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About this book

This book examines how crop diversification strategies can help to ensure sustainable agricultural development across different land-size categories, with a focus on Malda District in West Bengal, India. Using Malda as the study area, a region with nearly 4 million people, the book assesses the extent, pattern, factors and future of crop diversification and its contribution to the development of agriculture in Malda and in India as a whole. The work presents data from 1995-2015 concerning changing cropping patterns at various land-size distributions, and analyzes the information over the twenty year period to understand the link between crop diversification and agricultural development, in order to combat major agricultural issues and make suitable policy recommendations at micro (rural) and macro (urban) levels of agricultural planning. The study is a unique contribution to the field of agricultural geography, and will be of use to students and researchers, as well as government organizations, city/community planners and agriculture managers.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Overview of the Study Area

Abstract
This chapter deals with a brief overview of the study area, i.e., Malda District of West Bengal. The chapter begins with a brief justification of why the author has selected this study area. Followed by this, geographic location, present administrative divisions, and history of the origin of the district have been explained. Next to this, physical, demographic, economic, market, and transportation systems and network are analyzed through recent secondary data. This chapter reveals that the district is experiencing certain natural problems like decreasing soil nutrition, increasing temperature, decreasing rainfall, frequent flood, and drought conditions in a specific region. Although, demographically district has a vibrant age group population but absent mineral resources and industries make more than 85% of the population engage in agricultural activities. Literacy rate and per capita income remain low, but population density is increasing in the district as compared to state and national average. The increasing population earns income mostly after selling their agricultural products in limited fair price and weekly market. In terms of population size, the number of market infrastructure is limited where transportation is one of the causes. The last section ends with a synoptic overview of the transport network in the district. This chapter provides the basis for analysis of subsequent chapters.
Hasibur Rahaman

Chapter 2. Land Use and Cropping Pattern Dynamic

Abstract
This chapter focuses on land use and cropping pattern dynamic. In agriculture geography, land use explains about changing pattern, cropping linkages, and nature of agricultural innovation happening over any region. And further to this, to understand the title of the book, this chapter is a way forward. The present chapter aims to examine the changing land use and cropping pattern under different land size classes from 1995–1996 to 2015–2016. One hypothesis is tested: “an amount of change in cropping pattern across land size classes is equal.” Except the last section of this chapter, the secondary data has been used to show the change in agricultural land use and gross cropped area in two decades. The simple percentage technique, absolute modulus function, and ANOVA technique are used for meaningful conclusion of data. For maps and diagrams, QGIS and Excel spreadsheets are used to reach to the findings of analyses. This chapter found that the net sown area of the district has decreased but overall gross cropped area has increased in which area under fibers, oilseeds, and fruits expands while area under cereals, pulses, and vegetation area decreases. Overall area under non-food crops has increased, but amount of that is higher under marginal land size group than the rest. The last section on the reason for changing the cropping pattern explains that profit opportunity is the main driving force followed by consumption, crop productivity, and others in the district.
Hasibur Rahaman

Chapter 3. Agriculture Development: Inputs-Outputs Dimension

Abstract
When the basic unit of agriculture, i.e., land use, changes over time, then what about other input aspects and outputs result? This background intuitive is answered in this chapter entitled “Agricultural Development: Inputs-Outputs Dimension.” This chapter analyzes the impact of physical and non-physical determinants on agricultural outputs and agricultural development as well. Two null hypotheses are tested in the chapter. The data standardization techniques, composite index, regression, weightage index, Karl Pearson correlation of coefficient, Gibbs-Martin diversification index, and Yang’s yield index of productivity have been used in the chapter. This chapter is based on secondary data sources. The QGIS tool is used to display data on maps which locates large data sets into spatial context. The chapter shows that non-physical inputs play a dominant role over physical inputs on total agricultural outputs of the district. And, non-physical input is significantly associated with agricultural outputs especially crop diversification over the years. The overall agricultural development is based on composite inputs-outputs indices which reveal that the district has experienced development across land size classes but pace of it is higher under marginal land size class than the other land size groups.
Hasibur Rahaman

Chapter 4. Status of Crop Diversification

Abstract
The present chapter focuses on “in which way agricultural development impacts crop diversification under different crop categories by land size classes in the district”. The available literature on crop diversification suggests that diversifying crop is a panacea of many problems like employment, income, sustainable agriculture and others, irrespective of land size. The data on crop categories by land size classes is obtained from Agriculture Census of India. The diversification indices are calculated on 1995–1996 and 2015–2015 census data. For absolute diversification index Gibbs-Martin technique is used. And to measure homogeneity in diversification, Simpson diversity index is employed. The crop counting method is also used to show the extent of diversification under different crop categories. The absolute diversification trends under all crops show that the district is booming in crop diversification across the block in different land size types. The diversification under cereals, vegetables and fruit crops has increased, but the same falls in pulses, spices, oilseeds and fibre crops in the district. The maximum gained in index value is found in marginal land size category under vegetables and fruit crops. The primary survey reports that the marginal and small farmers do diversification mainly because of profit opportunities backed by previous market demands.
Hasibur Rahaman

Chapter 5. Levels and Efficiency of Agricultural Development

Abstract
This chapter deals with two objectives. The agricultural development and crop diversification linkage, their efficiency, and direction of both by land size groups in sample villages are the first objective. And, the second is to find out the factor that influences agricultural development and crop diversification by land size classes. One hypothesis on “whether agricultural development ensures efficiency or not” is tested. The primary data generated through the field is used in the chapter. This chapter explains a brief importance of field work in geography followed by overview of sample villages, soil quality, status and factor of development and diversification, and finally efficiency of agriculture. The simple percentage, standardized composite index, Gibbs-Martin diversification index, Yang’s yield index, cropping intensity, principal component analysis (PCA), data envelope analysis (DEA), and T test have been used for successful data operation. This chapter brings out that the selected indicators of agricultural development and diversification explain more than 70% of total cumulative variance where soil quality, ensured irrigation, and socioeconomic quality of farmers are better. It also posits that the high level of agricultural development is not ensured as a good performer as low or medium development villages do. The t-test summary at 0.000% significant level confirms that the increasing inputs may raise farm outputs, but in the same amount of agricultural inputs, outputs would not necessarily be high.
Hasibur Rahaman

Chapter 6. Challenges and Opportunities of Agricultural Development in the District

Abstract
In previous chapters, the nature and extent of agricultural development and crop diversification have been examined through quantitative data. The major problems and expected prospects of development and diversification also can be assessed through qualitative cum quantitative data to get a holistic perspective about the theme of this book. In the present chapter, an attempt has been made to assess the nature and direction of agricultural development, in light of existing policies, schemes, programs, and projects which have been introduced by the government in the district. The assessment of problems and solutions will have a definite pathway to boost and revitalize the agriculture of the district. To do this methodologically, the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis, qualitative matrix, and participatory rural appraisal have been used, and information obtained from household’s response, interactive discussion and in-depth interview from the villagers, policy makers, and administrators of agriculture, respectively. Next to this, the major problems have been identified and prioritized through a qualitative matrix. And finally, to sort out existing problems, the evidence-based policy intervention has been suggested.
Hasibur Rahaman

Backmatter

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