Rice (Oryza sativa)
Rice is the staple food crop of India. India has 29 percent of world’s total area under rice. It contributes one-third of the world’s rice produce and is only next to China. It occupies 23 percent of our total cropped area.
- Being a tropical plant, rice thrives well in hot and humid climate and, therefore, is essentially a kharif crop in India. It flourishes in areas of heavy and well distributed rainfall of over 100 cm or with extensive irrigation and with a temperature of 25°C or above.
- It is widely cultivated in almost all states of India except Rajasthan. It is the chief crop of great plains, terraced valleys of low Himalayas (from Kashmir to Assam) and in irrigated areas elsewhere.
- The largest producer of rice is West Bengal followed by Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka.
- Irrigation has enabled even Punjab and Haryana, known for their arid climate, to grow quality rice.
- Cultivation of rice requires hard labour because large-scale mechanisation in ploughing and transplantation is not possible as the fields are flooded for most of the time.
- Some of the high yielding varieties of rice are IR-5, IR-8, IR-20, IR-22, Sabarmati, Bala, Jamuna, Karuna, Kanchi, Krishna, Cauvery, Hansa, Padma etc.
In respect of total cropped area and production, wheat is the second most important crop of the country after rice. It occupies 13% of the gross cropped area. Wheat is a rabi or winter crop. It grows best in cool, moist climate and ripens in a warm dry climate. It is grown in areas whose annual rainfall is between 50-75 cm and where some moisture or irrigation water is available in its winter growing season. The crop is therefore avoided in too warm winters of south and generally too humid conditions of eastern parts of India.
Wheat is mainly a crop or north-western India including the Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, particularly the Ganga-Yamuna Doab and the Gomati-Ganga Doab, and some parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, 72 percent of the total wheat production of the country comes from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana alone. Timely winter rains from western disturbances as observed in north-western India are conducive for higher yields. The production of wheat is being increased under high yielding variety program and by increasing areas under irrigation and efficient use of fertilisers. Some of the important high yielding varieties of wheat are Lerma Rajo 64A, Sonalika, Kalyan Sona, Safed Lerma, Sharbati Sonora, Sonora 64, etc.
- Coarse cereals, also called millets, include jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millets), ragi (finger millets), maize and barley. About 36 million hectares are devoted to the cultivation of coarse grains.
- The production was almost stagnant during 1970s. It attained a peak level of 33.6 million tonnes in 1983-84 and then declined again. This was mainly because of decrease in the cropped area in preference to high value crops over these cereals.
- Coarse grains are kharif crops which are mainly rainfed requiring almost no irrigation. They are grown in less rainy areas. Ragi requires relatively more rain and is commonly grown in Karnataka and Tamilnadu, jowar is grown in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and bajra in drier parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and south-west Uttar Pradesh.
Millets, which have protein content higher than both wheat and rice, are important items of consumption of the poor in India.
- Since most of the cultivated land under coarse cereals is rained, there is a need for stabilising the level of production of coarse cereals through conservation of soil moisture, adoption of dry farming techniques and watershed management.
- Pulses are the major source of protein for the vegetarian population in India.
- India is the largest producer as well as the consumer of pulses.
- Pulses production in the country has been stagnating around 8-14 million tonnes for the last 40 years. In 1950-51 the land under pulses was nearly 19 million hectares, which was 15 percent of the total cropped area of the country. In 1984-85 the land under pulses was 22.8 million hectares, which was 13 percent of the total cropped area.
- This clearly indicates that of the total cropped area the percentage of land under pulses has decreased substantially. In 1995-96 the land under pulses has increased to 23.9 million hectares. The production of pulses which crossed 14 million tonnes mark in 1994-95, declined to 13.19 million tonnes in 1995-96.
- The production of pulses during 2003-04 was estimated to be much at 14.89 million tonnes as against 11.14 million tonnes in 2002-03. The yield per hectare is around 500-600 kgs. Per capita availability of pulses has come down from 69 gm in 1961 to about 34 gm in 1996.
- Pulses are grown all over the country except in areas of heavy rainfall. These are grown mainly under rainfed conditions.
- Being leguminous plants, help in restoring the fertility of the soil and are, therefore, grown in rotation with other crops.
- The practice of intercropping and mixed cropping is also more prevalent in pulses, which are grown as secondary crops.
- The major pulses growing states are Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa, Bihar, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and West Bengal.
- Pulses are grown both in kharif and rabi season. Arhar moong (green gram), black gram urad, moth, etc are kharif crops, whereas channa, mater (peas), masoor (lentil) etc. are rabi crops.
