Type of Farming, Cropping Pattern and Major Crops

  • Agriculture is a primary activity, India is an agriculturally important country.
  • Two-thirds of India’s population is engaged in agricultural activities.
  • Since agriculture is an age-old economic activity in India, farming varies from subsistence to commercial type. At present, in different parts of India, the following farming systems are practiced:

i) Primitive subsistence farming : It is practiced on small patches of land with the help primitive tools like hoe, dao and digging sticks. It depends upon monsoon, natural fertility of the soil and suitability of other environmental conditions to the crops grown.

Farming on small patch of land with the help of primitive tools such as hoe, dao and digging sticks and family or community labour.

In the ‘slash and burn’ agriculure, farmers clear a patch of land and produce cereals and other food crops to sustain their family. When the soil fertility decreases, the farmers shift and clear a fresh patch of land for cultivation.

Jhumming : Burning a piece of aldn for cultivation by forest tribes.

ii) Intensive subsistence farming : This type of farming is practised in areas of high population pressure on land. It is done where high doeses of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used for obtaining higher production.

iii) Commercial farming : The main characteristic of this type of farming is the use of higher doses of modern inputs e.g. high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, chemical fertilisers, insecticies and pesticides in order to obtain higher productivity.

  • Plantation Farming : In this type of farming, a single crop is grown on a large area.

i) The plantation has an interface of agriculture and industry.

ii) Plantations cover large tracts of land, using capital intensive inputs, with the help of migrant labourers.

iii) All the produce is used as raw material in respective industries.

iv) Since the production is mainly for market, a well developed network of transport and communication connecting the plantation areas, processing industries and markets plays an important role in the development of plantations.

v) India has three cropping seasons Rabi, Kharif and Zaid.

  • Rabi crops are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June. Some of the important rabi crops are wheat , barley, peas, gram and msutard.

i) Kharif crops are grown with the onset of monsoon in different parts of the country and these are harvested in September to October. Important crops grown during this season are paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar) , moong, urad, jute, groundnut and soyabean.

ii) Between the Rabi and Kharif seasons, there is a short season during the summer, known as the Zaid season. Some of the crops produced during ‘zaid’ are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops.

  • Major crops grown in India are rice, wheat, millets, pulses, tea, coffee, sugarcane, oilseeds, cotton, and jute.

i) Rice is the staple food crop of a majority of the people in India. Our country is the second largest producer of rice in the world after China.

ii) Rice is a Kharif crop which requires high temperature (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm.

iii) Rice is grown in the plains of north and north-east India, coastal areas and the deltaic regions.

iv) Wheat is the second most imporant cereal crop. It is the main food crop, in north and north-western part of the country.

v) Whwat is a rabi crop which requires a cool growing season and a bright sunshine at the time of ripening. It requires 50 to 75 cms of annual rainfall evenly distributed over the growing season.

vi) The major wheat-producing states are Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh.

  • Jowar, bajra and ragi are the important millets grown in India. Though these are known as coarse grains, they have very high nutritional value. For example, ragi is very rich in iron, calcium, other micro nutrients and roughage.

i) Major Jowar producing states are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

ii) Major Bajra producing states are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.

iii) Major ragi producing states are: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh.

  • India is the largest producer as well as the consumer of pulses in the world. These are the major source of protein in a vegetarian diet.

i) Maize is a kharif crop which requires temperature between 21°C to 27°C and grows well in old alluvial soil.

ii) Major maize-producing states are Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh.

iii) India is the largest producer as well as the consumer of pulses in the world.

  •   Major pulses that are grown in India are tur (arhar), urad, moong, masur, peas and gram.

i) Major pulse producing states in India are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

ii) India is the second largest producer of sugarcane only after Brazil.

iii) Sugarcane is a tropical as well as a subtropical crop. It grows well in hot and humit climate with a temperature of 21°C to 27°C and an annual rainfall between 75 cm and 100 cm.

iv) The major sugarcane-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.

  • India is the largest producer of oilseeds in the world. Main oil-seeds produced in India are groundnut, mustard, coconut, seasmum (til), soyabean, castor seeds, cotton seeds, linseed and sunflower. Most of these are edible and used as cooking mediums.

i) In 2014 India was the second largest producer of tea after China.

ii) Tea cultivation is an example of plantation agriculture. It is an imporant beverage crop introduced in India initially by the Britishers.

iii) The tea plant grows well in tropical and sub-tropical climates endowed with deep and fertile well-drained soil, rich in humus and organic matter. Tea plants require warm and moist frost-free climate all through the year.

iv) Major tea producing states are Assam, hills of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts, West Bengal , Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

v) In 2014, India produced 3.5 per cent of the world coffee production.

vi) Initially its cultivation was introduced on the Baba Budan Hills and even today its cultivation is confined to the Nilgiri in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

  • Horticulture crops : India is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. India is a producer of tropical as well as temperate fruits.
  • India produces about 13 percent of the world’s vegetables. It is an important producer of pea, cauliflower, onion, cabbage, tomato, brinjal and potato.
  • The non-food crops grown in India are rubber, fibre crops, cotton, jute, etc.

Non-Food Crops

  • Rubber is an equatorial crop, but under special conditions, it is also grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas.
  • It requires moist and humid climate with rainfall of more than 200 cm. and temperature above 25°C.
  • It is mainly grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andaman and Nicobar islands and Garo hills of Meghalaya.
  • Cotton, jute, hemp and natural silk are the four major fibre crops grown in India.

i) In 2014 India was second largest producer of cotton after China.

ii) Cotton is one of the main raw materials for cotton textile industry/

iii) Cotton grows well in dier parts of the black cotton soil of the Deccan plateay. It requires high temperature, light rainfall or irrigation, 210 frost-free days and bright sun-shine for its growth.

iv) Major cotton-producing states are – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Pnjuab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

  • Jute is known as the golden fibre.

i) Jute grows well on well-drained fertile soils in the flood plains where soils are renewed every year. High temperature is required during the time of growth.

  • Due to its high cost, it is losing market to synthetic fibres and packing materials, particularly the nylon.

i) West Bengal , Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Meghalaya are the major jute producing states.

  • Rearing of silk worms for the production of silk fibre is known as sericulture.

Technological and Institutional Reforms

  • Agriculture, which provides livelihood for more than 60 percent of its population, needs some serious technical and institutional reforms. Thus, collectivisation, consolidation of holdings and abolition of Zamindari, etc, were given priority to bring about institutional reforms.
  • India’s food security policy has a primary objective to ensure availability of food grains to the common people at an affordable price. It has enabled the poor to have access to the food.
  • The Green Revolution promised improvement in the condition of marginal and small farmers.
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, a comprehensive land development programme was initiated, which included both institutinonal and technological reforms.
  • Provision for crop insurance against drought, flood , cyclone , fire and disease, establishment of Grameen banks, cooperative societies and banks for providing loan facilities to the farmers at lowe rates of interest were some important steps in this direction.
  • Kissan Credit Card (KCC) , Personal Accident Insurance Shceme (PAIS) are some other schemes introduced by the Government of India for the benefit of the farmers.

i) Special weather bulletins and agricultural programmes for farmers were introduced on the radio and television.

ii) The government also announces minimum support price, remunerative and procurement prices for important crops to check the exploitation of farmers by speculators and middlemen.