Agriculture in India

TYPES OF FARMING IN INDIA Primitive Subsistence Farming This type of farming is still practised in few pockets of India. Primitive subsistence agriculture is practised on small patches of land with the help of primitive tools like hoe, dao and digging sticks, and family/community labour. This type of farming depends upon monsoon, natural fertility of the soil and suitability of other environmental conditions to the crops grown. It is a ‘slash and burn’ agriculture. 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. This type of shifting allows Nature to replenish the fertility of the soil through natural processes; land productivity in this type of agriculture is low as the farmer does not use fertilisers or other modern inputs. It is known by different names in different parts of the country. It is known as jhumming in north-eastern states like Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland; Pamlou in Manipur, Dipa in Bastar district of Chattishgarh, and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

This primitive form of cultivation is called ‘Bewar’ or ‘Dahiya’ in Madhya Pradesh, ‘Podu’ or ‘Penda’ in Andhra Pradesh, ‘Pama Dabi’ or ‘Koman’ or Bringa’ in Orissa, ‘Kumari’ in Western Ghats, ‘Valre’ or ‘Waltre’ in South-eastern Rajasthan, ‘Khil’ in the Himalayan belt, ‘Kuruwa’ in Jharkhand, and ‘Jhumming’ in the North-eastern region. Intensive Subsistence Farming This type of farming is practised in areas of high population pressure on land. It is labour intensive farming, where high doses of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used for obtaining higher production.
Though the ‘right of inheritance’ leading to the division of land among successive generations has rendered land-holding size uneconomical, the farmers continue to take maximum output from the limited land in the absence of alternative source of livelihood. Thus, there is enormous pressure on agricultural land. 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, insecticides and pesticides in order to obtain higher productivity.
The degree of commercialisation of agriculture varies from one region to another. For example, rice is a commercial crop in Haryana and Punjab, but in Orissa, it is a subsistence crop. Plantation Plantation is also a type of commercial farming. In this type of farming, a single crop is grown on a large area. The plantation has an interface of agriculture and industry. Plantations cover large tracts of land, using capital intensive inputs, with the help of migrant labourers. All the produce is used as raw material in respective industries. In India, tea, coffee, rubber, sugarcane, banana, etc.. are important plantation crops.
Tea in Assam and North Bengal coffee in Karnataka are some of the important plantation crops grown in these states. 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. CROPPING PATTERN India has three cropping seasons — rabi, kharif and zaid. www. excellup. com © 2009 Send your queries and suggestions to [email protected] com Rabi: 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 mustard. Though, these crops are grown in large parts of India, states from the north and northwestern parts such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh are important for the production of wheat and other rabi crops. Availability of precipitation during winter months due to the western temperate cyclones helps in the success of these crops. However, the success of the green revolution in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan has also been an important factor in the growth of the above mentioned rabi crops.
Kharif: Kharif crops are grown with the onset of monsoon in different parts of the country and these are harvested in September-October. Important crops grown during this season are paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar), moong, urad, cotton, jute, groundnut and soyabean. Some of the most important rice-growing regions are Assam, West Bengal, coastal regions of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra, particularly the (Konkan coast) along with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Recently, paddy has also become an important crop of Punjab and Haryana.
In states like Assam, West Bengal and Orissa, three crops of paddy are grown in a year. These are Aus, Aman and Boro. Zaid: In between the rabi and the kharif seasons, there is a short season during the summer months known as the Zaid season. Some of the crops produced during ‘zaid’ are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops. Sugarcane takes almost a year to grow. Major Crops Rice: It 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.
It is a kharif crop which requires high temperature, (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm. In the areas of less rainfall, it grows with the help of irrigation. Rice is grown in the plains of north and north-eastern India, coastal areas and the deltaic regions. Development of dense network of canal irrigation and tubewells have made it possible to grow rice in areas of less rainfall such as Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan. Wheat: This is the second most important cereal crop. It is the main food crop, in north and north-western part of the country.
This rabi crop requires a cool growing season and a bright sunshine at the time of ripening. It requires 50 to 75 cm of annual rainfall evenly distributed over the growing season. There are two important wheat-growing zones in the country – the Ganga-Satluj plains in the northwest and black soil region of the Deccan. The major wheatproducing states are Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh. Millets: 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. Jowar is the third most important food crop with respect to area and production. It is a rain-fed crop mostly grown in the moist areas which hardly needs irrigation. Maharashtra is the largest producer of jowar followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Bajra grows well on sandy soils and shallow black soil. Rajasthan is the largest producer of bajra followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana. Ragi is a crop of dry regions and grows well on red, black, sandy, loamy and shallow black soils.
Karnataka is the largest producer of ragi followed by Tamil Nadu. Apart from these states, www. excellup. com © 2009 Send your queries and suggestions to [email protected] com Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are also important for the production of ragi. Maize: It is a crop which is used both as food and fodder. It is a kharif crop which requires temperature between 21°C to 27°C and grows well in old alluvial soil. In some states like Bihar maize is grown in rabi season also. Use of modern inputs such as HYV seeds, fertilisers and irrigation have contributed to the increasing production of maize.
