Importance of Agriculture
- India is an agriculturally important country.
- About two-thirds of India’s population is engaged in agricultural activities
- Agriculture produces most of the food that we consume.
- Agriculture also produces raw materials for various industries
- India is second in the world in crop output, next to China.
- 1.4 million square kilometres of land in India is under cultivation.
- Agriculture is India’s biggest economic sector and employs 52.1% of the total workforce.
Types of Farming in India
1. Primitive subsistence farming :
- It is practised on small patches of land with the help of 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.
- It is also called “slash and burn” cultivation
2. Intensive subsistence farming :
- This type of farming is practised in areas of high population pressure on land.
- It is done where high doses of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used for obtaining higher production.
3. 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 fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides in order to obtain productivity.
- The degree of commercialization varies from region to region.
- For example, Rice is a commercial crop on Punjab and Haryana, but in Orissa, it is a
Slash and burn cultivation-
- Farmers clear a patch of land and produce crops to sustain their family.
- When soil fertility decreases, the farmers shift and start cultivating in the same way on a fresh patch of land.
- This allows nature to replenish the fertility of the soil.
- Productivity in this type of farming is low as fertilizers or modern inputs are not used.
Different names of Slash and Burn Cultivation
- Plantation is a type of commercial farming.
- It is the type of farming in which a single crop is grown on a large area.
- The plantation has an interface of agriculture and industry.
- Plantations use capital intensive inputs, with the help of migrant labourers.
- All the produce is used as raw material in respective industries.
- Tea plantations in Assam and North Bengal, Coffee plantations in Karnataka, Banana plantations
- in Southern part of India, Rubber plantations in Kerala, Bamboo plantations in North-East India etc.
- A well-developed network of transport and communication connecting the plantation areas, processing industries and market is needed
CROPPING PATTERN IN INDIA
India has three cropping seasons.
- It starts with the onset of the monsoon and continues till the beginning of winter (June-July to September-October).
- The kharif crops include rice, maize, millet, cotton, jute, groundnut, moong, urad, etc.
- 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 : Aus,Aman and Boro.
2. Rabi :
- It starts with the beginning of winter and continues till the beginning of summer (October December to April-June).
- The Rabi crops include wheat, barley, gram and oil seeds.
- States such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and
western Uttar Pradesh are main rabi crop ( mainly wheat ) producing states.
- Availability of precipitation during winter months due to the western temperate cyclones help in the success of these crops.
- The success of green revolution in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan has also been an important factor in the growth of rabi crops
- This is a short crop season in between the rabi and the kharif season.
- Crops like watermelons, muskmelon, cucumber, some vegetables and fodder crops are the major crops.
Major Crops in India
- Staple food crop of a majority of the people in India.
- India is the second largest producer in the world after China.
- Kharif crop which requires high temperature, (above 25 degree Celsius) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm.
- Grown in the plains of North and North-Eastern India, coastal areas and the deltaic regions.
- Development of dense network of canal irrigation and tube wells have made it possible to
grow rice in areas of less rainfall such as Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan.
- Second most important cereal crop.
- Main food crop in North and North-Western part of the country.
- Requires cool growing season and bright sunshine at ripening time.
- Requires 50 to 75 cm of annual rainfall evenly distributed over the growing season.
- Important wheat growing zones – Ganga-Sutlej Plains & Black soil region in Deccan.
- Major wheat producing states – 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 high nutritional value.
- Ragi is rich in iron, calcium, other micro nutrients and roughage.
- It is a crop of dry regions and grows well on red, black, sandy, loamy and shallow soils.
- Karnataka is the largest producer followed by Tamil Nadu. Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are also important ragi producing states.
- Jowar is the third most important food crop with respect to area and production.
- It is a rainfed crop grown in moist areas.
- 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 followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana
- Used as both food and fodder.
- Kharif crop which requires temperature between 21-27 degree Celsius. And grows well in alluvial soil.
- In states like Bihar, it is grown as rabi crop also.
- Use of modern inputs like 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.
- India is the largest producer as well as consumer of pulses in the world
- These are the major source of protein in a vegetarian diet.
- Major pulses grown in India are – Tur(arhar), Urad, Moong, Masur, Peas and Gram.
- Pulses need less moisture and survive even in dry conditions.
- All these crops except arhar help in restoring soil fertility by fixing nitrogen from the air, because of which it is grown in rotation with other crops.
- Major pulse producing states in India are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
- It is a tropical as well as sub-tropical crop.
- It grows well in a hot and humid climate with a temperature of 21 to 27 degree Celsius and an annual rainfall between 75 cm and 100 cm.
- Can be grown on a variety of soils and needs manual labour from sowing to harvesting.
