Agriculture in India
India is an agriculturally important country.
Agriculture produces most of the food that we consume.
Agriculture also produces raw materials for various industries.
Did you know ?
India is second in the world in crop output, next
1.4 million square-kilometers of land in India is
Agriculture is India's biggest economic
sector and employs 52.1% of total work
Types Of Farming
Over years, cultivation methods in India have changed significantly depending upon
the characteristics of physical environment, technological know-how and socio-
Farming varies from subsistence to commercial farming.
At present, in different parts of India, the following farming systems are practised:
Did you know ?
Agriculture is the largest
livelihood provider in
Primitive Subsistence Farming
Intensive Subsistence Farming
Primitive Subsistence Farming
This type of farming is still practised in few places in India. It is practised on small
patches with the help of primitive tools like hoe, dao and digging sticks, and family or
community labour. This type of farming depends upon monsoon, natural fertility of
the soil and suitability of other environmental conditions.
It is also called “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 fertilisers or
modern inputs are not used.
North-Eastern states : Jhumming
Manipur : Pamlou
Chhattisgarh : Dipa
Andaman & Nicobar : Dipa
Madhya Pradesh : Bewar/ Dahiya
Andhra Pradesh : Podu/ Penda
Orissa : Koman/ Bhringa
Western Ghats : Kumari
Rajasthan : Valre/ Waltre
Himalayan Belt : Khil
Jharkhand : Kuruwa
In the World
Mexico & Central America : Milpa
Venezuela : Conuco
Brazil : Roca
Central Africa : Masole
Indonesia : Ladang
Vietnam : Ray
Intensive Subsistence Farming
This type of farming is practised in areas of high population pressure on land. It is labour-intensive
farming, where high doses of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used for obtaining
Though the right of inheritance leading to the division of land among successive generations has
rendered land-holding size uneconomical, the farmers continue to take maximum output from
the limited land in the absence of alternative source of livelihood. Thus, there is enormous
pressure on agricultural land.
Did you know ?
12% of world’s farm
land is in India.
In this type of farming, higher doses of modern inputs like
HYV seeds, chemical fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides
are used in order to obtain higher productivity. The
degree of commercialisation varies from region to region.
For example: Rice is a commercial crop on Punjab and Haryana, but in Orissa, it is a
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. are some important plantation crops grown in India.
Since the production is mainly for market, a well-developed network of transport and
communication connecting the plantation areas, processing industries and market is present.
Sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June.
Important crops are wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard.
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.
Wheat Mustard Peas
Sown with the onset of monsoon in different parts of the country and harvested in
September – October.
Important crops are paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar), moong, urad, cotton, jute,
groundnut and soyabean.
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.
Zaid season is a short season between the Rabi and Kharif seasons, during the summer
Crops produced are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops.
A variety if food and non-food crops are grown in different parts of the country depending upon the variations in soil,
climate and cultivation practises.
Major crops grown in India are:
Tea Food crops other than grains
Cotton Non-food crops
Did you know ?
India produces 51
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
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
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
Bajra grows well on sandy soils and shallow black soil. Rajasthan is the largest producer followed by Uttar Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
Ragi Jowar Bajra
Used as both food and fodder.
Kharif crop which requires temperature between 21-27 degree Celsius. And grows well in
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
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 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 variety of soils and needs manual labour from sowing to harvesting.
India is the second largest producer after Brazil.
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 welldrained 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.
India is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world.
India is s producer of tropical as well as temperate fruits.
• Fruits in great demand :
Mangoes of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Oranges of Nagpur and Cherapunjee.
Bananas of Kerala, Mizoram, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Lichi and Guava of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Pineapples of Meghalaya
Grapes of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Apples, Pears, Apricots and Walnuts of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
India produces 13% of the world’s vegetables.
It is an important producer of pea, cauliflower, onion, cabbage, tomato, brinjal and potato.
It is an equatorial crop, but under special conditions it is also grown
in tropical and subtropical areas.
Requires moist and humid climate with rainfall of more than 200
cm and temperature above 25 degree Celsius.
It is an important industrial raw material.
It is mainly grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andaman
Islands and Garo hills of Meghalaya.
India ranks fifth among the world’s natural rubber producers.
Cotton, jute, hemp and natural silk are the four major
fiber crops grown in India.
