Brief notes on different Types of Agriculture done in India


(A) On the basis of size of land available:

(i) Intensive agriculture.

(ii)Extensive agriculture.


(B) On the basis of availability of water supply:

(i) Humid farming.

(ii) Irrigation farming.

(iii) Dry farming.


(C) On the basis of cropping system:

(i) Single crop agriculture.

(ii) Double crop agriculture.

(iii) Multiple crop agriculture.


(D) On the basis of volume of production:

(i) Primitive subsistence agriculture.

(a) Migratory Primitive agriculture.

(b) Sedentary primitive agriculture.


(ii) Commercial grain farming.

(iii) Plantation farming.

(E) On the basis of regions, where it is practised :

(i) Monsoon agriculture and


(ii) Mediterranean agriculture.

A.(i) Intensive Agriculture.

This type involves tine use of intensive labour or capital per unit area. This type of agriculture implies maximum use of manures and fertilizers, crops rotation, use of high yielding variety seeds, scientific breeding and feeding of livestock.

This results in higher yields. This system of agriculture is adopted in those areas, where land is scarce and density of population is high.

Intensive methods of agriculture are commonly used in the countries of Bangladesh, China, Myanmar, India and Vietnam. This system of farming is labour intensive without use of machines. It involves small sized land holdings.

(ii) Extensive Agriculture.

This type of agriculture is generally practised in those regions, where land is extensive and population is sparse or in other words where per capita land is large. In these vast open tracts of lands, the use of machinery is common.

In this type of agriculture, the main characteristics are large sized farms, extensive use of machinery and availability of cheap land. It is done on a large scale. It is mechanized and commercial.

This farming system is adopted by some selected farmers, who are rich, prosperous, intelligent and educated as in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. This system is adopted usually in the USA, Australia, Argentina etc., but very uncommon in India.

B | (i) Humid Farming.

Regions where there is plenty of rain-water for the use of agricultural crops, practise humid farming.

The parts of India, where rainfall is plenty, particularly in the northern parts of West Bengal and coastal districts of Maharashtra, humid farming is practised.

This type of farming is cheap because there is no necessity of developing irrigation facilities. This system ensures agricultural production to a large degree. These are areas of Black cotton soil and alluvial soils and areas of 100-200 cm rainfall.

(ii) Irrigation Farming.

Irrigation means artificial watering of the fields. Irrigation is required, when the natural supply of water is not sufficient for the proper growth of the crops.

This system of farming is practised in those regions of India, where the amount of rainfall is not sufficient for crop production as such provision of additional water to the crops becomes necessary. These are areas of black, loam and red soils and experiencing rainfall 50-100 cm a year.

In India, rainfall is seasonal and uneven. The Indian budget is known as gamble in monsoons.

Therefore, a well-developed irrigation system is the key to agriculture. In the northern parts of India, tube-wells and canals and in southern India, tanks play a significant role in promoting agriculture. Irrigation farming is practised in the Sutlej- Ganges Plain and a variety of crops are raised.

(iii) Dry Farming.

Dry farming is done in areas having rainfall less than 50 cm and very poor irrigational facilities. Under this system, land is terraced and divided into compartments and rain water is allowed to move under controlled conditions.

It generally needs an alternate year of crops and fallow, careful ploughing and repeated harrowing of the land in order to conserve soil moisture.

Thus, this method is laborious and expensive. Dry farming is practised in the areas of poor sandy soils experiencing rainfall less than 50 cm a year.

C (i) Single crop Agriculture.

When the farmer specializes in raising a single crop from the same field during a year, this type of farming is termed as single crop agriculture or mono-culture. For example, tea, coffee.

This type of farming involves extensive land, labour, capital and is completely commercial. The examples are Tea- Assam, Coffee-Kerala.

(ii) Double crop Agriculture.

It refers to that type of farming under which two crops are obtained from the same piece of land during a year e.g., wheat and maize during winter and summer respectively.

In India, where climatic conditions permit, double cropping (duo culture) is practised. The areas are N. Plain and S. Plateau, where rabi and kharif crops are grown on the same farm in a year.

(iii) Multiple crop Agriculture.

It involves intensive methods of cultivation viz. use of better seeds, manures and fertilizers, developed means of irrigation, crop rotation and scientific soil management.

These lead to rising of many crops from a single piece of land in a year. This type of farming is common in West Bengal, Kerala and East Bihar where fertile soils and sufficient moisture are available.

D (i) Migratory Primitive Agriculture.

This type of agriculture is as old as agriculture itself. It is practised generally in the tropical rain-forest regions of the world. In India it is common in North-eastern states of M.P, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Jharkhand etc.

It is practised by the tribals in remote parts of these states. Migratory primitive agriculture is named differently in different areas e.g., Jhum in Assam, Beera in M.P, Podu in A.P, and Ponam in Kerala.

