Importance, history, major crops and features of agriculture in India:

Importance of Agriculture in Indian Economy: Agriculture sector is the basic pillar of the Indian economy. This sector also provides primary products for secondary industries. Since the invention of agriculture, crops have been of great importance in the lives of many human beings. Agriculture has got a respectable status in the national economy due to various programs and efforts run by various five year plans. About 64% of the workers are employed in the agriculture sector.

The share of agriculture in total domestic product was 59.2% in 1950-51, which increased to 36.4% in 1982-83 and 34.9% in 1990-91 and 25% in 2001-2002. It fell to an average of 18.5 per cent during the period 2006-07. In northern India, Pakistan and Nepal, the rabi harvest and the kharif crop are the two major events that largely determine the rural life of these regions. Similarly, crops based on local weather, soil, vegetation and water in other places have a profound effect on the life-forms there.

History of Agriculture in India:.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. Agriculture in India has been done since the time of Indus Valley Civilization. Agriculture in India used traditional seeds which had relatively low yields till the mid-1960s. They had little need for irrigation. Farmers used cow dung as fertilizers. The use of high yielding seeds started after 1960

This increased irrigation and the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Irrigation was required more in this agriculture. Along with this, there was a considerable increase in the production of wheat and rice, due to which it was also called Green Revolution. The share of agriculture and allied activities (such as forestry) in the Indian economy in 2007 was 16.6% in GDP. Different types of crops are produced in different seasons in India.

Mainly 3 cropping seasons are found here:-

  1. Kharif crop
  2. Rabi crop
  3. Zaid crop

1. What is called Rabi crop?

The winter season crops are called Rabi. These crops require low temperature at the time of sowing and dry and warm environment at the time of ripening. These crops are generally sown in the months of October-November.

  • Planting time of Rabi crop: October to December.
  • Harvesting time of Rabi crop: February to April.
  • Major Rabi crops: Wheat, Barley, Oats, Peas, Gram, Mustard, Berseem, Potato, Lentil, Lucerne, etc.

2. What is called Kharif crop?

The rainy season crops are called Kharif. These crops require high temperature and humidity at the time of sowing and dry environment at the time of ripening. In North India, they are sown in June-July and they are harvested around October.

  • Planting time of Kharif crop: May to July
  • Harvest time of Kharif crop: September to October
  • Major Kharif crops: Jowar, Bajra, Paddy, Maize, Moong, Soyabean, Cowpea, Groundnut, Cotton, Jute, Sugarcane, Tobacco, etc.

3. What is the crop of Zayed called?

After Kharif and Rabi crops, zayed crop is grown in some areas through artificial irrigation throughout the year. The crops of this class have good ability to tolerate high heat and dry winds. In North India, these crops are mainly sown in March-April. It is kept in two categories which can be understood from the table.

Zayed Kharif:

  • Seeding time: August to September
  • Harvesting time of crops: December to January
  • Major Crops: Paddy, Jowar, Rapeseed, Cotton, Oilseeds, etc.

Zayed Rabi:

  • Seeding time: February to March
  • Harvesting time of crops: April to May
  • Major Crops: Melon, Watermelon, Cucumber, Moong, Cowpea, Leafy Vegetables, etc.

What are commercial crops called?

Those crops whose main purpose of growing is to earn money by doing business. Which the farmers either sell wholly or use partially and the rest sells a large part.

The main commercial crops are as follows:-

  • Oilseeds: Groundnut, Mustard, Sesame, Flaxseed, Egg, Sunflower.
  • Sugar crops: Sugarcane, sugar beet.
  • Fiber crops: jute, mesta, linen and cotton.
  • Stimulant crops: Tobacco.
  • Beverage Crops: Tea and Kahwa.

Salient features of Indian agriculture:

  • Major part of Indian agriculture depends on monsoon for irrigation.
  • An important feature of Indian agriculture is the abundance of holding units and the reduction in their size.
  • In Indian agriculture, the total area under cultivation is divided into blocks and all the blocks are located at a distance.
  • There is a heavy burden of population directly and indirectly on the land.
  • Agricultural production mainly depends on nature.
  • Indian farmer reduces capital investment in agriculture due to poverty.
  • Priority is given to food production.
  • Agriculture is considered a means of livelihood
  • Most of the agricultural work in Indian agriculture depends on animals.

