Primary activity, which produces most of the food that we
consume. The word “agriculture” is derived from the Latin
words ager—meaning field—and cultura—meaning to grow:
Growing crops on the field!
An art of cultivation of soil, raising crops & rearing poultry and
India is an agriculturally important country.
Largest sector producing around 28 % of the GDP,
Largest employer providing more than 60 % of the jobs
Besides food, it produces raw material for industries
Some agricultural products like tea, coffee, spices, etc. are also
• What is agriculture?
• Why is agriculture considered important
• Name three crops that serves as raw
material for industries?
Agriculture over the years…
An age-old economic activity
Methods have changed
the physical environment: Topography of soil &
technological know-how and
Humans have been hunter-gatherers, with a more
nomadic lifestyle, moving in tune with the changing
seasons, and cattle migration patterns
Today, we use technologies, but it hasn’t entirely
abandoned early advancements.
• How have the practices of sourcing food
changed among humans?
• Name the factors influencing the
changes in agriculture?
Primitive Subsistence Farming
It involves clearing a plot of land by felling trees, burning the felled
trees, mixing the ashes with soil, and then growing crops
After the soil loses its fertility, the land is abandoned and the
cultivator moves on to a new plot.
Practised on small patches of land with the help of primitive tools
like hoe, dao and digging sticks, and family/ community labour.
Depends upon monsoon, soil’s natural fertility and other
Crops like maize, yam, potatoes and cassava are grown on the
Aka., slash-and-burn cultivation
Practised in few pockets
of North East
Advantages & Disadvantages of Jhum
Known by different names in different parts of the country—Jhum
cultivation in NE
Eliminate weeds, insects and other germs affecting the soil
Allows the Nature to replenish, soil fertility by natural processes
Allows for farming in areas with dense vegetation, low soil
nutrients content, uncontrollable pests
Trees in the forests are cut
When soil fertility decreases, farmers shift & clear a fresh patch
Productivity is low
Decreases soil infertility and leads to soil erosion
Shifting Agriculture Across the Globe
‘Milpa’ in Mexico and Central America,
‘Conuco’ in Venzuela
‘Roca’ in Brazil
‘Masole’ in Central Africa
‘Ladang’ in Indonesia
‘Ray’ in Vietnam
‘Bewar’ or ‘Dahiya’ in Madhya Pradesh,
‘Podu’ or ‘Penda’ in Andhra Pradesh,
‘Pama Dabi’/ ‘Koman’/ Bringa’ in Orissa,
‘Kumari’ in Western Ghats
‘Valre’/ ‘Waltre’ in SE Rajasthan
‘Khil’ in the Himalayan belt
‘Kuruwa’ in Jharkhand, and
‘Jhumming’ in the NE & Andaman
• What is Primitive Subsistence Farming?
• What are the steps involved in Primitive Subsistence
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of
• Where is Subsistence Farming practiced in India?
• What are the other names of Subsistence Farming?
Rinjha lived with her family in a small village at the
outskirts of Diphu in Assam. She enjoys watching
her family members clearing, slashing and
burning a patch of land for cultivation. She often
helps them in irrigating the fields with water
running through a bamboo canal from the nearby
spring. She loves the surroundings and wants to
stay here as long as she can, but this little girl has
no idea about the declining fertility of the soil and
her family’s search for fresh a patch of land in the
Intensive Subsistence Agriculture
Farming practised in places of high population pressure
It is labour-intensive farming
High doses of biochemical inputs & irrigation are used
Can you name some of the states of India where such
farming is practised?
‘Right of inheritance’ leading to the division of land
among successive generations has left land-holding size
Farmers continue to take maximum output from the
limited land in the absence of alternative source of
There is enormous pressure on agricultural land
Food Crops are generally grown through this method
• What is Intensive Subsistence Farming?
• Where is it practiced in India?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of
Intensive Subsistence Farming?
Use of higher doses of modern inputs in
order to obtain higher productivity
Chemical Fertilizers, Insecticides & Pesticides
Degree of commercialisation of agriculture
varies from one region to another
Paddy is a commercial crop in Haryana and Punjab
In Orissa, it is a subsistence crop!
• What are the characteristics of commercial Farming?
