• India is an agricultural country because of following reasons:
(1) Two-thirds of its population is engaged in agricultural activities.
(2) Agriculture is a primary activity that produces most of food and food grains . that we consume.
• Characteristics of plantation agriculture: A single type of crop is grown in a large area. Plantation is carried out on large estates using a lot of capital intensive units. Production is mainly for market, i.e., commercial agriculture.
Agriculture in India
• According to census 2011, nearly 55% of total population of country is engaged in agriculture and allied activities.
• Sikkim is first organic state in India.
• Agriculture with its allied activities contributes 17.4% to country’s GVS [Gross value added].
• Types of Agriculture in India:
(1) Primitive subsistence farming: Practised on a small patch of land using primitive tools like hoe, doe, & digging sticks with help of family labours. No surplus to sell in market.
(2) Commercial Farming: Use of high doses of modern inputs for example, HYV seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides to obtain high productivity. There is higher use of modern agricultural inputs, for example, HYV Seeds, fertilizers, irrigation. degree of commercialization varies from One region to another. Rice is a commercial crop in Punjab, while in Odisha it is subsistence crop. for example, plantation agriculture.
(3) Intensive subsistence farming: This is practised in areas of high population pressure on land. This is labour intensive farming. Yield per hectare is high because high doses of biochemical inputs and Irrigation are used. Multiple cropping is practiced.
• Jhum/Shifting cultivation
(1) It is a primitive form of agriculture,in which a plot of land is cultivated for a few years and then is deserted.
(2) This slash and burn method of farming is carried in Jungles of north-western part of India for example in Assam, Meghalaya.
• Three Crop Seasons in India
(1) Rabi: Sowing begins in Sept-Oct and harvesting takes place in Feb-Mar. Wheat, Barley, pulses & some oilseeds are grown in rabi season.
(2) Kharif: Crops grown with onset of monsoon in June-July and harvesting takes place after retreat of monsoon in Sept-Oct. Rice,maize,millets,groundnuts, cotton & Jute are grown in kharif season.
(3) Zaid: It is summer season for growing crops which remains till April, May, June. Products are mainly vegetables and fruits.
• Rice: Rice is most important food crop [Kharif crop] of India. India holds second position in rice production after China. Cultivation—High temperature of 25° C and above and high humidity with annual rainfall of 100 cms is required. Four Major regions of rice cultivation are —
(1) Plains of North India;
(2) Plains of North-Eastern India;
(3) Coastal areas; and
(4) Deltaic regions. Irrigated rice is produced in Punjab, Haryana, Western UP and Rajasthan.
• Wheat: Ganga-Sutlej plains found in NorthWest and Black soil region of Deccan.
• Wheat producing states are Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh. Its geographical conditions are cool and moist growing season. Bright sunshine at time of ripening. Rainfall: 50 to 75 cm evenly distributed over growing season, loamy soil. This is second most important cereal crop of India. This is main food crop.
• Jowar: third most important food crop with respect to area and production, kharif crop, rainfed crop grown in moist areas are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra is leading producer followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
• Millets are known as coarse grains. They have high nutritional value, important part of diet for poor people. Examples: Ragi: Leading producer is Karnataka, followed by Tamil Nadu. Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Sikkim. are other important regions.
• Bajra: It grows well on sandy soils and shallow black soils. Rajasthan is largest producer followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat & Haryana.
• Maize crop: [used as food and fodder], This is a kharif crop which requires temperature between 21°C to 27°C and grows well in old Alluvial soil.
• Pulses: [leguminous crop] -India is largest producer as well as consumer of pulses in world. Major pulses that are grown in India are tur[arhar], urad, moong, masur, peas & gram.
• Oilseeds: India is largest producer of oil seeds in world. 12% of total cropped area is under oilseed production. Six major oilseeds produced in India—Groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesamum [til], soyabean, castor-seeds, linseed, sunflower & cotton-seeds. Most of these oilseeds are edible and are used as cooking mediums.
• Sugarcane: [Tropical as well as subtropical crop] – India is second largest producer after Brazil. Six major states producing sugarcane—Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab & Haryana. Sugarcane is main source of sugar, gur [jaggery], khandsari & molasses.
• Tea- Geographical conditions: It grows well in tropical and subtropical climates. It requires deep, fertile, well Drained soil, rich in humus and organic matter. It requires a warm and moist Frost free climate round year. Frequent showers evenly distributed throughout year ensure continuous growth of tender leaves. Tea is a labour intensive Industry. It requires abundant, cheap & skilled labour.
• Coffee: Most important beverage crop of South India, India produces 4% of world’s Coffee production. Major states—Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu [mainly in Nilgiri hills].
• Cotton is mainly produced in Maharashtra, Gujarat & Madhya Pradesh. Cotton is fibre crop which is mainly grown in black soil of Deccan Plateau region.
(1) Position: India is 3rd largest producer of cotton in world.
(2) Geographical conditions: Requires high temperature; light rainfall or Irrigation; 210 frostfree days; bright sunshine; black cotton soil; Kharif Crop and requires 6-8 months to mature.
(3) Major cotton producing states: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana & Uttar Pradesh.