The poor environmental conditions are responsible for this type of agriculture. The farmers lead a migratory type of life. They change their agricultural fields as well as place of living.

In this system, a piece of land is selected for cultivation of crops. The vegetation is cleared and a few crops are grown for the use of the family. The main crops grown are corn, potatoes, vegetables etc.

The land is used for 2-3 years and when it loses its fertility due to leaching of soil, these fields are abandoned. There is rotation of field instead of crops. In India, this type of agriculture is practised in North-eastern parts in the states of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram.

The farmers shift on account of poor environmental conditions, leaching of soil, high temperatures, high rainfall, high humidity, malarial climate, luxuriant growth of vegetation and fear from wild animals.

Agriculture is marked by:

(1) Selection of land.

(2) Clearing of vegetation.

(3) Burning of dry leaves.

(4) Worshipping and sacrificing.

(5) Cultivation with poor methods.

(6) Harvesting and thrashing.

(7) Merry making and feasting.

(8) Shifting.

The chief characteristics of migratory primitive farming are:

(i) It is the poorest type of agriculture.

(ii) The size of the farm is very small.

(iii) Primitive methods of agriculture are used. Farming is done manually.

(iv) It is purely subsistence.

(iii) The agricultural yields are low.

(ii) Sedentary Primitive Agriculture.

It is a primitve subsistence type of agriculture. Sedentary primitive agriculture is practised in the plateaus and the highland regions in the tropics and in certain patches of land in tropical low lands.

Unlike the migratory primitive agriculture, the farmers of sedentary and primitive agriculture lead a settled life. Development of mining, plantation farming and influence of developed agriculture have attributed to the development of sedentary farming. This type of farming is common in Chhotta Nagpur Plateau.

The farmers have started living permanently close to the mining centres and the plantations. These farmers are engaged in raising a few crops. The main crops are corn, peanuts, beans, sugarcane, bananas and potatoes.

Rearing of cattle, donkeys, goats, sheep and horses is also done by the farmers. The poultry farming is also practised.

This type of agriculture has certain characteristics:

(1) The methods of cultivation are intensive.

(2) The implements used are crude.

(3) Human labour is utilized.

(4) The yields are low.

(5) There is some rotation of crops.

(6) Manures and fertilizers arc rarely used.

(7) Poultry birds and other livestock arc domesticated.

(8) It is a purely subsistence type of agriculture.

(iii) Plantation Farming.

Plantation farming is a distinct type of farming and is not very old. Its origin goes back to the time of colonization of hot and humid parts of the tropical regions like India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, East and West Africa.

Plantation farming is related to the growing, processing and disposing of a single cash crop. It is monoculture viz. in a tea-plantation only tea is grown and in coffee plantation, just coffee is grown.

Development of plantation agriculture has been favoured by a variety of geographical and economic factors like excellent climate, availability of cheap labour, development of means of transportation and presence of market.

Plantation agriculture involves large sized farms, huge capital investments and efficient management. It is purely commercial.

The most important plantation crops are tea, coffee, rubber, banana, cocoa, sugarcane etc. Plantation agriculture has certain characteristics:

It is a well organized and a specialized agricultural activity. This type of farming is done in parts of West Bengal, Assam, Nilgiri Hills of Karnataka, Hill lands of T.N. and Kerala.

E. (i) Monsoon Agriculture.

This type of farming is practised in the monsoon regions of the world like India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Bangladesh.

Although, in the monsoon regions a number of crops arc raised, yet rice predominates and the welfare of millions of farmers of monsoon lands depends upon the success of this crop. In these regions, rice occupies maximum share of the land use.

Rice is grown everywhere in the deltas, flood plains, coastal plains and hilly terraces. Although most of the rice is grown in low lands, it is intensively grown on the hilly terraces also.

Irrigation facilities have helped raising two to three crops in a year. Rice cultivation has been favoured by favourable climate, fertile alluvial soils, flat topography and availability of plenty of cheap labour.

Monsoon agriculture has the following characteristics:

1. It is a distinct type of agriculture.

2. The fields are small, scattered and fragmented.

3. Methods of farming are highly intensive.

4. Rice is the principal crop.

5. Irrigation plays a significant role.

6. It is subsistence type of agriculture.

(ii) Mediterranean Agriculture.

Mediterranean agriculture, as its name implies is carried on in the regions, close to the Mediterranean sea. Elsewhere, this type of agriculture is done in some parts of Arizona and California states of the U.S.A.; in central Chile, in the south-western tip of Africa and south-western parts of Australia.

This type of agriculture is done roughly between 30°N-45°N and 30°S-45°S of the equator in the western margins of the continents besides the countries near to Mediterranean Sea.