• Where is it practiced in India?
• How does it vary among places within the country?
A single crop is grown on a large area
Has an interface of agriculture and industry
Cover large tracts of land, using capital intensive inputs, with the
help of migrant labourers
Produce is used as raw material in respective industries
Tea, coffee, rubber, sugarcane, banana, etc..
Tea in Assam and North Bengal
Coffee in Karnataka
As the production is mainly for market, a well-developed network
of transport and communication connecting the plantation areas,
processing industries and markets plays an important role in the
development of plantations.
• What is plantation Agriculture?
• Where is it practiced in India?
Our country has a wide range physical diversities and
plurality reflected in agricultural practices and cropping
Various types of food and fibre crops, vegetables and fruits,
spices and condiments, etc.. constitute some of the
important crops grown
India has three cropping seasons — rabi, kharif and zaid.
Rabi Cropping Season
Sown in winter from Oct – Dec and harvested from Apri- Jun
Wheat, barley, peas, gram & mustard are common rabi crops
Grown in the north and northwestern parts of India; viz., such as
Punjab, Haryana, HP, J &K, Uttaranchal and UP are important for
the production of wheat and other rabi crops
Western Disturbance helps in the success of these crops.
Success of the green revolution in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar
Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan has also been an important factor
in the growth of the abovementioned rabi crops.
• What is Rabi Cropping Seasom?
• What Crops are grown during the rabi
• Which states in India practice Rabi
Kharif Cropping Season
1. Crops are grown with the onset of monsoon and
harvested in Sept-Oct
2. Paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar), moong, urad,
cotton, jute, groundnut & soyabean are Important Kharif
3. 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.
4. Also in Punjab and Haryana
5. Where water is available in plenty like Assam, West Bengal
and Orissa, three crops of paddy are grown in a year. They
are called as Aus, Aman and Boro!
• What is Kharif Cropping Seasom?
• What Crops are grown during the Kharif
• Which states in India practice Kharif
Zaid Cropping Season
The Zaid is the cropping season In between the rabi and the kharif
seasons; it’s the short season during the summer months.
Some of the crops produced during ‘zaid’ are watermelon, muskmelon,
cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops. Sugarcane takes almost a year
Major Crops: Paddy
Paddy is the staple food crop in India.
2nd largest producer of rice in the world after China
A kharif crop
requires high temperature (above 25°C)
Annual rainfall above 100 cm
Grown in the plains of north and north-eastern India, coastal areas
and the deltaic regions
With the help of canal irrigation and tubewells growing Paddy has
become possible in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh
and parts of even Rajasthan!
Temperature: 22 -32˚C
Rainfall: 150-300 cm
Major Crops: Wheat
Second most important cereal crop.
Principal food crop, in north and north-western part of the
A rabi crop requires a cool growing season and a bright
sunshine at the time of ripening.
Requires 50 to 75 cm of annual rainfall evenly distributed
over the growing season.
Two wheat-growing zones in India
the Ganga-Satluj plains in the northwest and
black soil region of the Deccan.
The major wheat-producing states are Punjab, Haryana,
Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and parts of Madhya
Temp: 13 ˚C (Sowing); 24˚C (Ripen & Harvest)
Rainfall: 90 cm
Major Crops: Millets
Known as coarse grains: Jowar, bajra and ragi
Have very high nutritional value
In area, 3rd important food crop
Rain-fed crop, grown in the moist areas which
hardly needs irrigation. Maharashtra is the largest
producer of jowar followed by Karnataka, Andhra
Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Grows well on sandy soils and shallow black soil
Rajasthan is the largest producer, followed by Uttar
Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
Ragi is very rich in iron, calcium, other micro
nutrients and roughage
A crop growing well on red, black, sandy,
loamy and shallow black soils.
Karnataka is the largest producer, followed by
Tamil Nadu. Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal,
Sikkim, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are
also important for the production of ragi.
Rainfall: 50-100 cm
Major Crops: Maize
Crop which is used both as food and fodder. It is a
kharif crop which requires temperature between 21°C
Grows well in old alluvial soil.
States like Bihar maize is grown in rabi season also.
Use of modern inputs such as 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 Madhya Pradesh.
India is the largest producer & consumer of pulses in the world.
