Production and Marketing of Coarse Cereals in Andhra Pradesh


Coarse cereals, viz., sorghum, pearl millet, and finger millet assume significance in the cropping pattern of dryland regions as they require little inputs and are most drought resistant. By providing grains and fodder, they support the food and fodder needs of the farm household and livestock. However, the last few decades saw these crops lose area on account of declining demand, change in food habits and erosion in relative profitability of these crops vis-à-vis other crops.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to improve the profitability of these crops as they contribute to food security to the small and marginal farmers. The nutritional value of these crops offers much scope to develop new health and packaged foods. Considering these issues, various issues related to production and marketing of coarse cereals were examined in the project “Studies on spatiotemporal variations in production and marketing of coarse cereals in Andhra Pradesh” financially supported by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. This research bulletin puts together the findings of the project.


Study area and methods

The study was conducted using the primary and secondary data. The primary data was obtained from three districts – one district for each crop –which was leading in the production of these crops. The primary data related to sorghum, pearl millet, and finger millet were collected from Mahabubnagar, Prakasam and Visakhapatnam districts, respectively. From each district, five leading mandals regarding area under the crop concerned were selected. Then, one village was selected in each mandal randomly. From each village, fifteen farmers were randomly selected making a total sample of seventy-five farmers for each crop.

Similarly, to study the marketing channels and marketing efficiency, primary data were collected from different market intermediaries. The secondary data on area, production and yield for the period 1975 onwards in different districts was obtained from the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, Mumbai. The primary data related to farmers and marketing was for the agricultural year 2005-06. The temporal changes in the area, production, and productivity in different districts and the state as a whole were examined by computing annual rates of growth by fitting exponential time trend equations. Marketing efficiency was examined by computing the producer’s share in the consumer’s rupee and Composite and Shepherd indices. The simple tabular analysis was done to derive meaningful inferences in case of other related analyses.



Spatio-temporal variations in production of coarse cereals

The area under cultivation of coarse cereals viz., sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet in AP. There was a steady decline in the area under these crops, and the rate of decline was more from the nineties onwards. Among the three coarse bowls of cereal, the decline was sharper in pearl millet whose area came down to 86890 ha (2003) from 577880 ha (1975), almost a fall to one-sixth. The other two coarse bowls of cereal were sown to an area in 2003 which was nearly one fourth of that sown in 1975.

This decline in area under cultivation of coarse cereals in India and AP is due to the some of the plausible reasons like cultivation on marginal lands, low profitability, falling demand, adverse agro-climatic conditions and unfavorable government policies. All these factors caused these crops being replaced by crops such as oilseeds (sunflower, groundnut, castor), pulses (pigeon pea) and other cereals (maize). The availability of rice at highly subsidized price through public distribution system has been the single most important factor for the falling demand for these crops

Crop Area (000 ha)
1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2003
Sorghum 2538.3 2399.9 1862.28 1310.7 944.40 735.93 623.85
Pearl millet 577.88 451.80 394.60 258.30 137.30 116.6 86.98
Finger millet 289.4 250.60 226.08 171.00 129.92 96.75 71.25


The spatial distribution of these crops in AP is depicted in figures 2-4. During the TE1983, sorghum was an important crop in ten districts with more than 100000 ha. The number of such districts with more than 100000 ha fell to five during TE1993 and to two during TE 2003. Similarly, in case of pearl millet, four districts were having an area of more than 50000 ha (Fig 3). However, during the 1990s and 2000, no district was having an area of more than 50000 ha under this crop. Finger millet was grown in more than 10000 ha in nine districts during TE 1983. This number fell to seven in TE 1993 and just two in TE 2003.

The temporal variations in the area sown to these crops in the selected districts are depicted in figure 5. It is evident that the crops are losing their importance in the selected districts. The rate of decline is more pronounced for sorghum in Mahabubnagar district.



The estimated compound growth rates in the area, production, and productivity of sorghum in different districts of Andhra Pradesh during the period from 1980-90 to 2002-03 are presented in table 2. There was a conspicuous decline in area, production, and productivity of sorghum in Andhra Pradesh. At the country level, the crop loss area at an annual rate of 0.9 per cent during the eighties, 3.7 per cent during the nineties and 2.7 per cent since 1995. The growth in yield was also not impressive; in fact, there was a discernible declining trend during the period after 1995. The crop loss area in all the districts of AP. In all the districts, the performance of sorghum was deteriorating during the reforms period of 1995-2003 compared to pre-reforms period.


Pearl millet

The growth performance of pearl millet is shown in table 3. Compound growth rates of area, production, and productivity of pearl millet in Andhra Pradesh and the country as a whole were negative, whereas, at the country level, the growth rates in productivity were positive during the 1980s and 1990s. During 1980-90 the area, production, and productivity in AP showed negative growth rate and, the highest growth rate in this period was in the area (15.29% in Karimnagar), and the fastest decline was observed in Guntur.

During 1990-2000, the highest growth rate was in the area once again in Karimnagar (62.85) followed by Adilabad (11.74) and highest negative growth rate was in the district of Warangal (-23.73). The state as a whole witnessed a negative growth rate (-7.90) in the area during the 1990s and the country was also showing negative growth rate. During 1995-2003 also the trend was negative in AP as well as the country (–4.22 and –2.05, respectively). The highest growth rate in the area of pearl millet in AP during 1995-03 was seen in the districts of Krishna (46.78) followed by Guntur (30.79), and steepest fall was found in Visakhapatnam (-20.87).

Finger millet

An examination of the growth pattern of area, production, and productivity of finger millet during the periods of 1980-90, 1990-00 and 1995-03 also revealed that the area was declining in all the districts and the country as a whole. During the period of 1980-90, except Warangal (40.93) and Krishna (9.84), all other districts were losing area under finger millet. The highest negative growth rate can be seen in West Godavari (-24.45). The crop acreage continued to decline in the periods of 1990-00 and 1995-03 in all the districts except in Guntur, Khammam, Krishna, Kurnool, Nalgonda, Warangal and West Godavari. Negative trends were also observed in production and productivity of the finger millet in the state as a whole and at the country level (Fig 8). In case of productivity, there was a general decline in all the districts except in Mahabubnagar, Prakasam, and Rangareddy.





  • Central Institute of Dryland Agriculture
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons