AGRICULTURAL AND MARKETING PRACTICES DURING BRITISH PERIOD IN THE MADRAS PRESIDENCY
Assistant Professor, Vivekananda College of Education, Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu, India.
At the period of the acquisition of the Madras Presidency by the British, the country was teeming with villages. The village had a definite geographical area and comprised some hundreds of acres of arable and wasteland. These villages formed distinct societies by themselves, self-sufficing in the matter of most of the fundamental necessities and even of several of the comforts of life. The distinctive feature of the early nineteenth century was the universal existence of fortifications, reflecting the extreme insecurity of the times. The soils and climate of the Presidency favoured the production of a great variety of crops. Contemporary accounts of the various districts teem with references to the country’s manifold potentialities in respect of agriculture. The several districts manuals compiled twenty and thirty years later present much the same picture of methods of cultivation. The implements of agriculture were few and simple the most noteworthy feature was that the quantity of manure was deficient and the method of applying it unsatisfactory. The vast majority of the agriculturists were so poor that they were obliged to borrow money and exorbitant rates to cultivate the coarsest of grains and even for very subsistence. Many of the ryots’s deficiencies could be removed by the spread of knowledge and the establishment of government agencies that would introduce and popularise advanced methods of agriculture but the chief desideratum was an improvement in his economic position.
agriculture, crop production, irrigation, cultivation