Paddy Cultivation in Kerala – Trends, Determinants and Effects on Food Security
The statistical profile of Kerala agriculture since 1960, clearly established the decrease in the area under paddy cultivation in the state. Time series analysis of acreage, production and productivity data of rice in Kerala during the five decades from 1960-61 to 2009-10 revealed the performance of this crop in terms of growth of area, production and productivity. The production of major food crop, rice, reached negative growth rates due to the declining trend of their area. The diversification of crops in terms of variation in acreage allocation has taken place due to price and non-price factors like agro-climatic conditions, labour availability, irrigation facilities, soil fertility, cost of cultivation, price levels, profitability, mechanisation etc. The change has taken place largely in favour of non-food crops and recently it is towards rubber. The real growth of agricultural crop output has declined continuously since 1960-61 compared to monetary growth, i. e, the growth in the value of agricultural crop output. Food security, particularly rice security is the vital issue for Kerala today. The data reveals that during 1960-61 Kerala had a shortage of rice of about 40.12 percent, which increased to 83.45 percent in 2009-10. The study clearly revealed the increasing demand for rice in Kerala in the coming years compared to the existing supply. This will enlarge the supply demand gap of rice in Kerala in the future years indicating a threat to food security bringing out a need for further increase in rice production in a sustainable way.
Keywords: Kerala, Paddy cultivation, Growth trend, Overall growth, Determinants.