• India is an agriculturally important country as two-thirds of its population is engaged in agricultural activities.
Types of Farming
• There are various types of farming systems in different parts of India are:
→ Primitive Subsistence Farming: It is a ‘slash and burn’ agriculture. It is done with the help of primitive tools like hoe, dao and digging sticks, and family/community labour. The farming depends upon monsoon, natural fertility of the soil and suitability of other environmental conditions to the crops grown.
Fig: Primitive Subsistence Farming
→ Intensive Subsistence Farming: This type of farming is labour-intensive farming, where high doses of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used for obtaining higher production.This method is commonly done where less land holding is available.
Fig: Intensive Subsistence Farming
→ Commercial Farming: This type of farming is done using higher doses of modern inputs, e.g. high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, chemical fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides in order to obtain higher productivity.
• Plantation is also a type of commercial farming.
→ In this type of farming, a single crop is grown on a large area.
Fig: Commercial Farming
• India has three cropping seasons
→ Rabi - Rabi crops are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June. Important rabi crops are wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard.
Fig: Rabi Crop
→ 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.
Fig: Kharif Crop
→ Zaid - In between the rabi and the kharif seasons, there is a short season during the summer months known as the Zaid season. Important crops grown are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops.
( A Zaid Crop)
• Major crops grown in India are rice, wheat, millets, pulses, tea, coffee, sugarcane, oil seeds, cotton and jute, etc.
→ Staple food crop
→ 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.
→ It is grown in the plains of north and north-eastern India, coastal areas and the deltaic regions.
→ 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 with 50 to 75 cm of annual rainfall and a bright sunshine at the time of ripening.
→ Wheat growing regions are the Ganga-Satluj plains in the north- west and black soil region of the Deccan.
→ Jowar, bajra and ragi are the important millets grown in India.
→ These have very high nutritional value.
Fig: A Pearl Millet ( Bajra)
→ India is the largest producer as well as the consumer of pulses in the world.
→ Major source of protein in a vegetarian diet.
→ These need less moisture and survive even in dry conditions.
→ Major producing states in India are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Food Crops other than Grains
→ It is a tropical as well as a subtropical crop.
→ It grows well in hot and humid climate with a temperature of 21°C to 27°C and an annual rainfall between 75 cm. and 100 cm.
→ Major producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.
• Oil Seeds:
→ The oil seeds covers approximately 12 percent of the total cropped area of the country.
→ These are used as cooking mediums as well as used as raw material in the production of soap, cosmetics and ointments.
Fig: Different Oil seeds• Tea:
→ Tea cultivation is an example of plantation agriculture.
→ It is an important beverage crop introduced in India initially by the British.
→ It requires warm and moist frost-free climate with frequent showers all through the year.
→ Major producing states are Assam, hills of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
→ Indian coffee is known in the world for its good quality.
→ Its cultivation is confined to the Nilgiri in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
• Horticulture Crops:
→ India is a producer of tropical as well as temperate fruits.
→ India produces about 13 percent of the world’s vegetables.
Fig: Horticulture Crops
→ It 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.
Fig: Natural Rubber (Latex)
• Fibre Crops:
→ Cotton, jute, hemp and natural silk are the four major fibre crops grown in India.
→ Rearing of silk worms for the production of silk fibre is known as sericulture.
Fig: Cotton ( A Fibre Crop)
→ It is a kharif crop grows well in drier parts of the black cotton soil of the Deccan plateau.
→ It requires high temperature, light rainfall or irrigation, 210 frost-free days and bright sun-shine for its growth.
→ Major producing states are – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Fig: Cotton Cultivation
→ It grows well on well-drained fertile soils in the flood plains where soils are renewed every year.
→ Major jute-producing states West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Meghalaya.
→ It is used in making gunny bags, mats, ropes, yarn, carpets and other artefacts.
Fig: A Jute Crop
Technological and Institutional Reforms
• More than 60 percent of India's population depends on agriculture.
• After independence, major institutional reforms such as Collectivisation, consolidation of holdings, cooperation and abolition of zamindari, etc. were given priority.
• In 1960s and 1970s, technical reforms such as Green Revolution and White Revolution also introduced to improved the condition of agriculture.
• In 1980s and 1990s, various provisions for crop insurance, establishment of Grameen banks, cooperative societies and banks for providing loan facilities to the farmers at lower rates of interest.
• 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.
• Special weather bulletins and agricultural programmes for farmers were introduced on the radio and television.
• Minimum support price, remunerative and procurement prices for important crops to check the exploitation of farmers by speculators and middlemen.
Contribution of agriculture to the national economy, employment and output
• In 2010-11 about 52 percent of the total workforce of India was employed by the farm sector.
• India's GDP growth rate is increasing over the years but it is not generating sufficient employment opportunities in the country.
• The government designed national food security system to ensure the food security to every citizen:
→ It consists of two components
(a) buffer stock and
(b) public distribution system (PDS)
• Food Corporation of India (FCI) is responsible for procuring and stocking foodgrains, whereas distribution is ensured by public distribution system (PDS).
• PDS is a programme which provides food grains and other essential commodities at subsidised prices in rural and urban areas.
• The primary objective of national food security are:
→ Ensure availability of foodgrains to the common people at an affordable price.
→ The poor should have access to food.
→ Growth in agriculture production
→ Fixing the support price for procurement of wheat and rice, to maintain their stocks.
Impact of Globalisation on Agriculture
• Globalisation is present at the time of colonisation.
→ During the British period, cotton was exported to Britain as a raw material for their textile industries.
• After 1990, the farmers in India have been exposed to new challenges under globalisation.
→ The agricultural products of India are not able to compete with the developed countries because of the highly subsidised agriculture in those countries.
• Genetic engineering is revolutionising the agricultural production now a days.
• Organic farming is also in fashion these days because it is practised without factory made chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides. Hence, it does not affect environment in a negative manner.
• Indian farmers should diversify their cropping pattern from cereals to high-value crops which will increase incomes and reduce environmental degradation simultaneously.