In recent years a new dimension to agricultural planning has been added through agro-climatic regionalisation. These regions, taking into account the salient features of regional climate at meso and micro level, help in evolving suitable crop land use and agricultural practice to obtain optimum farm output.
The prime objectives of agro-climatic regional planning are to optimize agricultural production, increase farm income and create more employment opportunities through the scientific utilisation of agricultural and allied resources.
The potential for growth and diversification would be fully exploited taking a holistic view of the climate, soil type, topography, water resources and irrigation facilities and relating them to the requirements of output and employment.
The Platanning Commission of India (1989) has laid down following 4 objectives for agro-climatic regional planning : (a) Attempt a broad de- mand-supply balance of major commodities at the national level but based on a careful analysis of potential and prospects of various zones; (b) maximise net income of producers; (c) generate additional employment, particularly of landless labourers, and (d) provide the framework for the scientific and sustainable use of our natural resources, particularly land, water and forests, in the long run.
Taking above objectives in mind the Planning Commission (1989) has divided India into 15 major agro-climatic regions delineated on the basis of a commonality of agro-climatic factors like soil type, rainfall, temperature, water resources, etc.
In this innovative approach, based on agro-climatic zones, an overall development profile of each region is formulated through an optimal mix of land stock management, crop production, animal husbandry, aquaculture, horticulture, forestry and agro-processing activities. Table 13.II presents the general characteristics of different agro-climatic regions:
Zonal Characterisation in the Form of Typologies
1. Rich water and soil resources, high land productivity (major crops), moderate VI population pressure on land.
2. Rich soil and water resources, medium productivity level and moderate population pressure on land, deteriorating environment with respect to land quality.
3. Rich water and soil resources, low productivity level, high population pressure on III & IV land, increasing proportion of problem soils.
4. Large volume of land and water resources, very low productivity of land with VII & VIII predominance of subsistence agriculture, low population pressure, high proportion of problem soils.
5. Less favourable soil and water resources, low and productivity, low to medium IX & X population pressure, deteriorating environment in respect of soil erosion and water quality.
6. Rich water resources but relatively poor land, medium land productivity, medium XI, XII to high population pressure, fragile eco-system. & XV
7. Less favourable land and water resources, low land productivity, low pressure on I & II land and fragile eco-system.
8. Semi-arid to arid conditions, moderately good land quality and productivity, mode- XIII rate population pressure on land.
9. Arid conditions, large but less fertile soil resources, very low land productivity, low XIV population pressure and fragile eco-system.