- India is the second-largest producer after Brazil.
- The main source of sugar, jaggery, khandsari and molasses.
- Major sugar-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.
- Example of plantation crop.
- Important beverage crop introduced in India by British.
- 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 free climate throughout the year.
- Tea 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.
- India is the leading producer as well as exporter of tea in the world
- India produces about 4% of the world’s coffee.
- Indian coffee is known in the world for its good quality.
- The Arabica variety initially brought from Yemen is produced in India.
- This variety is of great demand in the world.
- Its cultivation was initially introduced on the Baba Budan Hills and even today
- its cultivation is confined to the Nilgiri in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu
- Why there is excessive pressure on agricultural land?
Ans. Though the ‘right of inheritance’ has rendered landholding sizes uneconomical, the farmers
continue to take the maximum output from the limited land in the absence of alternative service of
- What is primitive subsistence farming?
(i) It is practised on small patches of land with the help of primitive tools.
(ii) This type of farming depends upon the monsoons and natural fertility of the soil.
(iii) It is also called ‘slash and burn’ agriculture.
- Describe the three cropping seasons of India.
Ans. Three major cropping season of India are:
1. Rabi season:
(a) Crops sown in winters and harvested in summers.
(b) Some of the important rabi crops are wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard.
(c) States growing rabi crops are: Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand
and Uttar Pradesh.
(2) Kharif season:
(a) Crops grown with the onset of monsoons and harvested in September or October.
(b) Important Kharif growing states are: Assam, West Bengal, coastal regions of Odisha, Andhra
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra.
(c) Crops grown during this season are rice, maize, jowar, bajra, tur, moong, urad, cotton,
jute, groundnut and soya bean.
(3) Zaid season:
(a) It falls in between the rabi and Kharif seasons.
(b) It’s a short season during the summer months.
(c) Major crops grown are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumbers, vegetables and fodder crops.
4. Which important millets are grown in India? Give a brief description of them.
Ans. Jowar, Bajra and Ragi are three important millets.
(i) Ragi: Ragi is very rich in iron, calcium, and other micronutrients and roughage. It is a crop
of dry regions and grows well on red, black, sandy, loamy and shallow black soils. Karnataka
is the largest producer followed by Tamil Nadu.
(ii) Jowar: It is a rain-fed crop mostly grown in the moist areas which hardly needs irrigation.
Maharashtra is the largest producer followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya
(iii) Bajra: It grows well on sandy soils and shallow black soil. Rajasthan is the largest producer of
bajra followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
5. What is the main characteristic of commercial farming?
Ans. The main characteristic of this type of farming is the production of a commercial crop. In this type
of farming, High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds, chemical fertilisers, insecticides, pesticides, etc.
are used to obtain higher productivity. The degree of commercialisation varies from one region to
6. Which oilseeds are grown in India and what are the uses?
Ans. India is the largest producer of oilseeds in the world. Different types of oilseeds are grown in
India. Main oilseeds produced in India are groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesame, soybean, castor
seeds, cotton seeds, linseed and sunflower. Most of these are edible and used as a cooking medium.
However, some of these are also used as a raw material in the production of soap, cosmetics and
7. Give the characteristics of a crop used both as food and fodder.
Ans. It is maize, which is a Kharif crop.
a. It requires a temperature between 21°C to 27°C and grows well in old alluvial soil.
b. Use of modern inputs such as HYV seeds, fertilisers and irrigation have contributed to the
increasing production of maize.
c. Major maize producing states are Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
8. . Give some main characteristics of the coffee crop.
Ans. Main characteristics of the coffee crop are:
- India produces about 4 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.
- Initially, its cultivation was introduced on the Baba Budan Hills in Karnataka and even today
its cultivation is confined to Nilgiri in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
9. How can you say that ‘India is the largest producer as well as the consumer of pulses in the
Ans. India is the largest producer as well as consumer of pulses in the world. Since pulses are the major
source of protein in a vegetarian diet, these are used by most of the Indian population. They need
less moisture and survive even in dry conditions. Being leguminous crop, all these crops except
arhar, help in restoring soil fertility. Therefore, these are mostly grown in rotation with other
Major pulses grown in India are—tuvar, urad, moong, masur, peas and gram.
10. What type of climate is required for the production of sugarcane? What are the by-products of sugarcane?
Ans. a. It is a tropical as well as a subtropical crop.
b. It grows well in a hot and humid climate. It requires a temperature between 21°C to 27°C and annual rainfall between 75 and 100 cm.
c. Irrigation is required in regions receiving low rainfall.
It is the main source of sugar, gur (jaggery), khandsari and molasses
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