Majority of the population of the district are dependent directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihood. According to the Census of 1991, 53,877 persons are engaged in cultivation and 12,193 in agricultural labour.
The main crops grown in the district are paddy, coconut, pepper cashew, tapioca, areca nut and plantation crops like rubber.
Paddy occupies the largest area among annual crops. The first crop of paddy is mostly a wetland crop and it covers twice the area under the second crop and the four times the area under the summer crop. Under high yielding variety programme, substantial increase in paddy production has been achieved; even though the percentage of area sown under paddy is decreasing year after year, due to conversion of paddy fields to other purposes.
The average yield of paddy is recorded at 2146kg. per hectare. But, according to field observations, the yield ranges from 2200 kg. to 3200 kg. per hectare, depending upon the variety of seeds sown and the quantum of input such as fertilizer, manure and plant protection chemicals are used.
Next to paddy, coconut is the most important crop in the district. It’s cultivation spread over 88,143 hectares. Coconut is extensively grown throughout the district. The average yield, as per field observation, is 45 per tree.
An important cash crop grown I the district is cashew nut. The district plays a unique role in its cultivation and production. The vast stretches of suitable wastelands with low fertility status extends scope for expansion of cashew cultivation and its allied industries.
Among spices, pepper occupies an important place covering an area of 17,235 hectares. Pepper is mostly grown as an intercrop with coconut, arecanut and various fruit trees. In the hilly areas of the district, the inter-cultivation is done with rubber and cashew. It is also grown in the homestead of marginal farmers.
Rubber is the most important industrial cash crops among the plantation crops. Nearly 46,083 hectares of land is under rubber cultivation.
About 55 per cent of the rubber cultivation of a Kannur district is in Thaliparamba taluk, followed by Thalassery and Kannur taluks. The yield of rubber per hectare varies from 2000 kg. to 4000kgs.
“An ounce of gold will not buy an ounce of time.”