Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Case Study of Subsistence Farming - Rice Farming in India

Why Rice Farming in India?

1. CLIMATE - the Monsoon climate stays above 21oC with a long wet season, plenty of moisture available for growth, followed by dry, sunny weather which is ideal for ripening and the harvest

2. HUGE DEMAND - Rice is the staple food of 65% of the population of India and forms 90% of the total diet. India is indeed the world's second largest rice producer, producing 20% of the world's total)

3. FLAT LAND - ideal for paddy fields as it stops water draining away, allowing rice to grow in it

4. FERTILE SOILS - increases productivity and good crops are grown

5. WATER SUPPLY - plentiful water usually available due to the monsoon climate

6. LARGE LABOUR FORCE - rice farming is labour intensive and provides direct employment to about 70% of the working people in India where large numbers of workers are available.

What are the characteristics of the rice farms in India?

- many farms are very small (may only be one hectare - size of a football pitch)

- consequently rice farming is intensive, with large amounts of inputs compared to the size of the actual farm

- due to the small farm size and the poverty, often there is little no mechanisation and the farms are labour intensive (e.g. preparation of fields, planting, weeding etc.)

- the farmers are subsistence farmers - although they may sell what little surplus they might have and many poor farmers are only tenants as opposed to land owners.

Changes to the Rice Farming System:

- Natural disasters may severely affect farms - e.g. Typhoon Damage in October 1998 damaged yields
- Use of hybrid rice requires fertilisers and pesticides – expensive and can lead to health problems
- the characteristics of rice farms have also changed dramatically due to the Green Revolution

1 comment:

LindyM said...

Lovely to see this up on the RSS again - really good stuff. Thanks