Grown in all three seasons.
Major source of protein in a vegetarian diet
Tur (arhar), urad, moong, masur, peas and gram are the major
pulses grown in India.
i. Kharif :Arhar (Tur), Urd (Blackgram), Moong (Greengram), Lobia
(Cowpea), Kulthi (Horsegram);
ii. Rabi :Gram, Lentil, Pea, Lathyrus (Kesari Dal)& Rajmas;
iii. Summer :Greengram, Blackgram and Cowpea.
Pulses need less moisture & can survive in dry conditions.
Except arhar all pulses help in restoring soil fertility--by fixing
nitrogen from the air—leguminous crops,
Mostly grown in rotation with other crops. Major pulse producing states
in India are MP, UP, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Which of these pulses are grown in the
kharif and Rabi season?
Name the pulse which does not help in
restoring soil fertility?
India is the largest producer of oilseeds in the world.
Grown in 12 % of the total cropped area
Main oil-seeds are groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesamum (til),
soyabean, castor seeds, cotton seeds, linseed & sunflower
Most are edible and used as cooking mediums
Some of these are also used as raw material in the production of
soap, cosmetics and ointments
Groundnut is a kharif crop & accounts for 50% of oilseeds
produced in the country. Andhra Pradesh, followed by TN,
Karnataka, Gujarat & Maharashtra
Linseed and mustard are rabi crops.
Sesamum is a kharif crop in north & rabi in south India.
Castor seed is grown both as rabi and kharif crop.
Rainfall: 65 cm
Food Crops other than Grains: Sugarcane
It is a tropical as well as a subtropical crop.
Grows well in hot and humid climate
Ideal temperature of 21°C to 27°C
Annual rainfall between 75 - 100cm.
Irrigation is required in the regions of low rainfall.
Can be grown on a variety of soils and needs manual labour from
sowing to harvesting.
India is the second largest producer of sugarcane only after Brazil
Main source of sugar, gur (jaggary), khandsari and molasses.
Major sugarcane-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.
Rainfall: 120 cm
An example of plantation agriculture
Important beverage crop introduced in India by the British
Grows well in tropical and sub-tropical climates with deep and fertile well-drained soil, rich in
humus and organic matter
Requires warm and moist frost-free climate all through the year
Showers evenly distributed over the year helps in the growth of tender leaves.
Is a labour intensive industry. Requires abundant, cheap and skilled labour.
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.
Apart from these, HP, Uttaranchal, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura are also tea-
producing states in the country
India is the leading producer as well as exporter of tea in the world.
Rainfall: 225 cm
India produces 4% of the world’s coffee
Indian coffee is known in the world for its good
Coffeea arabica variety brought from Yemen is
grown in India
Has a great demand all over the world
Intially introduced in the Coorg, Baba Budan
Even today its cultivation is confined to the
Nilgiri in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Temperature: 25 ˚C
Rainfall: 150-250 cm
Rainfall: 65 cm
Fruits and Vegetables
India is a producer of tropical as well as temperate fruits.
Mangoes of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West
Oranges of Nagpur and Cherrapunjee (Meghalaya)
Bananas of Kerala, Mizoram, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu,
Litchi 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 are in great demand the world over.
India produces about 13 per cent of the world’s vegetables.
Important producer of pea, cauliflower, onion, cabbage, tomato,
brinjal and potato.
Non-Food Crops: Rubber
An equatorial crop
Under special conditions, it is also grown in tropical and
Requires moist and humid climate with rainfall of more
than 200 cm. and temperature above 25°C
Rubber is an important industrial raw material
Mainly grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and
Andaman and Nicobar islands and Garo hills of Meghalaya.
India ranks fifth among the world’s natural rubber
Four major fibre crops grown in India
The first three are derived from the crops grown in the
The Silk is obtained from cocoons of the silkworms fed
on green leaves specially mulberry
Rearing of silk worms for the production of silk fibre is
known as sericulture
India is native for the cotton plant
Cotton is the main raw material for cotton textile industry
India is the third-largest producer (NOW, No 1) in the world
Grows well in drier parts with black cotton soil of Deccan plateau
Requires high temperature, (210 frost-free days) and bright sunshine for
its growth light rainfall or irrigation
A kharif crop and requires 6 to 8 months to mature
Major cotton-producing states are – Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP,
Karnataka, AP, TN, Punjab, Haryana and UP.
