Chapter 5. Land Resources and Agriculture

Land Use Categories
Forests: It is important to note that area under actual forest cover is different from area classified as forest.
Barren and Wastelands: The land which may be classified as a wasteland.
Land put to Non-agricultural Uses: Land under settlements (rural and urban), infrastructure (roads, canals, etc.), industries, shops, etc., are included in this category.
Area under Permanent Pastures and Grazing Lands:
Most of this type land is owned by village ‘Panchayat’ or Government.
Area under Miscellaneous Tree Crops and Groves (Not included in Net sown Area): The land under orchards and fruit trees are included in this category.
Culturable Wasteland: Any land which is left fallow (uncultivated) for more than five years is included in this category.
Current Fallow: This is land which is left without cultivation for one or less than one agricultural year.
Fallow other than Current Fallow: This is a cultivable land which is left uncultivated for more than a year but less than five years.
Net Area Sown: The physical extent of land on which crops are sown and harvested is called net sown area.

Land Resources and Agriculture Land Use changes in India
• One needs to appreciate three types of changes that an economy undergoes, which affect land-use. These are as follows:
1. Size of Economy
2. Composition of Economy
3. Contribution of Agricultural activities
• Land in India is now classified under nine categories: forests, barren & unculturable land, land put to non-agricultural uses, cultural wastes, Permanent pasture and other grazing lands, miscellaneous tree crops and groves (not included in net area owned), current fallows, other fallows and net area sown.
• The four categories that have registered a decline in land use are barren and wasteland, culturable wasteland, area under pastures and tree crops and net area sown.

Common Property Resources (CPRs)
• Private land is owned by individuals whereas Common property resources (CPRs) are owned by state meant for use of community. CPRs are common in all arid districts of India. CPRs provide fodder for livestock and fuel for households along with other minor forest products like fruits, nuts, fibre, etc.

Agricultural Land Use in India
• Land resource is more crucial to livelihood of people depending on agriculture:
1. Agriculture is a purely land based activity unlike secondary and tertiary activities. The contribution of land in agricultural output is more compared to its contribution in outputs in other sectors.
2. Quality of land has a direct bearing on productivity of agriculture, which is not true for other activities.
3. In rural areas, aside from its value as a productive factor, land ownership has a social value and serves as a security for credit, natural hazards or life contingencies, and adds to social status.

Cropping seasons in India
• There are three distinct crop seasons in northern and interior parts of country, namely kharif, rabi & zaid.

Season Cropping Season Major Crops Cultivated
States Northern States Southern States
Kharif June-September Rice, Cotton, Bajra, Maize, Jowar, Tur Rice, Maize, Ragi, Jowar, Groundnut
Rabi October-March Wheat, Gram, Rapeseeds Mustard, Barley Rice, Maize, Ragi, Groundnut, Jowar
Zaid April-June Vegetables, Fruits, Fodder, Rice, Vegetables, Fodder