The first three are derived from the crops grown in the
soil, silk is obtained from cocoons of
silkworms fed on green leaves specially mulberry.
Rearing of silk worms for the production of silk fibre is
known as sericulture.
India is believed to be the original home of cotton plant.
One of the main raw material for cotton textile industry.
India is the 3rd largest producer of cotton in the world.
Cotton grows well in drier pars of black soil of Deccan plateau.
Requires high temperature, light rainfall, 210 frost-free days and bright
sunshine for growth.
Kharif crop, requires 8-10 months to mature.
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab,
Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh are major cotton producing states.
Technology and Industrial Reforms
Agriculture has been practised in India for thousands of years. Sustained
uses of land without compatible techno-institutional changes have hindered
the pace of agricultural development.
Why has India not improved in technical and institutional reforms
in agriculture ?
In spite of development of sources of irrigation most of the farmers in
large parts of the country, still depend upon monsoon and natural fertility in
order to carry on their agriculture.
Agriculture needs serious technical and institutional reforms.
Collectivisation, consolidation of holdings, cooperation and abolition of
zamindari etc. were given priority to bring reforms in country after
LAND FOCUS WAS THE MAIN FOCUS OF THE FIRST FIVE YEAR PLAN.
RIGHT OF INHERITANCE HAD LEAD TO FRAGMENTATION OF LAND HOLDINGS.
LAWS OF LAND REFORMS WERE ENACTED BUT LAWS OF IMPLEMENTATION WERE LACKING.
WHAT WERE THE STEPS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENT IN AGRICULTURAL REFORMS?
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA EMBARKED UPON INTRODUCING AGRICULTURE REFORMS TO IMPROVE
INDIAN AGRICULTURE IN THE 1960S AND 1970S.
GREEN REVOLUTION BASED ON USE OF PACKAGE TECHNOLOGY AND WHITE REVOLUTION(OPERATION
FLOOD) WERE SOME OF THE STRATEGIES INITIATED TO IMPROVE INDIAN AGRICULTURE.
BUT THIS LED TO THE CONCENTRATION OF DEVELOPMENT IN FEW SELECTED AREAS.
THEREFORE, IN THE 1980S AND 1990S, A COMPREHENSIVE LAND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM WAS
INITIATED, WHICH INCLUDED BOTH INSTITUTIONAL AND TECHNICAL REFORMS.
PROVISIONS FOR CROP INSURANCE AGAINST CALAMITIES, ESTABLISHMENT OF GRAMEEN BANKS,
COOPERATIVE SOCIETIES AND BANK FOR PROVIDING LOAN FACILITIES TO HE FARMERS AT LOWER RATES OF
INTEREST WERE SOME
OTHER STEPS TAKEN :
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.
MOREOVER, SPECIAL WEATHER BULLETINS AND AGRICULTURE
PROGRAMMES FOR FARMERS WERE INTRODUCED ON THE RADIO AND
THE GOVERNMENT ALSO ANNOUNCES MINIMUM SUPPORT PRICE,
REMUNERATIVE AND PROCUREMENT PRICES FOR IMPORTANT CROP TO CHECK
THE EXPLOITATION OF FARMERS BY SPECULATORS AND MIDDLEMAN
Contribution of agriculture to the national
economy, employment and output
Agriculture has been the backbone of Indian economy though its share in
the gross domestic product [GDP] has registered a declining trend from
1951 onwards; in 2010-2011 about 52% of the total work force was
employed by the farm sector.
Declining the share of agriculture in the GDP is the matter of serious
concern because any decline and stagnation in agriculture will lead to a
decline in a other spheres of economy having wider implications for society .
Establishment of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), agricultural
universities, veterinary services and animal breeding centres, horticulture
development, research and development in the field of meteorology and
weather forecast etc. were given priority for improving Indian agriculture.
India: Growth of GDP and Major Sectors
Sector Tenth Five Year
11th Five Year
Agriculture 1.7 3.2 4.0 4.2
Industries 8.3 7.4 9.6 10.9
Services 9.0 10.0 10.0 10.0
GDP 7.2 8.2 9.0 9.5
Though GDP rate is increasing over the years, it is not generating sufficient
employment opportunities in the country.
Growth in agriculture id decelerating.
