Agrarian Economy of India
Agriculture is India's most important economic industry. Agriculture in India accounts for 18% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 50% of the workforce.
India produces the most pulses, rice, wheat, spices, and spice goods in the world. India offers numerous commercial opportunities in sectors such as dairy, meat, poultry, fishery, and food grains.
India has also surpassed China as the world's second largest producer of fruits and vegetables.
Types of Farming
Primitive Subsistence Farming
Small Patches of Land : It is practised on small patches of land
Primitive Tools : It uses primitive tools such as hoe, dao and digging sticks.
Not Labour Intensive : Family or community labour is usually involved.
Dependent on Nature : It depends on monsoon, natural fertility and other environmental conditions and there is no use of fertilisers.
It is also called slash and burn agriculture and is known by various names such as Jhum, Bewar, Pamlou, Dipa, Milpa, Ladang in various parts of the world.
Intensive Subsistence Farming
High Population Density : Practised in areas of high population density; therefore smaller land.Land size is small due to division of land within several members.
Use of Modern tools and inputs
Labour intensive farming; may or may not use family members
Supplemented by Intervention : Does not depend entirely on monsoon and may use some inputs such as fertilisers.
Large Lands : Practised on large tracts of land
Modern Technology : Uses modern technology and inputs to obtain higher productivity
Capital Intensive : Less use of labour and higher use of machinery
High Human Intervention : Uses irrigation, HYV seeds, biochemical inputs such as fertilisers, pesticide, insecticides.
Commercial crops may vary from place to place. Rice is commercial crop in Punjab and Haryana but subsistence crop in Odisha.
Plantation is also a type of commercial farming. In this type of farming, a single crop is grown on a large area.
What are different cropping seasons in India?
Rabi crops are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June.
Availability of precipitation during winter months due to the western temperate cyclones helps in the success of these crops. These rains are brought to India by the Western Disturbances.
Important rabi crops are wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard.
Kharif crops are grown with the onset of monsoon in different parts of the country and these are harvested in September-October.
Important crops grown during this season are paddy (rice) , maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar), moong, urad, cotton, jute, groundnut and soybean.
In states like Assam, West Bengal and Odisha, three crops of paddy are grown in a year. These are Aus, Aman and Boro.
This season lies between the rabi and the kharif seasons, there is a short season during the summer months known as the Zaid season.
Important crops grown are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops.
What are some major food crops in India?
Our country is the second largest producer of rice in the world after China. It is considered a staple food crop in India. .
Season and Climate : It is a kharif crop which requires high temperature, (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm.
Area Grown in : It is grown in the plains of north and north-eastern India, coastal areas and the deltaic regions.
Major States : West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha, Bihar and Chattisgarh
It is the second most important cereal crop. It is the main food crop, in the north and north-western part of the country.
Season and Climate :This rabi crop requires a cool growing season with 50 to 75 cm of annual rainfall and bright sunshine at the time of ripening.
Area Grown in : Wheat growing regions are the Ganga-Satluj plains in the north- west and black soil region of the Deccan.
Major States : Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan
Jowar, bajra and ragi are the important millets grown in India. They are coarse grains. Let's have a look at them one by one.
Ragi is a crop of dry regions and grows well on red, black, sandy, loamy and shallow black soils.
Major Ragi producing states are: Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh.
Jowar is the third most important food crop with respect to area and production.
It is a rain-fed crop mostly grown in moist areas which hardly needs irrigation.
Major Jowar producing states are : Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh
Bajra grows well on sandy soils and shallow black soil.
Major Bajra producing States are : Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana
It is used as both food and fodder and grows well in Alluvial soil. Use of HYV seeds has contributed to increasing production of Maize.
Season and Climate : It is a Kharif crop but is also grown as a Rabi crop in some states. It requires a temperature between 21°C to 27°C and grows well in old alluvial soil.
Major States : Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh.
India is the largest producer as well as the consumer of pulses in the world. It is a major source of protein in a vegetarian diet.
Season and Climate :These need less moisture and survive even in dry conditions. Pulses are mostly grown in rotation with other crops so that the soil restores fertility.
Major States : Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Food Crops Other Than Grains
India is the 2nd largest producer of Sugarcane after Brazil. It is the main source of Sugar, Gur (jaggery), molasses and Khandsari
Season and Climate : It is a tropical as well as a subtropical crop. It grows well in hot and humid climates with a temperature of 21°C to 27°C and an annual rainfall between 75 cm and 100 cm.
Area Grown in : Can be grown in a variety of soils and its production has lately grown in southern India.
Major States : Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.
Oil Seeds are used as cooking mediums as well as used as raw material in the production of soap, cosmetics and ointments.
Main oil-seeds produced in India are groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesamum (til), soyabean, castor seeds, cotton seeds, linseed and sunflower
Season and Climate : Oilseeds can be grown in summer as well as winter season. Soybean, groundnut and sunflower are major kharif oilseeds, sown in June and July and harvested in October and November. It thrives best in the tropical climate and requires 20°-30°C temperature and 50-75 cm rainfall
Area Grown in : The oil seeds covers approximately 12 percent of the total cropped area of the country.
