The major change in agriculture in Kerala occurred in the 1970s when production of rice fell due to increased availability of rice all over India and decreased availability of labour.Consequently, investment in rice production decreased and a major portion of the land shifted to the cultivation of perennial tree crops and seasonal crops.Profitability of crops fell due to a shortage of farm labour, the high price of land, and the uneconomic size of operational holdings.
Kerala produces 97% of the national output of black pepper and accounts for 85% of the natural rubber in the country.Coconut, tea, coffee, cashew, and spices—including cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the main agricultural products.The country is earning more than 4000 crores annually through the export of processed cashews, prepared from Kollam alone.The key agricultural staple is rice, with varieties grown in extensive paddy fields.Home gardens made up a significant portion of the agricultural sector.Related animal husbandry is touted by proponents as a means of alleviating rural poverty and unemployment among women, the marginalised, and the landless.The state government promotes these activities via educational campaigns and the development of new cattle breeds such as the Sunandini.
Though the contribution of agricultural sector to the state economy was on the decline in 2012–13, through the strength of the allied livestock sector, it has picked up from 7.03% (2011–12) to 7.2%. In the 2013–14 fiscal period, the contribution has been estimated at a high of 7.75%. The total growth of the farm sector has recorded a 4.39% increase in 2012–13, over a paltry 1.3% growth in the previous fiscal year. The agricultural sector has a share of 9.34% in the sectoral distribution of Gross State Domestic Product at Constant Price, while the secondary and tertiary sectors has contributed 23.94% and 66.72% respectively.
There is a preference for organic products and home farming compared to synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.Entekrishi.com is Kerala’s first online open market for consumers/farmers to connect directly with each other. It provides a platform or rather a virtual market for farmers and end consumers where the farmers can display their crops, mention the quantity, specify the method of cultivation, expected price for the commodity and contact details. Farmers can post their products in any quantity ranging from 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) to 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) which means even a person having a kitchen farm may find a buyer.