- Arhar is chiefly grown in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamilnadu and Channa is mainly grown in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
- In order to increase the production of pulses, programmes like National Pulses Development project (NPDP) and Special Foodgrains Production Programme (SFPP) have been launched. Pulses have also been brought under the purview of technology mission.
Crop Science in India
Under Crop Improvement and Management, more than 20 varieties and two hybrids (HRI 120 : resistant to white backed planthopper and gall midge and Pusa RH10 : moderately resistant to brown planthopper and rice tungro virus) of rice; four varieties (HUW 533, GW 322, HD 2781 and HW 2045) of wheat; five hybrids/composites (Hydrid Shaktiman 1, JH 3459, Seed Tech 2324, Hybrid Shaktiman 2 and IC 9001) of maize; two direct introductions (Alfa 93 and BCU 73) of barley; one hybrid (CSH 19R) of sorghum; three hybrids (RHB 21I, PB 112 and Nandi 35) and one composite variety (Pusa Composite 383) of pearl millet; nine varieties (Chilka, GPU 45 and GPU 26) of finger millet, Meera of foxtail millet, DHPM of proso millet, Kolab and Payur 2 of little millet, Jawahar Kodo 48 of Kodo millet and VL Madira 181 of barnyard millet) of small mallets; one variety (Bundel Berseem : immune to dowry mildew and resistant to major insect-pests) at Central and one multicut, high protein variety (COFS 29 : resistant to major diseases and insect-posts) of forage sorghum at State level; one early maturing variety (VG 9521) of groundnut; one low erucic acid variety (Teri (OE) RO 3) of gobhi sarson, one variety (JTC1) of Krana rai, three varieties (MAUS 61, l. sb1 and Palam Soya) of soyabean; two varieties (shekhar: resistant to powdery mildew, rust and wilt and NL 97: moderately resistant to powdery mildew, wilt and linseed bud fly) of linseed; one variety (JTS8) of seasame; one early-maturing variety (Gujarat Niger) of niger; one pedigree selection (RSG 888: resistant to dry root rot and a bold-seeded Kabuli variety (HK 93-134) of gram; two varieties (Laxmi; resistant to sterility mosaic and tolerant to wilt, and AKT 9911: tolerant to fusariat wilt) of pigeo-nepa; one variety (ML 818: resistant to CErcospora yellow mosic virus and cacterial leaf spots of mung-bean; one variety (KU 300: resistant to yellow mosaic virus) of urdbean; one selection (11 PR 96-4: resistant to common bean mosaic virus and leaf crinkle ) of rajmah; one pedigree selection (1PF 27: resistant to powdery mildew and tolerant to rust) of fieldpea; three lines (RLS 1186, IPLY 99-7 and IPLY 99-9: resistant to powdery mildew) of lathyrus; one variety (RMO 435: tolerant to yellow mosaic virus) of mothbean and one variety (RGC 1017) of clusterbean; two varieties (Pratima and CNH 120 MB and one intra hirsutum hybrid (Bunny) of cotton; three varieties (Co 89029: moderately resistant to red rot, CoSe 95422: moderately resistant to red rot and smut, and CoSe 92493: moderately resistant to red rot) of sugarcane; one fine quality fibre variety (JRO 128) of tossa jute; and three varieties (Dharla, Abirami and Lichchivi) of Chewing tobacco and one variety (Cy 79 of flue-cured tobacco were released/identified for variety agro-climatic zones of the country.
Organic farming is a system in which the maintenance of soil fertility and the control of pests and diseases are achieved through the enhancement of biological processes and ecological interaction. In organic farming, oilcakes and oilmeals play a key role as natural fertilisers. Rapeseed and mustard, neem, castor, mahua, karanja and linseed cakes are commonly used as organic nitrogenous fertilisers. In tune with the latest trend of organic farming, the Government launched a National Programme for Organic Production and Farming in 2000.
Advantages: The advantages of organic farming are many, but the following deserve mention :
1. Organic fertilisers provide readily available plant nutrient in a concentrated form and generally they do not have any significant effect on the physical properties
of soil; and
2. Organic manures are low in nutrients but play a vital role in the improvement of physical, physicochemical and biological soil properties.
Methods and practices
Organic farming is done without using any chemical to help plants grow. Instead of fertilisers, a compost in the form of a mixture of leaves, manure and plant waste is used. For repelling pests, insecticide made from herbs and trees are used. For example, neem based pesticides have been found to be effective and are becoming popular in India.
In organic farming system, crop rotation has a pivotal role. Different crops obtain nutrients from different depths of soil and as such soil nutrients are utilised in a balanced way. Also, recycling of crop residue may be done by burying the farm waste (leaves, stem etc. left after the harvesting) in the field itself. Organic farming differs from conventional farming mainly in crop rotations, fertiliser’s applications and pest control methods.