The replacement of food crops by the cash crops is called commercialization of agriculture. The commercialization of agriculture is carried out by keeping the market needs in mind because the production is not carried for self consumption.
Factors and forces
- The commercialization of agriculture was the result of the establishment of British rule in India.
- The establishment of a money economy by the British rulers played an important role in the commercialization of agriculture. Because of this, the crop could be easily sold in the market.
- The integration of the local economy with the national and international economy had affected the demand pattern. Because of this, the production of these crops was given priority by the peasants which had greater demand in the market.
- The replacement of custom and traditions by the formal contract by the British Indian rulers also played an important role in bringing about commercialization of agriculture. Because of this, certain crops could be cultivated through a contract system.
- The excessively heavy burden of land revenue played an important role in the commercialization of agriculture. Because of this burden, peasants were forced to cultivate those crops which had a better market value. The cash crops could be easily sold in the market to pay the land revenue on time. The Indian peasants were under constant threat of eviction, in case of the failure of the payment of land revenue.
- The foreign capital investment in India also played an important role in the commercialization of agriculture. The charter act of 1833, allowed the Europeans to purchase land in India and this enabled the emergence of large plantations. The tea, coffee and jute plantations emerged in a large number of areas.
- The needs of British industries also played an important role in the commercialization of agriculture. By the end of the 18th century a number of modern industries had emerged in Britain and these industries required a raw material in huge quantities. Because of this the British-Indian government forced the Indian peasants to cultivate the commercial crops like cotton, indigo, coffee etc.
- The need to balance the internal trade of the company was also an important factor in commercialization of agriculture.
- Being the forced process for the majority of Indian poor peasants, the commercialization of agriculture failed to produce any positive results in India. In fact it was the other instrument of colonial exploitation.
- The commercialization of agriculture had resulted in the replacement of food crops by the cash crops. Because of this, the availability of food grains was reduced significantly. This resulted in the repeated famines in various parts of India.
- Commercialization of agriculture adversely affected the stability of Indian rural economy because the rural economy was linked with the national and International economy. The benefits of greater demands were generally cornered by the intermediaries and the company officials. But the negative consequences of the fall in the demand were generally faced by the poor peasantry.
- The commercialization by agriculture also aggravated the problems of rural indebtedness. Because the peasantry had to take a loan from the moneylenders to purchase the new implements and new seeds.
- The cultivation of commercial crops repeatedly adversely affected the fertility of soil as well.
The commercialization of agriculture was not associated with any technological advancement. Being the forced process, it resulted only in the destruction of Indian agriculture and greater exploitation of Indian peasantry.