Indian farmers are facing a big challenge from international competition
and our government is going ahead with reduction in the public investment in
Subsidy on fertilisers is decreased leading to increase in the cost of
Reduction in import duties on agricultural products have proved harmful
to agriculture in the country.
Farmers are withdrawing their investment from agriculture causing a
downfall in the employment in agriculture.
What is food security system ?
In order to ensure availability of food to all sections of society, our government
carefully designed a national food security system.
It consists of two components: buffer stock and public distribution system (PDS).
PDS is a program which provides food grains and other essential commodities at
subsidized prices in rural and urban areas.
The primary objective of this policy is to ensure food grains to common people at
The policy focuses on growth in agriculture production and on fixing the support price
procurement of wheat and rice, to maintain the stock.
Food Corporation of India (FCI) procures and stocks food grains, whereas distribution is
ensured by PDS.
How are food grains procured? What are the disadvantages and
advantages of this
FCI procures food grains from the farmers at the Minimum Support Price (MSP).
The government used to provide subsidies on agricultural inputs like fertilisers,
But these have now reached sustainable levels and have also led to large scale
inefficiencies in the use of these scarce inputs.
Excessive use of water and fertilisers have led to water logging, salinity and
micronutrients in the soil.
The high MSP subsidies in input and committed FCI purchases have distorted
Wheat and paddy crops grown in Punjab and Haryana are for the MSP they get,
which has created serious imbalance in inter-crop parities.
How are consumers divided? What are its drawbacks/disadvantages?
Consumers re divided into: below poverty line(BPL) and above poverty line(APL).
However this categorisation is not perfect as a number of deserving poor are
excluded from BPL category and some of the so called APL slip back to BPL, because
of the failure of one crop and it is administratively difficult to accommodate such
How can we become self sufficient ?
Self sufficiency can be attained if government provides proper agricultural
infrastructure, credit linkage and also encourages the use of latest techniques.
Instead of concentrating only on wheat or rice, the food crop with a better
growth potential in that particular area mist be encouraged.
Creation of necessary infrastructure like irrigation facilities, availability of
electricity etc. may also attract private investments in agriculture.
The focus on increasing food grain production which should be on a sustainable
basis and also free trade in grains will create massive employment and reduce
poverty in rural areas.
What is the future of India’s food security?
Shift from cultivation of food crops to cultivation of fruits, vegetables, oil-seeds
and industrial crops. This has led to reduction of net sown area under cereals and
Competition for land between non-agricultural uses and agriculture has reduced
net sown area.
Productivity of land is declining due to fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides.
Scarcity of water has led to reduction of area under irrigation whereas
inefficient water management has led to water logging and salinity
Why has food grains production remained
stagnant or fallen for five consecutive years? (
From the above table)
The reasons are:
Reduced water storage in aquifers due to
Inadequate storage and marketing facilities. Farmers
have to pay high prices for HYV seeds, fertilisers etc. but
lack bargaining power to fix prices in their favour.
Higher the supply, lower is the demand. This cause
Therefore, there can be no food security without
Impact of Globalisation on Agriculture
In the 19th century when European traders came to India, Indian spices were exported to
different countries of the world and farmers were encouraged to grow these crops. Even today it
is one of the important export items from India.
During the British period cotton belts of India attracted the British and eventually cotton was
exported to Britain as a raw material for their textile industries. The Champaran movement
started in 1917 in Bihar because the farmers of that region were forced to grow Indigo for British
Under globalization, particularly after 1990, Indian farmers have been exposed to new challenges.
Despite India being an important producer of rice, cotton, rubber, tea, coffee, jute and spices,
our agricultural products are not able to compete with developed countries due to their highly
subsidized agriculture in those countries.
Impact of Globalisation on Agriculture
To make agriculture successful and profitable, proper thrust should be given to the
improvement of the condition of marginal and small farmers. . The green
revolution promised much. But it is being alleged that it has caused land
degradation. The keyword today is “gene revolution” which includes genetic
In fact organic farming is much in vogue today because it is practiced without
factory made chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. Hence, it does not affect
environment in a negative manner.
Indian farmers have a bleak future if they continue growing food grains on the
holdings that grow smaller and smaller as the population rises. Indian farmers
should diversify their cropping pattern from cereals to high-value crops. This will
increase incomes and reduce environmental degradation simultaneously
India’s diverse climate can be harnessed to grow a wide range of high value crops.