In a developing economy, agriculture must not only provide for a growing populace but also produce a surplus for investment. For an ancient, custom-dominated land like India, how does agriculture attempt to meet these demands? In this book, the economic history of India’s agriculture and the extent of its development, from 1891 to independence (1947), is closely and authoritatively examined in a study of output, acreage, and yield per acre for the eighteen crops that constitute most of India’s agriculture.The nature of change for each of these eighteen crops, and for the foodgrain, nonfoodgrain, and all-crop groups is described and analyzed for the fifty-six-year period as a whole, as well as for shorter periods, for British India and six major regions. Output and trade data are combined to determine trends in the availability of crops. These trends are compared with population figures to indicate changes in India’s welfare. To explain the trends in acre productivity, close scrutiny is given to changes m the composition of output, intensity of cultivation, agricultural technology, and physical environment. An extensive treatment of the methodological problems encountered in assembling adequate crop data and statistical measurements precedes the investigation of agricultural development. An accurate account must balance the multitude of variables involved in the complex system by which agricultural information was compiled and evaluated: the reliability of the village recorders, the changes in boundary lines and the consequent changes in records, the influence of climate and foreign markets, as well as the larger patterns of history and nature, warfare and catastrophe. The comprehensive Appendix includes, among other source materials, the annual data for individual crops and crop aggregates and their trend rates for individual decades. The text contains numerous tables, charts, and maps.