Agriculture sector in Punjab plays a crucial role in ensuring food security in India and has been called as the ‘bread-basket’ of the country. Punjab’s share in total geographical area of India is 1.53 percent, its share in the central pool of rice and wheat was 25.53 percent and 35.45 percent respectively in 2018-19.

Inspite of contributing only 1.53 percent in total geographical are of India, Punjab Plays vital role in ensuring food security in India. It contributes 25.53 & 35.45 percent in central pool of rice and wheat respectively during 2018-19. Due to its enormous contribution Punjab is also known as “Bread Basket” of country.

In the state, the production of the wheat has increased from 7,677 thousand metric tons in 1980-81 to 18262 thousand metric tons in 2018-19 and the production of rice has increased from 3,233 thousand metric tons in 1980-81 to 12822 thousand metric tons in 2018-19.The production of pulses has increased from 12 thousand metric tons in 2014-15 to 28 Thousand metric tons in 2018-19. The production of sugarcane has shown different trends over the years, as it increased from 5592 thousand metric tons in 1990-91 to 7774 thousand metric tons in 2018-19. However, it decreased during 2010-11 (4904 thousand metric tons) to 2012-13 (5191 thousand metric tons). The production of cotton (cleaned) has decreased from 1822 thousand metric tons in 2011-12 to1223 thousand metric tons in 2018-19.

Source: Statistical Abstract of Punjab, 2019

Cropping Intensity 

The cropping intensity (ratio of net sown area to gross cropped area) in the state has increased sharply from 126 percent in 1960-61 to 191 percent in 2018-19 with adoption of input intensive agricultural practices. However, it has shown a state of little variation after reaching a peak of 190 percent in 2010-11 to 2014-15. A higher cropping intensity indicates that the cropping area is being sown more than once during a year. The high cropping intensity severely affects soil fertility as it leaves no time for  natural rejuvenation.

Source: State-wise Pattern of Land Use-Cropping Intensity, Handbook of Statistics of Indian States, RBI   as cited in Punjab  Economic Survey, 2019-20

 Cropping Pattern and loss of diversity

The state has witnessed a considerable change on cropping pattern in the post green revolution era with major focus on wheat-paddy crop rotation. The area under wheat and paddy has increased manifolds during the last 5 decades, whereas the area under oilseeds, pulses, maize other cereals, etc has decreased sharply. The HYVs have replaced the multi- cropping pattern with monoculture of wheat and rice resulting in exploitation of natural resources of state especially water and soil, besides leading to loss of floral biodiversity. Most HYVs are highly input intensive leading to higher use of irrigation water, fertilizers and pesticides for their optimum growth and yield.

Area under Major Crops in Punjab

In 2018-19, approximately 93 percent of the total cultivated land was used for cultivation of food grain. The wheat and paddy cultivation cover the major portion of the gross cropped area and area under these two crops has increased over the years. Area under wheat has, however, slightly increased from 3510 thousand hectares in 2010-11 to 3520 thousand hectares in 2018-19 and area under paddy was increased from 2830 thousand hectares in 2010-11 to 3103 thousand hectares in 2018-19. The cotton was cultivated on 5.1 percent of the total cultivated land & sugarcane and fruits were each grown on approximately 1 percent of the total cultivated area.

     Source: Director of Land Records/Agriculture, Punjab as cited in  Statistical Abstract of Punjab 2019