• Rubber: This is produced in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Andaman & Nicobar islands and Garo hills of Meghalaya. Conditions: It requires a hot and Humid climate. Rainfall—200 cms. Temperature— above 25° C. Maximum Rubber is consumed in manufacture of auto tyres and tubes and cycle tyres and tubes.
• Jute: Mainly grown in West Bengal, Bihar & Assam, called golden fibre. Jute is mainly grown in West Bengal, especially in Hoogly Basin because Geographical conditions favour its growth there. These conditions are—High temperature required during time of growth,Jute grows well on welldrained fertile soils in flood plains where soils are renewed every year. Jute products are—gunny bags, ropes, mats, carpets, yams & other Ornamental artifacts.
Food crops other than Grains
• Ground nut oil-[Kharif- Crop]
(1) Gujarat is largest producer following Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu
(2) Castor seed is both rabi and Kharif Crop.
(3) Tea [This is a plantation crop and an important beverage crop in India].
(4) Tea bushes require warm and moist free climate throughout years.
(5) Major producing states-Assam, hills of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguriin WB, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura and, Kerala.
(6) India is 2nd largest tea producing country after China.
(7) Coffee [India produces contributes 3.5% in coffee production in world.]
(8) Its cultivation is confined to Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Nilgiri.
• Horticulture crop
(1) India is 2nd largest producer of horticulture crops.
• Non food crops
(1) Rubber [Equatorial crop] – India ranks 4th in growing rubber.
• Fibre crop
(1) Silk-obtained from cocoons of silkworm.
(2) Rearing of silk warm for production of silk fibres called sericulture.
• Cotton – [India is home of cotton plant]
• India is 2nd largest producer after China.
(1) Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are growing states of cotton.
(2) Jute [Golden fibre].
(3) Grows in well drained fertile soils in flood plains.
(4) Major jute producing states – West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya.
Technological and Institutional Reforms
• Sustained uses of land without compatible technoinstitutional changes have hindered pace of agricultural development.
• Agriculture which provides livelihood for more than 60% of its population, needs some serious technical and institutional reforms.
• Thus, collectivisation, consolidation of holdings, cooperation and abolition of zamindari. were given priority to bring about institutional reforms in country after Independence.
• main focus of our First Five-Year Plan was ‘Land reform’.
• Government of India embarked upon introducing agricultural reforms in 1960s and 1970s.
• Green Revolution based on use of package technology and White Revolution [Operation Flood] were some of strategies initiated to improve lot of Indian agriculture.
• In 1980s and 1990s, a comprehensive land development programme was initiated with institutional and technical reforms.
• Crop insurance against drought, flood, cyclone, fire & disease, establishment of Grameen banks, cooperative societies and banks for providing loan facilities to farmers at lower rates of interest were some important steps in this direction.
• Kissan Credit Card [KCC], Personal Accident Insurance Scheme [PAIS] are some other schemes introduced by Government of India.
Contribution of agriculture to national economy, employment and output
• Agriculture has been backbone of Indian economy though its share in Gross Domestic Product [GDP] has registered a declining trend from 1951 onwards.
• As per census of India 2011, about 54.6% of total work force was engaged in agriculture and allied sector.
• declining share of agriculture in GDP is a matter of serious concern.
• Government of India made concerted efforts to modernise agriculture.
• Indian Council of Agricultural Research [ICAR], agricultural universities, veterinary services and animal breeding centres, horticulture development, research and development in field of meteorology and weather forecasting. were given top priority in order to improve Indian agriculture.
• In order to strengthen and support agricultural sector, several initiatives have been taken by Government of India under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
Table: India: Growth Rate of GDP and Major Sectors [in %]
Bhoodan – Gramdan
• Mahatma Gandhi declared Vinoba Bhave as his spiritual heir. He was one of votaries of Gandhi’s concept of gram swarajya.
• After Gandhiji’s martyrdom, Vinoba Bhave undertook padyatra to spread Gandhiji’s message covered almost entire country.
• Once, when he was delivering a lecture at Pochampalli in Andhra Pradesh, some poor landless villagers demanded some land for their economic well-being. Shri Ram Chandra Reddy offered 80 acres of land to be distributed among 80 land-less villagers. This act was called ‘Bhoodan’.
• This Bhoodan-Gramdan movement initiated by Vinoba Bhave is called Blood-less Revolution.
Impact of Globalisation on Agriculture
• In 19th century when European traders came to India, at that time, Indian spices were exported to different countries of world, and farmers of south India were encouraged to grow these crops.
• Still it is one of important items of export from India.
• During British period, cotton was exported to Britain as a raw material for their textile industries.
• Cotton textile industry in Manchester and Liverpool flourished due to availability of good quality cotton from India.
• After 1990, farmers in India have been exposed to new challenges.
• Despite being an important producer of rice, cotton, rubber, tea, coffee, jute & spices our agricultural products are not able to compete with developed countries because of highly subsidised agriculture in those countries.
• keyword today is ‘gene revolution’, which includes genetic engineering.
• Infact organic farming is much in vogue today because it is practised without factory made chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides.
• India’s rural population is about 833 million  which depends upon 250 million [approximate] hectares of agricultural land, an average of less than half a hectare per person.
• Indian farmers should diversify their cropping pattern from cereals to high-value crops.