Types of Farming
• In India, dryland farming is largely confined to regions having annual rainfall of less than 75 cm. These regions grow hardy and drought resistant crops such as ragi, bajra, moong, gram & guar (fodder crops) and practise various measures of soil moisture conservation and rain water harvesting. In wetland farming, rainfall is in excess of soil moisture requirement of plants during rainy season. Such regions may face flood and soil erosion hazards. These areas grow various water intensive crops such as rice, jute & sugarcane and practise aquaculture in freshwater bodies.
Rice: (a) Rice is a staple food for overwhelming majority of population in India. (b) It is a kharif crop grown in temp of 22-32 degrees Celsius, with 150-300 cm rainfall in areas of UP, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal Haryana, Rajasthan & southern states. (c) India is largest producer of rice in world after China. (d) In West Bengal farmers grow three crops of rice known as ‘aus’, ‘aman’ & ‘boro’. (e) The yield of this crop is very low in rainfed areas of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Wheat: (a) It is second most important cereal crop in India after rice. (b) It is primarily a crop in temperate zone. Hence, its cultivation in India is done during winter i.e. rabi season. (c) Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan & Madhya Pradesh are five leading wheat producing states.
Bajra: (a) It is sown in hot and dry climatic conditions in northwestern and western parts of country. (b) It is a hardy crop that resists frequent dry spells and drought in this region. (c) Leading producers of bajra are states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan & Haryana.
Maize: (a) It is a food as well as fodder crop grown under semi-arid climatic conditions and in inferior soils. (b) The leading producers of maize are states of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan & Uttar Pradesh.
Pulses: (a) Pulses are a very important ingredient of vegetarian food as these are rich sources of proteins. (b) India is a leading producer of pulses and accounts for about one-fifth of total production of pulses in world. (c) The cultivation of pulses in country is largely concentrated in drylands of Deccan and central plateaus and northwestern parts of country.
Gram: (a) It is cultivated in subtropical areas. (b) It is mostly a rainfed crop cultivated during rabi season in central, western & northwestern parts of country. (c) Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan are main producers of pulses crops.
Cotton: (a) It is grown in kharif season in semiarid areas of country. (b) Leading producers of this crop are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab & Haryana.
Jute: (a) It is a cash crop in West Bengal and adjoining eastern parts of country (b) West Bengal accounts for about three-fourths of production in country. Bihar and Assam are other jute growing areas.
Sugarcane: (a) Sugarcane is a crop in tropical areas. Under rainfed conditions, it is cultivated in subhumid and humid climates. But it is largely an irrigated crop in India. (b) India is second largest producer of sugarcane after Brazil. Uttar Pradesh produces about two-fifth of sugarcane in country. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are other leading producers of this crop.
Tea: (a) It is a plantation crop used as a beverage. (b) It is an indigenous crop of hills in northern China. (c) It is grown over undulating topography of hilly areas and well drained soils in humid and sub-humid tropics and sub-tropics. (d) In India, tea plantations started in 1840s in Brahmaputra valley of Assam which is leading tea producer area in country. Other leading producers are West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
Coffee: (a) Coffee is a tropical plantation crop. (b) There are three varieties of coffee i.e. arabica, robusta & liberica. India mostly grows superior quality coffee, arabica, which is in great demand in International market. (c) India produces 3.17% of world’s coffee and ranks 8th after Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Columbia, Honduras, Ethiopia & Peru in 2018. (d) Coffee is cultivated in highlands of Western Ghats in Karnataka, Kerala & Tamil Nadu. Karnataka is leading producer of coffee in India.

Agriculture Development in India
• Indian agricultural economy was largely subsistence in nature before Independence.
• During partition about one-third of irrigated land in undivided India went to Pakistan. After Independence, immediate goal of Government was to increase foodgrains production by:
1. Switching over from cash crops to food crops;
2. Intensification of cropping over already cultivated land; and
3. Increasing cultivated area by bringing cultivable and fallow land under plough.
• Intensive Agricultural District Programme (IADP) and Intensive Agricultural Area Programme (IAAP) were launched to overcome stagnant production during late 1950s.
• But two consecutive droughts during mid-1960s resulted in food crisis in country.
• New seed varieties of wheat (Mexico) and rice (Philippines) called high yielding varieties (HYVs) were available for cultivation by mid-1960s.
• India took advantage of this and introduced package technology comprising HYVs, along with chemical fertilisers.
• This spurt of agricultural growth came to be called ‘Green Revolution’.
• The Planning Commission of India focused its attention on problems of agriculture in rainfed areas in 1980s.
• Initiation of policy of liberalisation and free market economy in 1990s influenced course of development of Indian agriculture.

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
• It has been formulated with aim to make agriculture more productive, sustainable, and remunerative especially in rain fed areas,to focus on integrated farming, water use efficiency, adopt soil health management practices based on soil fertility maps and conserve natural resources through moisture conservation measures.
• Farmer’s portal of India: It is a platform for farmers to seek any information related to agriculture. Details of fertilisers, market prices, packages & practices, programmes, and welfare schemes are given .Users can download farm friendly hand book, scheme guidelines etc.

Problems of Indian Agriculture
• Dependence on Erratic Monsoon
• Low productivity
• Constraints of Financial Resources and Indebtedness
• Lack of Land Reforms
• Small Farm Size and Fragmentation of Landholdings
• Lack of Commercialisation
• Vast Underemployment
• Degradation of Cultivable Land

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