Shocking decline in food crop base of Kerala : A cause of extreme concern

June 27, 2014 | By | Add a Comment

The shocking decline in share of staple food crops in the Net Sown Area (NSA) of Kerala across the last few decades should be a cause of grave concern for the policy makers in Kerala.

According to statistics provided by state planning board, share of rice tapioca and pulses have sharply declined viz a viz the net sown area across the last six decades. For eg: in the beginning of sixties (1960-61) share of rise in NSA was 40.49 percent. Till the beginning of eighties (1980-81), the decline was only 36.78 percent. But sharp decline started from there and by 2000-01 the share of rice in NSA had percent. And by 2010-11 it declined to 10.29 percent. In 2012-13, the share of rice in NSA had reached 9.63 percent. Between 1960-61 and 1990-91 production of rice had remained at around 10.7 lakh tones. But it started declining since then and had plummeted to 5.08 lakh tones by the year 2012-13.

Share of tapioca another staple food had a share of 12,59 percent of the NSA in the beginning of sixties (1960-61). But it declined to 6.52 percent by 1990-91 and furthPollser declined to 3.39 percent by the year 2012-13. Production of tapioca was 16.82 lakh tonnes in 1960-61. It then nearly tripled to 46.65 lakh tonnes by 1970 -71. Then production of tapioca plummeted to 7.5 lakh tonnes by 2000-01. But by 2012-13, production of tapioca increased 4 times to reach 24.5 lakh tonnes by 2012-13. Simultaneously production of pulses declined from 17,550 tonnes in 1960-61 to 5472 tonnes in 2000-01 and to 3246 tonnes by 2012-13.

The figures quoted above prove beyond doubt that Kerala has completely lost self reliance with regard to food production. With this, Kerala will have to out and out dependfully on other states to satisfy the food requirements of its population. Since Kerala is a state positioned on the southern most corner of the country transportation charges as far as food grains are concerned will out further pressure on the finances of the state. Especially on the context of continuous increase in fuel prices.


Author:KM Shahjahan

Filed in: Research

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