Major maize-producing states are Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Pulses: 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. Arhar, urad, moong, masur, chana and peas are major pulses of India. Pulses help in restoring soil fertility. That is why they are produce in rotation with other crops. UP, MP, Rajasthan and Karnataka are major pulse producing states in India. Sugarcane: Sugarcane grows in hot and humid climate. It requires temperature range of 21° to 27° c and rainfall of 75 cm to 100 cm.
Sugar can grow on variety of soils. After Brazil, India is the second largest producer of sugarcane in the world. It is the main source of sugar, gur (jaggary), khandsari and molasses. The major sugarcane-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana. Oil Seeds: India is the largest producer of oilseeds in the world. Different oil seeds are grown covering approximately 12 per cent of the total cropped area of the country. Main oil-seeds produced in India are groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesamum (til), soyabean, castor seeds, cotton seeds, linseed and sunflower.
Most of these are edible and used as cooking mediums. However, some of these are also used as raw material in the production of soap, cosmetics and ointments. Groundnut is a kharif crop and accounts for about half of the major oilseeds produced in the country. Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of groundnut followed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra – linseed and mustard are rabi crops. Sesamum is a kharif crop in north and rabi crop in south India. Castor seed is grown both as rabi and kharif crop. Tea: Tea cultivation is an example of plantation agriculture.
It is also an important beverage crop introduced in India initially by the British. Today, most of the tea plantations are owned by Indians. 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 bushes require warm and moist frost-free climate all through the year. Frequent showers evenly distributed over the year ensure continuous growth of tender leaves. Tea is a labourintensive industry. It requires abundant, cheap and skilled labour. Tea is processed within the tea garden to restore its freshness.
Major tea producing states are Assam, hills of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Apart from these, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura are also tea-producing states in the country. India is the leading producer as well as exporter of tea in the world. Coffee: India produces about four per cent of the world’s coffee production. Indian coffee is known in the world for its good quality. The Arabica variety initially brought from Yemen is produced in the country. This variety is in great demand all over the world.
Intially its cultivation was introduced on the Baba Budan Hills. Others: India is a producer of tropical as well as temperate fruits. Mangoes of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, oranges of Nagpur and Cherrapunjee www. excellup. com © 2009 Send your queries and suggestions to [email protected] com (Meghalaya), bananas of Kerala, Mizoram, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, lichi and guava of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, pineapples of Meghalaya, grapes of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, apples, pears, apricots and walnuts of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are in great demand the world over.
Horticulture Crops: India is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. India produces about 13 per cent of the world’s vegetables. It is an important producer of pea, cauliflower, onion, cabbage, tomato, brinjal and potato. Non-Food Crops Rubber: It is an equatorial crop, but under special conditions, it is also grown tropical areas. It requires moist and humid climate with rainfall of more temperature above 25°C. Rubber is an important industrial raw material. It Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andaman and Nicabar islands and Garo India ranks fifth among the world’s natural rubber producers.
in tropical and subthan 200 cm. and is mainly grown in hills of Meghalaya. Cotton: India is believed to be the original home of the cotton plant. Cotton is one of the main raw materials for cotton textile industry. India is the third-largest producer of cotton in the world. Cotton grows well in drier parts of the black cotton soil of the Deccan plateau. It requires high temperature, light rainfall orirrigation, 210 frost-free days and bright sunshine for its growth. It is a kharif crop and requires 6 to 8 months to mature.
Major cotton-producing states are – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Jute: It is known as the golden fibre. 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. West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Orissa and Meghalaya are the major jute producing states. It is used in making gunny bags, mats, ropes, yarn, carpets and other artefacts. Due to its high cost, it is losing market to synthetic fibres and packing materials, particularly the nylon.
Bhoodan – Gramdan & Land Reforms Vinoba Bhave spread the awareness about donating surplus land to the landless. This was a precursor of abolition of Zamindari system. ‘Land reform’ was the main focus of our First Five Year Plan. The right of inheritance had already lead to fragmentation of land holdings necessitating consolidation of holdings. The laws of land reforms were enacted but the laws of implementation was lacking or lukewarm. The Government of India embarked upon introducing agricultural reforms to improve Indian agriculture in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Green Revolution based on the use of package technology and the White Revolution (Operation Flood) were some of the strategies initiated to improve the lot of Indian agriculture. But, this too led to the concentration of development in few selected areas. In states like Punjab, UP, proper implementation fo land reform has led viable size of plot. The right size leads to scale economy and better crop management leading to optimum production. Therefore, in the 1980s and 1990s, a comprehensive land development programme was initiated, which included both institutional and technical 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 lower rates of interest were some important steps in this direction. Kissan Credit Card (KCC), Personal Accident Insurance Scheme (PAIS) are some other schemes introduced by the Government of India for the benefit of the farmers. Moreover, special weather bulletins and www. excellup. com © 2009 Send your queries and suggestions to [email protected] com
agricultural programmes for farmers were introduced on the radio and television. The government also announces minimum support price, remunerative and procurement prices for important crops to check the exploitation of farmers by speculators and middlemen. Current Scenario: The growth rate in agriculture is decelerating which is an alarming situation. Today, Indian farmers are facing a big challenge from international competition and our government is going ahead with reduction in the public investment in agriculture sector particularly in irrigation, power, rural roads, market and mechanisation.
