Determinants of Agricultural Land Use Diversification in Eastern and Northeastern India
AbstractThis paper examines factors influencing land use under specific types of crops (e.g., cereals, cash crops including vegetables, horticulture, etc.) as well as the land devoted to livestock activities (dairy, piggery, poultry/duckery, fishery, apiary, etc.) in the eastern and northeastern regions of India comparing the same with the national pattern. We utilize farm-level information collected in the 59th round of the National Sample Survey (January–December 2003). Using multivariate multinomial logistic regression models, we examine the adjusted effect of selected background factors on the diversified use of agricultural plots at the national level, and for the eastern and northeastern regions separately. The level of diversification was significantly different across level of urbanization, occupational status (as a surrogate variable for household income), educational level of household head, household or family size, farm size, soil type, status of land possession, and waterlogging even after adjusting for religious and social/caste status of the household. The northeastern region reported a higher level of farm diversification compared to the eastern region, while both these regions had lower farm diversification compared to the rest of India. The study results could be used to argue for better and more equitable provision of economic security in terms of credit supply, subsidies, etc., for farmers belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in eastern India, and for appropriate land development toward settled cultivation in the northeastern region to augment the agricultural diversification. Some of the prudent steps to boost agricultural diversification in the eastern and northeastern regions of India include enhancing awareness of government-sponsored advisory services, and providing economic security to landless farmers and small landholders.
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