for the hilly and terai region of West Bengal at two points of time, 2003-2004 to 2014-2015 and has been presented in Table 1.2. In hilly region, the SID range from 0.00 (meat and fish production) followed by 0.91 (poultry production), 2.90 (egg production), 4.31 (wool production) to 4.40 (milk production) in 2003-2004 and from 0.00 (meat and fish production) followed by 0.90 (poultry production), 1.70 (milk production), 1.90 (egg production) to 1.96 (wool production) in 2014-2015. The meat and fish production under the region has declined and the production under the egg and poultry has increased but the increase in SID values signifying shift towards milk and wool production was clearly observed. The most interesting picture that emerged from the ensuing analysis was that the SID value of milk and wool production in 2003-2004 was declined in 2014-2015. While, in terai region, the SID range from (0.00) fish production followed by 0.74 (poultry production), 2.25 (egg production), 3.5 (meat production), 3.86 (milk production) to 5.61 (wool production) in 2003-2004 and from 0.00 (fish production) followed by 0.85 (poultry production), 3.83 (egg production), 6.11 (milk production), 7.05 (wool production) to 7.82 (meat production) in 2014-2015. Hence it is observed that the increase in SID value signifying shift towards milk, wool and meat production in this region.


  • Conclusion

    The area under food grain crops in both the regions had declined and the area under finer cereals had increased but the increase in SID values signifying shift towards horticultural crops as well as livestock production. Moreover, diversification is becoming popular across in both the regions. Hence, specific strategies are necessary to upgrade the hill and terai farming systems to a competitive one and more remunerative as such as diversified farming systems.


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