Rainfall: 80 cm
Known as the golden fibre
Grows well on well-drained fertile soils in the
flood plains where soils are renewed every year
High temperature is required during the time of
West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Orissa and
Meghalaya are the major jute producing states
Used in making gunny bags, mats, ropes, yarn,
carpets and other artefacts.
Due to its high cost, it is losing market to
synthetic fibres and packing materials,
particularly the nylon.
Technological and Institutional Reforms
Lack of technological changes have hindered agricultural
development in India.
Even today, several farmers are dependent upon monsoon and
As population grows this poses a serious challenge
Urgent needs for technical and institutional reforms
‘Land reform’ was the main focus of our First Five Year Plan.
Collectivisation, consolidation of holdings, cooperation and abolition
of zamindari, etc., were given priority to bring institutional reforms
The right of inheritance, lead to fragmentation of land holdings
Necessitated consolidation of holdings
The GOI initiated in 60s and 70s the Green and White Revolutions
(Operation Flood) as strategies to improve Indian agriculture.
This however concentrated the development in few selected areas
In the 1980s and 1990s, a comprehensive land development
programme was initiated
Provision of the following were some important steps in bring
crop insurance against drought, flood, cyclone, fire and disease,
establishment of banks for providing loans to farmers at lower rates
of interest—Grameen banks, cooperative societies and Nationalised
Kissan Credit Card (KCC)
Personal Accident Insurance Scheme (PAIS)
Special weather bulletins and agricultural programmes for farmers
were introduced on the radio and television
Announcement of minimum support price, Remunerative(Sugar)
and procurement(grains) prices for important crops to check the
exploitation of farmers by speculators and middlemen
Bhoodan – Gramdan
Vinoba Bhave was Gandhi’s spiritual heir;
After Gandhiji’s death, Vinobhaji undertook padyatra to spread
Gandhi’s gram swarajya message to the country
While lecturing at Pochampalli in Andhra Pradesh, poor landless
farmers demanded land for their economic well-being
Vinoba Ji assured them to talk to the Govt of India
Shri Ram Chandra Reddy a rich land lord stood up and offered 80
acres of land to be distributed among 80 land-less villagers. This act
was known as ‘Bhoodan’.
This encouraged some zamindars, to distribute some of their land to
the landless—known as Gramdan
Many land-owners chose to provide some part of their land to the
poor farmers due to the fear of land ceiling act.
Bhoodan-Gramdan movement initiated by Vinobha Bhave is also
known as the Blood-less Revolution
Contribution of Agriculture
Agriculture has been the backbone of the Indian economy
Its share in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is declining
Provides employment and livelihood to over 63 % of the
Decline in agriculture will have wide implications for
Government of India is slowly modernising agriculture
Has established institutes like Indian Council of
Agricultural Research (ICAR), Agricultural Universities,
Veterinary Services and Animal Breeding Centres,
Horticulture Development, R&D in meteorology and
weather forecast, etc.
Lots of efforts are on to improve the rural infrastructure
Moving out of Agriculture
The GDP of the country increasing very slowly
Agriculture’s share is showing a decreasing trend
Farmers face the challenge from international
Govt is reducing its investment in agriculture sector
particularly in irrigation, power, rural roads, market &
Fertiliser subsidy is decreased increasing the
Reduction in import duties on agricultural products
Farmers are withdrawing their investment from
agriculture causing a downfall in the employment in
Food is a basic need & every citizen should have access to food
Populations who do not have this access, suffers from lack of food
People without food security is large in some regions of our
Economically less developed states have a higher share.
Remote areas are more prone to disasters and uncertain food
To change this scenario, government has carefully designed a
national food security system with two components
buffer stock and
public distribution system (PDS).
PDS and FCI
Public Distribution System (PDS) provides food grains and other commodities at subsidised prices
Primary objective of food security policy is to ensure availability of food to all, at an affordable price
PDS enabled the poor to have access to food.
