Let us know the story of village Palampur. In the kind of crops grown and facilities available, Palampur would resemble a village of the western part of the state of Uttar Pradesh. All land is cultivated in Palampur. No land is left idle. During the rainy season (kharif) farmers grow jowar and bajra. These plants are used as cattle feed. It is followed by the cultivation of potatoes between October and December.
In the winter season (rabi), fields are sown with wheat. From the wheat produced, farmers keep enough wheat for the family’s consumption and sell the surplus wheat at the market at Raiganj. A part of the land area is also devoted to sugarcane which is harvested once every year. Sugarcane, in its raw form, or as jaggery, is sold to traders in Shahpur.
The main reason why farmers are able to grow three different crops in a year in Palampur is due to the well-developed system of irrigation. Electricity came early to Palampur. Its major impact was to transform the system of irrigation. Persian wheels were, till then, used by farmers to draw water from the wells and irrigate small fields. People say that the electric-run tube wells could irrigate much larger areas of land more effectively.
The first few tube wells were installed by the government. Soon, however, farmers started setting up private tube wells. As a result, by the mid-1970s the entire cultivated area of 200 hectares (ha.) was irrigated
To grow more than one crop on a piece of and during the year is known as multiple cropping. It is the most common way of increasing production on a given piece of land. All farmers in Palampur grow at least two main crops; many are growing potato as the third crop in the past fifteen to twenty years. You have seen that one way of increasing production from the same land is by multiple cropping. The other way is to use modern farming methods for higher yield.
Yield is measured as a crop produced on a given piece of land during a single season. Till the mid-1960s, the seeds used in cultivation were traditional ones with relatively low yields. Traditional seeds needed less irrigation. Farmers used cow dung and other natural manure as fertilizers. All these were readily available to the farmers who did not have to buy them. Now that you know the story of village Palampur where multiple cropping is practiced, let us learn about the Green Revolution.
The Green Revolution in the late 1960s introduced the Indian farmer to the cultivation of wheat and rice using high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of seeds. Compared to the traditional seeds, the HYV seeds promised to produce much greater amounts of grain on a single plant. As a result, the same piece of land would now produce far larger quantities of foodgrains than was possible earlier.
HYV seeds, however, needed plenty of water and also chemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce the best results. Higher yields were possible only from a combination of HYV seeds, irrigation, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. Farmers of Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh were the first to try out the modern farming method in India.
The farmers in these regions set up tube wells for irrigation and made use of HYV seeds, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides in farming. Some of them bought farm machinery like tractors and threshers, which made plowing and harvesting faster. They were rewarded with high yields of wheat. In Palampur, the yield of wheat grown from the traditional varieties was 1300 kg per hectare.
With the HYV seeds, the yield went up to 3200 kg per hectare. There was a large increase in the production of wheat. Farmers now had greater amounts of surplus wheat to sell in the markets.