Subsidy on fertilisers is decreased leading to increase in the cost of production. Moreover, reduction in import duties on agricultural products have proved detrimental to agriculture in the country. Farmers are withdrawing their investment from agriculture causing a downfall in the employment in agriculture. Agriculture has been the backbone of the Indian economy though its share in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has registered a declining trend from 1951 onwards; yet its share in providing employment and livelihood to the population continues to be as high as 63 per cent in 2001.
The declining share of agriculture in the GDP is a matter of serious concern because any decline and stagnation in agriculture will lead to a decline in other spheres of the economy having wider implications for society. Considering the importance of agriculture in India, the Government of India made concerted efforts to modernise agriculture. Establishment of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), agricultural universities, veterinary services and animal breeding centres, horticulture development, research and development in the field of meteorology and weather forecast, etc. were given priority for improving Indian agriculture.
Apart from this, improving the rural infrastructure was also considered essential for the same. FOOD SECURITY If any segment of our population does not have this access, that segment suffers from lack of food security. The number of people who do not have food security is disproportionately large in some regions of our country, particularly in economically less developed states with higher incidence of poverty. The remote areas of the country are more prone to natural disasters and uncertain food supply. In order to ensure availability of food to all sections of society our government carefully designed a national food security system.
It consists of two components (a)buffer stock and (b) public distribution system (PDS). Public Distribution System: PDS is a programme which provides food grains and other essential commodities at subsidised prices in rural and urban areas. India’s food security policy has a primary objective to ensure availability of foodgrains to the common people at an affordable price. It has enabled the poor to have access to food. The focus of the policy is on growth in agriculture production and on fixing the support price for procurement of wheat and rice, to maintain their stocks.
Food Corporation of India (FCI) is responsible for procuring and stocking foodgrains, whereas distribution is ensured by public distribution system (PDS). The FCI procures foodgrains from the farmers at the government announced minimum support price (MSP). The government used to provide subsidies on agriculture inputs such as fertilizers, power and water. These subsidies have now reached unsustainable levels and have also led to large scale inefficiencies in the use of these scarce inputs. Excessive and imprudent use of fertilizers and water has led to waterlogging, salinity and depletion of essential micronutrients in www.
excellup. com © 2009 Send your queries and suggestions to [email protected] com the soil. The high MSP, subsidies in input and committed FCI purchases have distorted the cropping pattern. Wheat and paddy crops are being grown more for the MSP they get. Punjab and Haryana are foremost examples. This has also created a serious imbalance in inter-crop parities. In PDS consumers are divided into two categories : • Below poverty line(BPL) and • Above poverty line (APL), with the issue price being different for each category.
However, this categorisation is not perfect and a number of deserving poor have been excluded from the BPL category. Moreover, some of the so called APL slip back to BPL, because of the failure of even one crop and it is administratively difficult to accommodate such shifts. Suggestion for Future: Each district and block can be made self sufficient in foodgrain production if government provides proper agricultural infrastructure, credit linkages and also encourages the use of latest techniques.
Instead of concentrating only on rice or wheat, the food crop with a better growth potential in that particular area must be encouraged. Creation of necessary infrastructure like irrigation facilities, availability of electricity etc. may also attract private investments in agriculture. The focus on increasing foodgrain production which should be on a sustainable basis and also free trade in grains will create massive employment and reduce poverty in rural areas. Shifting Agricultural Pattern: There has been a gradual shift from cultivation of food crops to cultivation of fruits, vegetables, oil-seeds and industrial crops.
This has led to the reduction in net sown area under cereals and pulses. With the growing population of India, the declining food production puts a big question mark over the country’s future food security. The competition for land between non-agricultural uses such as housing etc. and agriculture has resulted in reduction in the net sown area. The productivity of land has started showing a declining trend. Fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides, which once showed dramatic results, are now being held responsible for degrading the soils.
Periodic scarcity of water has led to reduction in area under irrigation. Inefficient water management has led to water logging and salinity. Impact of Globalisation on Agriculture Under globalisation, particularly after 1990, the farmers in India have been exposed to new challenges. Despite being an important producer of rice, cotton, rubber, tea, coffee, jute and spices our agricultural products are not able to compete with the developed countries because of the highly subsidised agriculture in those countries.
Change in cropping pattern for example from cereals to high-value crops will mean that India will have to import food. During 1960’s this would have been seen as a disaster. But if India imports cereals while exporting high-value commodities, it will be following successful economies like Italy, Israel and Chile. These countries exports farm products (fruits, olives, speciality seeds and wine) and import cereals. www. excellup. com © 2009 Send your queries and suggestions to [email protected] com

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