The study analyzes the growth and variability/instability in area, production and yield of major crops for two different periods in China: Period 1(1976-7710 1987-88) and period II (1988-89 to 1999-2000). The reason for dividing it into two time periods was to see the effect of rural reforms initiated in 1976 and 1988 and also to see the impact of increase in flooded and drought damaged crop areas in the late 1980s. The study reveals that the high yield growth rate of rice, maize, groundnuts and rapeseed was mainly due to favorable price incentives, expanded irrigation system, use of HYVs, application of rising level of chemical fertilizer and implementation of the production responsibility system in period I. The study also confirms that in period II not only the production of wheat, soyabean, groundnuts and rapeseed declined significantly but instability in their production also declined. The growth rate of production of maize, sweet potatoes and potatoes increased. in period II and their production stabilized. Favorable prices of maize, sweet potatoes, potatoes and groundnuts played a vital role as compared to other inputs in increasing the production of these crops. The study also concludes that changes in production which cause instability, are due to a number of factors including availability of irrigation water, prices of competing crops and availability of agricultural inputs. The results also rev~al that a decline in production of rice and wheat (which comprise 46 per cent of total crop area in Chinese agriculture) in period II, was mainly due to unfavorable prices of these crops and flooded and drought land area.

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