Mediterranean agriculture responds to Mediterranean climate, which is characterized by one of hot, dry, sunny summers and warm moist winters.

Since in these Mediterranean regions summers are hot and dry as such for the success of the summer crops, irrigation is badly required. The soils in these regions are thin and stony except those in the deltas and flat areas, where alluvial soils predominate.

These alluvial soils are intensively cultivated. Agricultural practices are fairly advanced. The size of land holding is small; hill terracing is a common feature. In the mountainous regions transhumance is practised.

In the Mediterranean lands cereals are grown for subsistence whereas, fruit and vegetable farming is practised for commercial purposes. Mediterranean agriculture has some distinct features.

(i) Cultivation of wheat, barley and vegetables in the mild moist winters with rainfall.

(ii) Raising of summer crops including rice, vegetables and fruits with the help of irrigation.

(Hi) Growing of tree crops like olives, figs, dates, etc. without irrigation.

(iv) Domestication of some cattle particularly sheep, goat and poultry birds.

Mediterranean agriculture is fairly an advanced type of farming. A variety of crops are raised. Fruit farming, sericulture and floriculture arc a speciality and constitute an important export from these lands. The regions are known for citrus fruits, vines, peaches and other fruits.

Mixed Farming.

Mixed farming is a system of farming in which a farmer combines growing of agricultural crops like corn, wheat, barley, oats, rye, root crops etc. with some other subsidiary occupation such as domestication of livestock, growing of fruits and vegetables, keeping of poultry birds, rearing of silk worms etc.

In short, mixed farming is growing of crops and rising of animals on the same farm. This farming pattern is common in Punjab, Haryana and E. Rajasthan, U.P and some other parts.

Mixed farming has certain characteristics. These are:

(i) Farmers engaged in mixed farming are generally rich and prosperous because they get income from different sources.

(ii) Mixed farming provides greater economic security to a farmer as compared to a farmer growing single crop.

The importance of agriculture can hardly be exaggerated. Though modern age is an industrial one, yet agriculture is still the backbone of Indian economy. Agriculture is still a major occupation adopted in India though crop pattern, productivity method of farming vary from region to region because of spatial variations in the country.

Nearly 65% people of India are engaged in agriculture. Land is the most important resource of India and its use is dominated by agriculture. This country had a vast territorial extent containing plains 43%, plateau 28%, hills and mountains 29%.

The present land use pattern has been affected by relief, soil, climate and human efforts and achievements in the form of development of farm science and technology. In respect of area under agriculture, 14-2 crore hectares or over 46% of the total reported area, India leads in the world.

In terms of fertilizer consumption India ranks fourth in the world after the USA, CIS and China. India has the largest area under pulses.

There exists three crop seasons in India:

(i) Kharif

(ii) Rabi

(iii) Summer

Main kharif crops are:

rice, jowar, bajra, maize, cotton, sugarcane, sesame and groundnuts.

Main rabi crops are:

wheat, jowar, barley, grams, linsead and mustard.

Rice, maize and groundnut are grown in summer season also.

Land Use Classification of India.

With a geographical area of 3287-3 million hectares, the agricultural sector contributes about 26% of Gross Domestic Product and accounts for 18% share of the total value of India’s exports.

Per capita availability of food grains rose to 467 grams per day in 1999-2000 as against 395 grams in the fifties.

(1) Cultivated Area.

The net sown area in the country stands at 46-7% of the total area. It has undergone an upward trend since 1950-51, when it was 42-6% only

The increase in cultivated area is on account of Reclamation of user, barren and bad-lands. The fallow lands have been put to use.

(2) Area under Forests.

Forests account for nearly 22% of the total reported area. Area under forests had gone up from 404.8 lakh hectares in 1950-51 to 688.5 lakh hectares in 1997-98. State wise percent figures are :

(3) Permanent Pastures and Grazing Lands.

This category covers only 4% of area of the country. Most of the country covers very little area under this class.

(4) Gardens, Orchard etc.

They account for 1.5 % of the total land area of the country. Most of the states have negligible percentage of this class except those like.

(5) Land not available for Cultivation.

Nearly 13% of the land in this country falls under this category. The % figures vary from state to state.

(6) Fallow Land .

Occupy 7% of the total area. These are lands, which are not being cultivated at present. Some land is purposely kept fallow so that it may regain its fertility in a natural manner.

Fallow land figures of some states are as follows:

Mizoram 21%

Tamil Nadu 15%

Bihar 14%

Rajasthan 12%

A. P. 12%

Karnataka 8%

Meghalaya 15%

(7)Cultivable Waste.

These are user, reh, bhur, khola lands, which were cultivated at on one time but now abandoned on account of loss of fertility. Nearly 5% land of India falls under this category.

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