- India’s physical diversity and cultural pluralism are reflected in agricultural practises and cropping patterns.
- Some of the important crops farmed in India include various types of food and fibre crops, fruits and vegetables, spices and condiments, and so on.
- India’s farming seasons are Rabi, Kharif, and Zaid.
- Rabi crops are planted in the winter months of October to December and harvested in the summer months of April to June.
- Important Crops:
- Cereals: Wheat and barley.
- Pulses: Peas and gram.
- Oil seeds: Mustard.
- Top production states are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh in the north and northwestern sections of the country.
- Because it brings rainfall, the western temperate cyclone, also known as western disturbances, contributes to the growth of various crops in these states.
- The Green Revolution in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, and parts of Rajasthan has also assisted the growth of the aforementioned rabi crops.
- Karif crops are planted in various sections of the country as the monsoon season begins, and they are harvested in September and October.
- Important Crops:
- Cereals: Paddy, maize, jowar, bajra.
- Pulses: Tur (arhar), moong, urad.
- Fibre crops: Cotton and jute.
- Oil seeds: Groundnut and soybean.
- Assam, West Bengal, and the coastal districts of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharashtra are important rice farming areas.
- In states such as Assam, West Bengal, and Odisha, three crops of paddy are grown each year, and the varieties are known as Aus, Aman, and Boro.
- Zaid season is the short season during the summer period between the rabi and the kharif seasons.
- Watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables, and fodder crops are important zaid crops. Sugarcane takes about a year to ripen.
Types of Farming:
Over the years, agricultural methods have changed greatly based upon the characteristics of physical surroundings, technological know-how and socio-cultural practices. At present, in various regions of India, the following farming systems are practised:
Primitive Subsistence Farming:
- Basic subsistence agriculture is performed on tiny pieces of land with the use of primitive equipment like hoe, dao and digging sticks, and family or communal labour. It depends upon monsoon, natural fertility of the soil and fit of other environmental circumstances to the crops planted.
- ‘Slash and Burn’ Agriculture: Farmers clean an area of land and grow grains and other food crops to maintain their family. The shifting allows nature to renew the quality of the soil via natural processes. Here the land has low productivity as the farmer does not utilize fertilisers or other modern inputs.
Intensive Subsistence Farming:
- This form of farming is practised in locations where there is a strong population pressure on the land.
- It is a labor-intensive agricultural method in which high amounts of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used to increase production.
- The fundamental feature of this form of farming is the use of higher doses of contemporary inputs, such as high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, chemical fertilisers, insecticides, and pesticides, to increase productivity.
- Agriculture’s degree of commercialisation differs from region to region. Rice, for example, is a commercial crop in Haryana and Punjab but a subsistence crop in Odisha.
- Plantation: This is a sort of commercial agriculture in which a single crop is produced over a broad region. The plantation is at the crossroads of agriculture and industry. Plantation has the following characteristics:
- Plantations cover enormous areas of land with capital-intensive inputs and the assistance of migrant labourers. All of the produce is used as a raw material in the various industries.
- Tea, coffee, rubber, sugarcane, banana, and other plantation crops are important in India. Tea is grown in Assam and North Bengal, coffee is grown in Karnataka, and bamboo is grown in the north-eastern regions.
- Production is primarily for the market: A well-developed transportation and communication network connecting plantation areas, processing companies, and markets is critical to the success of plantations.