Agriculture remains one of the most important sectors of Kerala Ecomomy. The forces driving the global growth in agriculture and associated risks pose significant challenges to kerala agriculture. Commodity markets witnessed turbulent times in 2014 & 2015.
With regard to Kerala, growth performance of the agriculture and allied sectors has been fluctuating. It witnessed a positive growth of 1.8 percent in Xth Plan period but a negative growth rate of -1.3 percent in XIth Five Year Plan. In the Twelfth Plan based on the new series broght out by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics (DES) with 2011-12 as base year, the agriculture and allied sectors recorded a positive growth rate of 1.43 per cent in the first year (2012-13), and a negative growth rate of -2.13 per cent in second year (2013-14). In 2014-15, the sector has recoded a negative growth rate of -4.67 per cent. Consequently, the share of agriculture and allied sectors in total GSDP of the State has also declined from 14.38 per cent in 2011-12 to 11.6 per cent in 2014-15. But, the switch from 2004-05 to new series with 2011-12 as base has resulted in higher share of agriculture and allied sectors in the total GSDP of the State from 8.83 per cent to 12.9 per cent for 2013-14.
Kerala is one of those States in India where land resources are put to more intensive use than anywhere else, mainly because of the low per capita availability of land in the State.Out of a total geographical area of 38.86 lakh ha, little over one fourth was under forests, and one tenth of it was put to non agrcultural use. Also, the net sown area which accounts for 53 per cent of the total area, did not record any significant changes. Area sown more than once, which accounted for 15 per cent of the total geographical area recorded a notable increase of 3 percent from 5.65 lakh ha in 2013-14 to 5.81 lakh ha in 2014-15. As a result, the gross cropped area registered a minor increase of 0.3 percent. Another notable feature is the decline in the area of barren and uncultivated land (-5 per cent), permanent pastures and grazing land (-38 per cent) and the area under current fallow (-8 percent).
In the gross cropped area of 26.24 lakh hectares in 2014-15, food crops comprising rice, pulses, tapioca occupy 10.5 per cent. In 2014-15, food crops in general showed an increasing trend in production as the production of pulses and tapioca recorded an increase of 13 and 18 per cent respectively and that of irce recorded a marginal decline. This could be more on account of increase in acreage as the area under both pulses and tapioca has recorded an increase of 20 per cent and 11.6 per cent respectively.