ASWINI PAL ARUNENDU MUKHOPADHYAT
Factors behind Expansion of Wheat Area in West Bengal
EXPANSION of area under wheat cultivation in recent years has brought about a conspicuous change in the landscape of agriculture in West Bengal. In view of the growing importance of wheat in the crop economy of the state, it is worthwhile to identify factors that led to this expansion.
Time-series data show a remarkable upward movement in wheat area in West Bengal from 1967-68. It can be observed from Table I that a notable change in wheat area took place in the districts ofBurdwan and Murshidabad in the year 1967-68, followed by Birbhum, Hooghly, Nadia and Goochbeharin 1968-69. In Midnapore, Malda, 24-Parganas and Howrah considerable changes in wheat area occurred in 1969-70, and in the rest of the districts later on.
Table I presents values of coefficients of correlation between wheat area and area under each of its competing crops. Data pertaining to area under the relevant crops from 1963-64 to 1974-75 have been used for calculating the correlation coefficients.1 Only the coefficients bearing negative values have been tested since the possibility of the transfer of area from one crop to another will be indicated by their inverse relationship. Results of the test indicate that area transfer from gram to wheat has taken place in Bankura, Hooghly, 24-Parganas and Murshidabad districts. Area