Importance and Area of Plantation Crops
Importance of Plantation Crops:
The term Plantation crops refers to those crops which are cultivated on an extensive scale in a large contiguous area, owned and managed by an Individual or a company. The crops include tea, coffee, rubber, cocoa, coconut, arecanut, oil palm, palmyrah, cashew, cinchona etc. These plantation crops are high value commercial crops of greater economic importance and play a vital role in our Indian economy. The main draw back with this sector: of crops in India is that major portion of the area is of small holdings (except Tea) which hinders the adoption of intensive cultivation. In the case of coffee 97.13 per cent of the growers have holdings below ten hectares and in Rubber, 82 per cent of the total area is of small hojdings having an average size of 0.5 ha.
The Economic Importance of these Crops are:
1. They contribute to national economy by way of export earnings. These crops occupy less than 2 per cent of the total cultivated area (i.e. 3.82 per cent of total crop land) but they generate an income of around Rs. 16,000 million or about 12.72 per cent of the total export earnings of ail commodities or 75 per cent of total earnings from the export of agricultural produces.
2. India is the leading country in the total production of certain plantation crops in the world. For instance, our production meets the share of 47 per cent in tea and 66 per cent in each of cashew and arecanut,
3. Plantation industry provides direct as well as indirect employment lo many millions of people. For instance, tea industry offers direct employment to 10 lakhs and indirect employment to 10 lakh people, while-cashew processing factories alone provide employment to 3 lakhs people besides 2 lakhs farmers are employed in cashew cultivation.
4. Plantation industry supports many by-product industries and also many rural industries. For example, coconut husk is used to produce coir fiber annually to a tune of 2,19,600 tones in India.
5. These crops help to conserve the soil and ecosystem. Tea planted in hill slopes and cashew in barrel and waste lands protect the land from soil erosion during the rainy season or due to heavy winds.
Area of Plantation Crops in India:
The area and production is more in Kerala (1073000.7 ha and 4359000.9 MT) followed by Karnataka (679000.2 ha and 1401000.0 MT), Tamil Nadu (503000.0 ha and 3810.6 MT), Andhra Pradesh (289000.0 ha/and 1021000.2 MT).