Palanpur, the Economy of an Indian Village

By C. J. Bliss; N. H. Stern | Go to book overview

7
WHEAT : The New Varieties and Practices in Palanpur

§ 7.0 Introduction

Wheat is of special interest for several reasons. It is the most important rabi crop in Palanpur, covering 42 per cent of cultivated land in rabi 1974-5. The cultivation of wheat plays a central role in the Indian economy in general. It occupies 76 per cent of the area under winter cereals. About 87 per cent of that area lies in North and Central India (ICAR, 1969, p. 151). Wheat is central to the North Indian diet, mostly eaten in the form of chapatis, and the straw is an important source of feed for cattle. Finally the cultivation of wheat in India in general and Palanpur in particular has undergone interesting and rapid changes over the past decade with the introduction of new varieties and the extension of irrigation. The new varieties and associated practices are discussed in § 7.1.

One of the centre-pieces of our study was the collection and analysis of data on our sample of forty-seven wheat plots in the village. The collection occupied a great deal of the time of our research investigators and ourselves while we were in the village. The discussion and analysis of this body of data are the main topics of this and the next chapter. The selection of sample plots and the method of our observations are described in § 7.2. In § 7.3 we shall discuss the cultivation practices of the farmers in Palanpur. We shall introduce the notion of 'good practice'. The choice of agricultural technique has been a major theme in discussions of development, particularly in relation to the new varieties and the so-called 'Green Revolution' (see § 3.9). A second major issue in the literature has been the relation between tenancy and agricultural practice. An analysis of the differences in cultivation between tenanted and owner-cultivated plots is the subject matter of § 7.4. The final section is devoted to concluding remarks.

We are concerned, therefore, in this and the next chapter with a detailed analysis of farmers' input decisions for just one crop, wheat. We shall be paying particular attention in the next chapter to a comparison between our estimates of the relation between inputs and outputs and the farmers' beliefs about the productivity of their inputs. In this chapter, however, we concentrate on the background of the new varieties in India, practices in Palanpur, and tenancy. The outcome of our regression analysis and the interpretation of estimated coefficients is postponed until Chapter 8. The reader who knows about, or is not interested in, the detail of the technicalities of the cultivation of the high-yielding varieties may wish to pass straight to § 7.2.

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Palanpur, the Economy of an Indian Village
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Village 8
  • Appendix to Chapter 2 34
  • 3 - Theory and India 50
  • Appendix to Chapter 3 88
  • 4 - Markets in Palanpur 90
  • 5 - Tenancy 124
  • 6 - Output and Income 167
  • Appendix to Chapter 6 211
  • 7 - Wheat : The New Varieties and Practices in Palanpur 222
  • 8 - Wheat: Productivity and Expectations 251
  • 9 - Reflections on Economic Theory 299
  • 10 - A Revisit and Some Speculations on the Future 314
  • Glossary 327
  • References 331
  • Author Index 335
  • Subject Index 336
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