Farming Activities in Palampur
The Story of Village Palampur is a narrative that introduces basic concepts of the production activities of a hypothetical village called Palampur. The hypothetical village is based on a research study of a village in Western Uttar Pradesh in the Bulandshahr district by Gilbert Etienne.
Palampur is well-connected with neighboring villages and towns. Many kinds of transport are available on the road that connects nearby village Raiganj and town Shahpur. Palampur has a primary health center run by the government and one private dispensary, one high school, and two primary schools. This village has 450 families belonging to different castes. The majority of the land in the village is owned by upper-caste families. The SCs (Dalits) comprise one-third of the population. Most households have electric connections. Tube wells in the fields are powered by electricity and are used in various types of small businesses.
Organization of Production
There are four requirements called the factors of production, to produce goods and services.
- Land: Natural resources like water, forests, minerals, land, etc.
- Labour: Some activities require manual labor, others are highly qualified.
- Physical Capital: Fixed Capital and Working Capital.
- Human Capital: The skill and knowledge to put together the factors of production (land, labor, and physical capital) and produce an output to sell in the market is called human capital.
Farming in Palampur
Farming is the main production activity in Palampur. 75 percent of the population of the village is dependent on farming for their livelihood. However, there exists a constraint that arises in raising farm production. The land area under cultivation is difficult to expand and fixed. Thus, we need to find alternatives and different ways to grow more from the same land.
Ways of more output from the same land
The following methods of cultivation are used to increase the production on fixed land in Palampur
- Multiple Cropping: In this method, farmers grow different crops on the same piece of land, usually during different seasons. For example, farmers in Palampur grow jawar bajra during the rainy season, potato is produced between October and December, and wheat is produced during the winter season.
- Modern Farming: In this type of farming, high-yielding varieties of seeds are used. As a result, the same piece of land produces larger quantities of food grains. Haryana, Punjab and Western UP farmers were the first to try out the modern farming method. The introduction of the Green Revolution facilitated the cultivation of wheat and rice using a High Yielding Variety of seeds (HYVs) instead of the traditional seeds. The HYVs have the capability to produce more amount of grain on one plant.
Sustainability of the Land
Land is a natural resource that can be depleted if exploited. Several scientific reports prove natural resources have been exploited and overused due to modern farming methods. In many areas, Green Revolution is associated with the loss of soil fertility due to the increased use of chemical fertilizers. The depletion of the water table is because of the continuous usage of groundwater. Soil fertility and groundwater take years to build up. It is difficult to restore once these natural resources are destroyed.
Distribution of the Land
About 1/3rd of the 450 families in Palampur are landless, i.e. 150 families, most of the Dalits, have no land for cultivation. In 2 hectares of small plots of lands, around 240 families cultivate. Medium and large farmers constitute 60 families that can cultivate more than 2 hectares of land. Only a few of the large farmers have land that extends over 10 hectares or more.
Small farmers provide the labour required for farming themselves along with their families. Farm laborer’s are from landless families or families that cultivate small plots of land. Farm laborer do not have a right over the crops that are grown on the land they work in. They are in return paid wages by their employing farmer. Wages are in cash as money or in-kind e.g. crop. Sometimes laborer get meals also. The farm laborer can be employed year long, or season-wise or for particular activities like sowing or harvesting.
Most small-scale farmers have to borrow money from large farmers or village moneylenders or the traders who supply various inputs for cultivation to arrange for the capital. This borrowed money is taken on a very high rate of interest. On the other hand, the medium and large farmers have their own savings from farming so they can arrange their own capital for required cultivation.
Sale of Surplus Farm Products
Surplus farm products that are produced are sold to medium or large farmers by the small farmers. Medium and large farmers then sell their surplus directly to the market. The products are bought by traders from market and sold it to shopkeepers in towns and cities.
Non- Farming Activities
Only 25% of the people in Palampur are engaged in activities other than agriculture. The non-farming activities are:
Dairy and its products are one of the most common activities in many families of Palampur. Traders from the town Shahpur set up collection cum chilling centers at Raiganj. From here, the milk is then transported to faraway towns and cities.
Currently, less than 50 people are engaged in manufacturing in Palampur. Manufacturing in Palampur involves very simple production methods and is done on a small scale, in contrast to manufacturing in big factories in cities and towns.
The goods are bought by traders from wholesale markets and than sold to the village.
The road connecting Palampur to Raiganj has a variety of vehicles. They ferry goods and people from one place to another for payment.
Question 1: What is the Story of Village Palampur?
The Story of Village Palampur is a narrative that introduces basic concepts of the production activities of a hypothetical village called Palampur. In this village, agriculture is the most common activity while other activities are carried out on a limited scale, like dairy, transport, small scale manufacturing, etc. A variety of resources are combined to produce the goods and services to be produced in the village.
Question 2: Why do some of the farmers in Palampur work for low and minimal wages?
Farmers agree to minimal wages due to huge competition and unemployment.
Question 3: What are the methods to grow more from the same land?
The following methods of cultivation are used to increase the production on fixed land in Palampur.
- Multiple Cropping: In this method, farmers grow different crops on the same piece of land, usually during different seasons.
- Modern Farming: In this type of farming, high yielding varieties of seeds are used.
Question 4: What are the problems that arise due to the land being fixed?
There exists a constraint that arises in raising farm production. The land area under cultivation is difficult to expand and fixed. Thus, we need to find alternatives and different ways to grow more from the same land.
Question 5: How has the Green Revolution impacted land sustainability?
Several scientific reports prove natural resources have been exploited and overused due to modern farming methods. In many areas, Green Revolution is associated with the loss of soil fertility due to the increased use of chemical fertilizers. Also, the continuous use of groundwater for tubewell irrigation has led to the depletion of the water table. Soil fertility and groundwater take years to build up. It is difficult to restore once these natural resources are destroyed.