Agriculture in India: Types of Farming and Cropping Pattern- I
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Agriculture in India: Types of Farming and Cropping Pattern Part-I
Geography for Civil Services
India is an agriculturally important country. Two-thirds of its population is engaged in agricultural activities. Agriculture is a primary activity, which produces most of the food that we consume. Besides food grains, it also produces raw materials for various industries. Let's get start...
Agriculture: An Introduction
Agriculture is the science and art of cultivation on the soil, raising crops, and rearing livestock. It is also called farming.
- It includes growing crops, fruits, vegetables, flowers, and rearing of livestock.
- The important inputs needed are seeds, fertilizers, machinery and labour, ploughing, sowing, irrigation, weeding, and harvesting.
Importance of agriculture in India:
- India is an agriculturally important country.
- Two-thirds of its population is engaged in agricultural activities.
- Agriculture is a primary activity, which produces most of the food that we consume.
- Besides food grains, agriculture also produces raw materials for various industries.
Types of farming:
i. Primitive Subsistence Farming
ii. Intensive Subsistence Farming
2. Commercial Farming
i. Primitive Subsistence Farming:
- Practiced on small patches of land with the help of primitive tools like hoe, digging sticks, and family/ community labour.
- Depends upon monsoon, natural fertility of the soil, and suitability of other environmental conditions.
- It is a ‘slash and burn’ agriculture.
- A patch of land is cleared to produce cereals and other food crops to sustain one’s family.
- once the fertility decreases, a fresh patch of land is cleared for cultivation allowing nature to replenish the fertility of the soil.
- Low land productivity as no use of fertilizers or other modern inputs.
- It is known by different names in different parts of the country.
- Jhumming-northeastern states (Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland)
- Pamlou-- Manipur
- Dipa --Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands.
- Bewar/Dahiya-- Madhya Pradesh,
- Podu/Penda--Andhra Pradesh,
- Pama Dabi/Koman/Bringa-- Odisha
- Kumari--Western Ghats
- Valre/Waltre--South-eastern Rajasthan,
- Khil--Himalayan belt
- Kuruwa-- Jharkhand
In other areas of the world Slash and burn agriculture is known as:
- Milpa-- Mexico and Central America
- Conuco-- Venezuela,
- Masole--Central Africa,
ii. Intensive Subsistence Farming:
- Practiced in areas of high population pressure on land.
- It is labor-intensive farming, where high doses of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used for obtaining higher production.
- prevalent in the thickly populated areas of the monsoon regions of the south, southeast, and east Asia.
2. Commercial Farming:
- The main feature is the use of higher doses of modern inputs, like high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides in order to obtain higher productivity.
- Crops are grown and animals are reared for sale.
- The area cultivated and the amount of capital used is large.
- The Commercial nature of crops varies from one region to another. (Rice is a commercial crop in Haryana and Punjab, but a subsistence crop in Odisha)
- Commercial farming includes commercial grain farming, mixed farming, and plantation agriculture.
i. Commercial grain farming :
- Crops are grown for commercial purposes. (Wheat and maize)
- The main areas where commercial grain farming is practiced are temperate grasslands of North America, Europe, and Asia.
ii. Mixed farming:
- The land is used for growing food and fodder crops and rearing livestock together.
- It is practiced in Europe, the eastern USA, Argentina, southeast Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.
iii. Plantation Agriculture:
- A single crop of tea, coffee, sugarcane, cashew, rubber, banana, or cotton 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.
- The produce may be processed on the farm itself or in nearby factories.
- The development of a transport network is thus essential for such farming.
- Major plantations are found in the tropical regions of the world.
- Examples: Rubber in Malaysia, coffee in Brazil, tea, coffee, rubber, sugarcane, banana, etc in India and Sri Lanka.
Cropping seasons in India:
- There are three distinct crop seasons -Rabi, Kharif, and zaid in the northern and interior parts of the country
- But this distinction in the cropping season does not exist in southern parts of the country.
- Reason: High temp. is enough to grow tropical crops during any period in the year provided the soil moisture is available.
- Therefore, in this region same crops can be grown thrice in an agricultural year provided there is sufficient soil moisture.
1. Rabi season:
- Sowing time: from October to December
- Harvesting time: from April to June.
- Crops are grown: wheat, barley, peas, gram, and mustard.
- Producing states: Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh.
- Availability of precipitation during winter months (western temperate cyclones)
- green revolution in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Rajasthan.
2. Kharif Crop:
- Sowing time: July (with the onset of monsoon)
- Harvesting time: September-October.
- Crops are grown: paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur, moong, urad, cotton, jute, groundnut and soyabean.
- Producing states: rice-growing regions (Assam, West Bengal, coastal Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra, along with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar).
- In Assam, West Bengal and Odisha,three crops of paddy (Aus, Aman and Boro) are grown in a year.
3. Zaid Crop:
- Sowing and harvesting time: In between the rabi and the Kharif seasons
- Crops are grown: watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables, and fodder crops.
i. Crop Classification based on the type of produce:
- Food Crops: Rice, wheat, maize, millets pulses, cereals
- Cash Crops: Cotton, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, oilseeds, groundnut, linseed, sesamum, castor seed, rapeseed, mustard, etc.
- Plantation Crops: Tea, coffee, coconut, areca nut, rubber, and spices (cardamom, chilies, ginger, turmeric)
- Horticulture Vegetables: Onion, tomato, etc; and fruits — Apple, Orange, Mango, banana, citrus fruits, etc.
ii. Crop Classification based on climate:
- Tropical climate crop- Crops grow well in warm & hot climates E.g. Rice, sugarcane, Jowar, etc.
- Temperate Climate crop- Crops grow well in cool climate E.g. Wheat, Oats, Gram, Potato, Apple, etc.
iii. Classification Based on the growing season
- Kharif/Rainy/Monsoon crops: Cotton, Rice, Jowar, Bajra, etc.
- Rabi/winter/cold seasons crops: Wheat, gram, sunflower, etc.
- Summer/Zaid crops: Groundnuts, Watermelon, Pumpkins, Gourds, etc.
iv. Classification based on the life of crops/duration of crops:
- Seasonal crops: A crop completes its life cycle in one season i.e. 3-4 months (rice, Jowar, wheat)
- Two seasonal crops: Crops complete its life cycle in two seasons i.e.6-8 months (Cotton, turmeric, ginger)
- Annual crops: Crops require one full year to complete its life cycle(sugarcane)
- Biennial crops: Crops requires two years to complete its life cycle (Banana, Papaya)
- Perennial crops: crops live for several years. (Fruit crops, mango, guava )
- Classification based on water availability:
- Rainfed: Cultivation of crops mainly based on the availability of rainwater. (Jowar, Bajra, Moong )
- Irrigated crops: Crops cultivated with the help of irrigation water. (Chili, sugarcane, Banana, papaya).