Complexity of Crop Diversification in Punjab
Renowned agriculture economist Dr SS Johl presented two reports on the need for crop diversification in Punjab in 1986 and 2002. After over three decades, overflowing cereal granaries and large budget deficits have finally compelled a serious policy rethink at the level of the Union Government on the open-ended public procurement system limited to paddy and wheat. These two staple crops were favoured for the Green Revolution because with assured irrigation the yields are less prone to erratic weather, can be cheaply stored for long periods of time and are thus more suitable for food security purposes. Punjab provided the ideal conditions for growing these crops and was chosen as the Green Revolution state. When India gained Independence, Punjab had a diversified agriculture landscape. But, under the Union Government’s directives, policies and incentives to ensure India’s food security during its most difficult decades, it turned to specialised agriculture.