Agriculture in India

The primary basis of livelihood in villages is farming. About 50 to 70 per cent of the Indian population is engaged in the agriculture sector. Today, the entire population is dependent on agriculture. Globally, India holds the second position in agricultural production and ranks at eighth position in the world’s exports. It is the second-largest in fruit production.

In this chapter, let us learn about the different types of farming, significant crops produced and the various factors affecting agriculture.

In India, the soil, climatic and geographic conditions are not the same at all places. They usually vary. In some regions, we can find plain fields, while in other areas high mountains are seen. Similarly, some places have heavy rainfall, while there is no rain in other places.

Based on these varied conditions, there are different types of farming.

Types of Farming

The major types of farming practised in India are:

Sole Cropping

  • It is also called single cropping.
  • In this type of farming, only a single crop is sown.
  • The second crop is sown only after harvesting the first crop.
  • Cotton, potatoes, rice, sugarcane, and wheat are crops grown in single cropping.

Multiple Cropping

  • It is also called mixed cropping.
  • In mixed cropping, more than one crop is planted.
  • The time of harvesting may be different for both crops.
  • In this method, broadcasting sowing methods are used for sowing crops in a row.
  • Wheat and grams or wheat and barley are examples of crops grown in mixed cropping.

Inter Cropping

  • It is a type of mixed cropping.
  • In this cropping method, more than one crop is grown on the same field at the same time in a definite row pattern.
  • In this cropping method, seeds are sown in rows so that after one row of the main crop, three rows of intercrops can be grown.
  • Wheat and barley, cotton, sesame and fenugreek, rice and maize, wheat and pea, wheat and mustard, millets and urad are a few examples of crops grown in the intercropping method.

Subsistence Farming

  • The type of farming that is done for subsistence is called subsistence farming.
  • Farmers mainly do this type of farming for the requirements of their family members, with the help of standard tools.
  • Subsistence farming is found primarily in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and other mountainous areas.

Terraced Farming

  • As there are very few plain lands on mountains, terraced farming is practised on slopes.
  • This type of farming is mainly found in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and India’s northeastern regions.
  • Terraced farming helps prevent soil erosion and retention of water in the farms.

Intensive Farming

  • This type of farming is similar to multi-crop farming.
  • In intensive farming, maximum production is obtained from a single farm by sowing crops one after the other, throughout the year.

For example- potatoes, onions, ladyfingers, and maize.

  • Here, potatoes are sown in October. Onions are planted in the alleys in between the potatoes.
  • After harvesting the potatoes, ladyfingers are sown in the empty space.
  • By the time ladyfingers are produced, maize crops are grown.
  • This way, four crops are produced on the same farm throughout the year.

Other examples of crops produced through intensive farming are:

  • Maize, potatoes, and wheat.
  • Maize, potatoes, wheat, and mung beans.
  • Cauliflower, radish, cabbage, brinjal and gourd.

Commercial Farming

  • Commercial farming is used to produce crops, which can be used as a source of raw materials in different industries.
  • Cotton, sugarcane, sunflower and jute are examples of commercial farming crops.

Organic Farming

  • Organic farming is the practice of farming without using any pesticides, inorganic chemical fertilisers, and other weed destroying chemicals.
  • Organic farming is eco-friendly and helps to reduce soil infertility and soil erosion issues.
  • The use of organic farming is increasing as farmers are aware of the harmful and toxic effects of fertilisers and other chemicals used.
  • The major organic composts are dung, compost, earthworm manure, remains of plants, animals and other organic matter.

Types of Crops

In India, crops are divided into three major types, mainly based on the weather and the temperature.

The three types of crops are:

  • Rabi

Cabbage, cauliflower, flaxseeds, grams, lentils, millets, peas, potatoes and wheat are a few rabi crops.

  • Kharif

Jowar, horse beans, maize, millets, peanuts, rice, and string beans are a few kharif crops.

  • Zaid

Cucumber, cole seeds, melons, mung beans, sunflower, and watermelon are a few zaid crops.

Factors Affecting Agriculture

There are certain natural factors, which are associated with crop yield. These factors include drought, rain, hail, frost, fog, dust storms, etc.

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