Main crops of India :
India is an agricultural country and many types of crops are grown here. Here we have given important general knowledge information about the major crops of India:-

  • Rice Crop: Rice is the most widely grown crop in India. 75 cm for growing rice. 200 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature of rice should be 20 °C at the time of sowing and 27 °C at the time of harvesting. Clay, alluvial and loamy soils are considered suitable for rice cultivation. Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are the major rice producing states.
  • Wheat Crop: Wheat is the most preferred crop of North India. 25 cm for growing wheat. 75 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature of rice should be 10 °C at the time of sowing and 25 °C at the time of harvesting. Clay and light loamy soils are considered suitable for the cultivation of wheat. Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are the major wheat producing states.
  • Jowar Crop: Jowar is one of the major crops of India. 30 cm for growing jowar. 100 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 21 degree Celsius at the time of sowing and 25 degree Celsius at the time of harvesting. Light loamy soils are considered suitable for rice cultivation. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu are the major producing states of jowar.
  • Millet Crop: Bajra is one of the major crops of India. For growing millet 50 cm. 70 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 25 °C while sowing millet and 35 °C at the time of harvesting. The sandy soil is considered suitable for the cultivation of millet. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are the major producing states of Bajra.
  • Maize Crop: Maize is one of the major crops of India. To grow maize 50 cm. 100 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 25 degree celsius while sowing maize and 30 degree celcius at the time of harvesting. Deep loamy soils are considered suitable for maize cultivation. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Rajasthan are the major producing states of maize.
  • Groundnut Crop: Groundnut is one of the major crops of India. 75 cm for growing groundnut. 150 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 15 °C at the time of sowing groundnut and 25 °C at the time of harvesting. Light sandy soil is considered suitable for groundnut cultivation. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh are the major producing states of groundnut.
  • Tea Crop: Tea is one of the major crops of India. 200 cm for growing tea. 300 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 24 °C at the time of sowing tea and 30 °C at the time of harvesting. Light and fertile soils are considered suitable for tea plantations. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh are the major tea producing states.
  • Cotton Crop: Cotton is one of the major crops of India. To grow cotton, 50 cm. 100 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature of cotton should be 20 °C at the time of sowing and 40 °C at the time of harvesting. Deep and medium black soils are considered suitable for cotton cultivation. Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Haryana are the major cotton producing states.
  • Sugarcane Crop: Sugarcane is one of the major crops of India. 100 cm for growing sugarcane. 150 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 30 degree celcius while sowing sugarcane and 35 degree celcius at the time of cutting. Loamy or moist, deep and clay soils are considered suitable for sugarcane cultivation. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are the major sugarcane producing states.
  • Jute Crop: Jute is one of the major crops of India. 100 cm for growing jute. 200 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 25 degree celcius while sowing jute and 35 degree celcius at the time of harvesting. The trembling soil is considered suitable for the cultivation of jute. West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are the major producing states of jute.
  • Mustard Crop: Mustard is one of the major crops of India. 75 cm for mustard cultivation. 150 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 20 degree celcius while sowing and harvesting mustard. Loamy soil is considered suitable for mustard cultivation. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Punjab and Assam are the major mustard producing states.
  • Rapeseed Crop: Rapeseed is one of the major crops of India. To grow rapeseed 75 cm. 150 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 20 degree celcius while sowing and harvesting rapeseed. Loamy soils are considered suitable for rapeseed cultivation. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Punjab and Assam are the major producing states of rapeseed.
  • Chickpea Crop: Chana is one of the major crops of India. To grow gram, 100 cm. 200 cm from Rainfall is required. The temperature should be 25 degree Celsius at the time of sowing gram and 35 degree Celsius at the time of harvesting. Light loamy and clay soils are considered suitable for gram cultivation. Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Maharashtra are the major producing states of gram.

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Agriculture is considered to be the backbone of Indian economy. Agriculture has got a dignified status in the national economy due to various programs and efforts being run by various five year plans. About 64% of the workers are employed in the agricultural sectors.

Pea crops enrich the soil with nitrogen. Peas and beans are nitrogen-fixing crops and are therefore called legumes. They fix nitrogen in the soil by nitrogen-fixing bacteria called Rhizobium, which is present in their roots.

South Indian states are the major producers of coffee in India which include Karnataka 53%, Kerala 28%, Tamil Nadu 11% and rest of the other states are Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Assam and Tripura. The hilly terrain and good monsoon in the region make it the best place for important varieties of coffee and tea plantations.

Due to continuous cultivation of only one crop in a field, less yield is obtained and the fertility of the land deteriorates, due to which it is protected. Crop rotation increases soil fertility, increases the carbon-nitrogen ratio in the soil. Soil erosion is prevented.

Out of the total area of crops in India, Rice Wheat Crop Area (Lakh Hectare) Production (Million Tonnes) Yield (Kg/Ha) has been estimated to be more. 1.16 The total coverage area under Kharif foodgrains in the year 2019-20 is estimated to be 694.35 lakh hectare (as per First Advance Estimates).

  Last update :  Tue 1 Nov 2022
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