Policy focuses on:
growth in agricultural production
fixing the support price for buying wheat and rice
to maintain the stocks of grains
Food Corporation of India (FCI) is responsible for procuring and stocking grains, while distribution is ensured by
FCI procures foodgrains at the government announced minimum support price (MSP)
Govt provides subsidies for agriculture like fertilizers, power and water.
Subsidies today are unsustainable and made the use of fertilizers, power & water inefficiencient
Over use of fertilizers & water has led to waterlogging, salinity & depletion of micronutrients
High MSP, and committed FCI purchases have distorted the cropping pattern
Wheat & paddy crops are being grown more for the MSP
Punjab & Haryana are good examples. Also created a serious imbalance in inter-crop parities
Issues in Agriculture… 1
Consumers in India are divided into two categories :
1. Below Poverty Line (BPL) and 2. Above Poverty Line (APL)
Some of the so called APL slip back to BPL
With proper agricultural infrastructure, credit linkages & the use
of latest techniques, each district and block can be made self
sufficient in food grain production
Apart from Paddy & wheat, foodcrops with better growth
potential can be encouraged
Providing irrigation facilities, electricity, etc. may also attract
Free trade in grains will create massive employment and
reduce poverty in rural areas
Issues in Agriculture… 2
A gradual shift from cultivation of food crops to cultivation of
fruits, vegetables, oil-seeds and industrial crops has reduced
the net sown area under cereals and pulses
With a growing population, any decline in food production puts
the country’s food security in question
Pressure on land for non-agricultural uses like housing, etc., has
reduced the net sown area
Productivity of land is showing a declining trend.
Fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides, which once showed
dramatic results, are now being held responsible for degrading
Scarcity of water has led to reduction in area under irrigation
Inefficient water management has led to water logging and
Issues in Agriculture… 3
One important reason is land degradation
Free power has encouraged pumping of groundwater and growing
water-intensive crops in low-rainfall areas (Paddy in Punjab, sugarcane
Reduced groundwater storage in aquifers: leaving wells dry, pushing
the marginal & small farmers out of cultivation
Rich farmers with deeper tubewells still have water, but many others
face a water crisis
Inadequate storage and marketing facilities also act as a disincentive to
Farmers are thus badly affected by the uncertainties of production and
Farmers suffer from a double disadvantage
pay high prices for inputs such as HYV seeds, fertilisers etc.
lack the bargaining power to fix prices in their favour
Impact of Globalisation
Globalisation is not a new… been there since colonisation
In the 19 century when Europeans came to India, for spices. Farmers of
south India were encouraged to grow Spices. Even today it is an
important export item
Cotton belts of India attracted the British, exported cotton to Britain as
a raw material for their textile industries.
Textile industries in Manchester & Liverpool flourished due to good
cotton from India
Champaran movement in 1917 in Bihar,--farmers were forced to grow
indigo, necessary for the textile industries in Britain
Farmers were prevented from growing foodgrains to sustain
Globalisation after 1990, have exposed the farmers to new challenges
Despite being an important producer, farmers are not able to
compete with the developed countries because of the highly
subsidised agriculture in those countries
Indian Agriculture: Way Ahead
To make agriculture successful & profitable, marginal and small farmers’ condition
Green revolution promised much. But today it’s under controversies
for land degradation, drying aquifers and vanishing biodiversity
Keyword today is “gene revolution”. Which includes genetic engineering: BT Cotton
Organic farming is much in vogue today, as it does not affect environment
Economists think that Indian farmers have a bleak future
600 million in India depend on 250 million hectares: < than 0.5 hectare/ farmer
Urgent need to diversify cropping pattern from cereals to high-value crops
Increase incomes and reduce environmental degradation simultaneously. Because
fruits, medicinal herbs, flowers, vegetables, bio-diesel crops like jatropha and jojoba
need much less irrigation than rice or sugarcane. India’s diverse climate can be
harnessed to grow a wide range of high-value crops.
Change in from cereals to high-value crops will lead to India importing
During 1960’s this would have been seen as a disaster.
But if India imports cereals while exporting high-value commodities, it will
be following successful economies like Italy, Israel and Chile.
These countries exports farm products (fruits, olives, speciality seeds and
wine) and import cereals. Are we ready to take this risk?
Debate the issue