CROPPING INTENSITY IN INDIA
There are only two ways to satisfy the increasing food and other agricultural demands of the country's rising population: either expanding the net area under cultivation or intensifying cropping over the existing area. The net sown area of the country has risen by about 20 per cent since independence and has reached a point where it is not possible to make any appreciable increase. Thus; raising the cropping intensity is the only viable option left.
Cropping intensity refers to raising of a number of crops from the same field during one agriculture year. It can be expressed as
Cropping intensity = (Gross cropped area / Net sown area) x 100
Thus, higher cropping intensity means that a higher portion of the net area is being cropped more than once during one agricultural year. This also implies higher productivity per unit of arable land during one agricultural year. For instance, suppose a farmer owns five hectares of land, and gets the crop from these five acres during the kharif season and, again, during the rabi season he raises a crop from three hectares. He, thus, gets the effective produce from eight hectares, although he owns only five hectares physically. Had he raised crop from five hectares totally, his cropping intensity would have been 100 per cent, while now it is 160 per cent.
According to the data of 1990-91 (latest available), the index of intensity of cropping for the co~try as a whole is 130 per cent. It shows great spatial variations with 'higher levels in northern plains. Punjab has the highest cropping intensity of 176 per cent, followed by Himachal Pradesh (169 per cent), West Bengal (157 per cent), Haryana (145 per cent) and Uttar Pradesh (143 per cent). The intensity is low in dry, rainfed regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka (110-125 per cent).