Major States : Groundnut accounts for about half of the major oilseeds produced in the country. Gujarat was the largest producer of groundnut followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.
Tea cultivation is an example of plantation agriculture. It is an important beverage crop introduced in India initially by the British. It is a labour intensive crop.
Season and Climate : It requires warm and moist frost-free climate with frequent showers all through the year. It grows well in tropical and sub-tropical climates with deep and fertile well-drained soil, rich in humus and organic matter.
Area Grown in : It is usually grown on gentle slopes in areas receiving high rainfall.
Major States : Assam - hills of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Indian coffee is known in the world for its good quality. Arabica is grown
extensively in India and was brought from Yemen. Its cultivation was introduced on the Baba Budan Hills
Major States : Its cultivation is confined to the Nilgiri in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
India is a tropical and temperate fruit producer. Pea, cauliflower, onion, cabbage, tomato, brinjal, and potato are the major horticulture crops produced in India.
Mangoes : Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal
Oranges : Nagpur and Meghalaya (Cherrapunjee)
Bananas :Kerala, Mizoram, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu
Guava and Litchi : Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
Grapes : Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Maharashtra
Apples, Pears, Apricots, and Walnuts : Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh
Season and Climate : It is an equatorial crop, but under special conditions, it is also grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas. It requires a moist and humid climate with rainfall of more than 200 cm. and temperature above 25°C.
Major States : It is mainly grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andaman and Nicobar islands and Garo hills of Meghalaya.
Cotton, jute, hemp and natural silk are the four major fibre crops grown in India.
What is Sericulture?
Rearing of silk worms for the production of silk fibre is known as sericulture.
India is unusual in that it is the only country that produces all five varieties of silk: Mulberry, Eri, Muga, Tropical Tasar, and Temperate Tasar. Mulberry silk is the most common type, accounting for around 79 percent of the country's silk production.
Season and Climate : It is a kharif crop and requires high temperature, light rainfall or irrigation, 210 frost-free days and bright sun-shine for its growth.
Areas Grown in : It grows well in drier parts of the black cotton soil of the Deccan plateau.
Major states : Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
It is also known as golden fibre. It is used in making gunny bags, mats, ropes, yarn, carpets and other artefacts. However, it is losing market share due to its high price and better alternatives.
Season and Climate : It is grown in a humid and warm environment that is provided by the monsoon season in the fall, followed by summer. Temperatures greater than 25 °C and relative humidity levels of 70%–90% are ideal for effective growing.
Areas Grown in : It grows well on well-drained fertile soils in the flood plains where soils are renewed every year.
Major states : West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Meghalaya.
Technological and Institutional Reforms
More than 60 percent of India's population depends on agriculture. After independence, major institutional reforms such as Collectivisation, consolidation of holdings, cooperation and abolition of zamindari, etc. were given priority.
Green and White Revolution : In 1960s and 1970s, technical reforms such as Green Revolution and White Revolution were also introduced to improve the condition of agriculture.
Credit Facilities : In 1980s and 1990s, various provisions for crop insurance, establishment of Grameen banks, Kisan Credit Card (KCC), cooperative societies and banks for providing loan facilities to the farmers at lower rates of interest.
Insurance Schemes : Personal Accident Insurance Scheme (PAIS) are some other schemes introduced by the Government of India for the benefit of the farmers.
Special weather bulletins and agricultural programmes for farmers were introduced on the radio and television.
Minimum support price, remunerative and procurement prices for important crops to check the exploitation of farmers by speculators and middlemen.
Contribution of agriculture to the national economy, employment and output
In 2010-11 about 52 percent of the total workforce of India was employed by the farm sector. India's GDP growth rate is increasing over the years but it is not generating sufficient employment opportunities in the country.
Food Security in India
The government designed national food security system to ensure the food security to every citizen:
It consists of two components:
Buffer stock and
Public distribution system (PDS)
Food Corporation of India (FCI) is responsible for procuring and stocking foodgrains, whereas distribution is ensured by public distribution system (PDS).
PDS is a programme which provides food grains and other essential commodities at subsidised prices in rural and urban areas.
The primary objective of national food security are:
Ensure availability of foodgrains to the common people at an affordable price.
The poor should have access to food.
Growth in agriculture production
Fixing the support price for procurement of wheat and rice, to maintain their stocks.
What is the impact of Globalisation on Agriculture in India?
Globalisation was present at the time of colonisation. → During the British period, cotton was exported to Britain as a raw material for their textile industries.
After 1990, the farmers in India have been exposed to new challenges under globalisation.
Tough Competition : The agricultural products of India are not able to compete with the developed countries because of the highly subsidised agriculture in those countries.
Slow Adoption of New Technologies: Genetic engineering is revolutionising agricultural production nowadays. Organic farming is also in fashion these days because it is practised without factory made chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides. Hence, it does not affect the environment in a negative manner. However, the adoption of new techniques and technology has been comparatively slow in India
Indian farmers should diversify their cropping pattern from cereals to high-value crops which will increase incomes and reduce environmental degradation simultaneously.