This high altitude district is characterised by the cultivation of perennial plantation crops and spices. The major plantation crops include coffee, tea, pepper, cardamom and rubber. Coffee based farming system is a notable feature of Wayanad. Coffee is grown both as pure crop and as mixed crop along with pepper. Pepper is grown largely along with coffee in the north eastern parts of the district, especially in Pulpally and Mullankolly areas. Coffee in Wayanad (66,999 ha.) shares 33.65 per cent of the total cropped area in the district and 78 per cent of the coffee area in the state. Other major crops are rubber(63,015 ha.), coconut(59,452 ha.), cardamom (38,348 ha.), tea (31,792 ha.) cassava and ginger. A recent increase in the area under coconut cultivation is noticed in the lower elevations. Paddy is cultivated in 22,772 hectares of land. The rice fields of Wayanad are in the valleys formed by hillocks and in majority of paddy lands, only a single crop is harvested. Ginger cultivation in Wayanad has also substantially increased in recent times and the ginger produced is mainly marketed in the form of green ginger. Homestead farming assumes importance in this district. The average size of holdings are 0.68 ha. A variety of crops including annuals and perennials are grown in these small holdings. The crops include coconut, arecanut, pepper, vegetables, tuber crops, drumstick, papaya, etc. and fruit trees like mango and jack. The crop patterns/crop combinations prevelant in this district are not based on any scientific norms. Therefore scientific cropping patterns suitable for the agro-ecological situation is to be recommended.
Marketing of Agriculture Produce
The marketing of coffee was fully regulated by the Coffee Board till 1992 and the entire coffee grown in the district had to be pooled to the Board.But in the Coffee Policy of 1995 - 96 , the Government exempted small scale growers possessing land less than 10 hectares from the obligation of pooling.Those growers with more than 10 hectares of coffee plantation were obliged to provide 60 percent of their produces to the Coffee Board.But Government of India recently announced the abolition of the pooling system for coffee altogether from 14th September 1996 and coffee growers are now free to market either in the domestic market or export.
Pepper is marketed mainly as dried berries. The different agencies engaged in the marketing of the produce are hill produce merchants , marketing socities, commission agents and exporters.Being an export oriented commodity, pepper prices show frequent fluctuations depending on the international prices prevailing for the commodity from timt to time.Ginger is mainly marketed as green ginger.Cardamom is sold at auction centres.The traders are licensed by the Spices Board and they participate in the different marketing centers for auction.Rubber is a controled commodityand is mainly marketed in the form of smoked rubber sheets.A large number of private dealers as well as the primary rubber marketing societies under the Rubber Marketing Federation , operate at the village level for the purchase and sale of Commodity.
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