Short essay on the Physical Factors that affects Agriculture


Agriculture, in India, is influenced basset physical, institutional and technological factors. Wh1 physical factors deal primarily with topography mate, soil etc the institutional factors refer to the s’ of farm holdings, land tenure system etc. Similar technological factors include irrigation, use of hi yielding variety of seeds, fertilisers, farm machinery insecticides etc.

These factors collectively have impact on the level of agricultural development an output of agricultural production in a region. Abri review of these factors is given here.

Physical Factors


It is the physical factors which have t’ impact on the agricultural typology, cropping pal tern, crop intensity and agricultural productivity Although man has been able to find out solution f various problems associated with physical fact but these are relevant only for a limited area e, extension of agricultural lands to arid and semi-a ‘ areas through irrigation, restoring soil fertility loss through manures and fertilisers and protecting crops from the pests and diseases through pesticides and chemicals. Among these physical factors relief, cli­mate and soil are very important.

Relief-Relief is the difference of height be­tween the highest and the lowest points in the region. It is expressed in terms of height from sea level and gradient. Generally plains owing to their low alti­tude and gentle slope are preferred for agriculture.

That is why the Ganga plain is an area of intensive agriculture. On the contrary, plateau and hilly areas owing to paucity of level land, thin soil cover, steep gradient accelerating soil erosion, less temperature affecting plant growth and lack of transport and communication facilities are not considered ideal for agriculture.

Here agriculture is limited to gentle hill slopes (terraced farming) and in valley bottoms up to certain altitude. Instead these areas provide good pastures for animal husbandry. But the south­ern plateau of India due to its low altitude, flat table land and thick and fertile soil cover promotes agri­culture. Similarly, orchards, plantations and pas­tures are seen in Himalayan region along with ter­raced fields.


Climate-Climate through its elements like temperature (sun light, cloudiness, and frost free days), rainfall and winds etc. affects agricultural opera­tions in a region. Located in the Torrid Zone India receives enough solar radiation to sustain agricul­tural activities. But the high variability of rainfall in place and time adversely affects agricultural pros­pects. Since about 60 per cent of cropped area is still rain-fed the timely arrival and good monsoon yield rich agricultural harvests.

The failure of monsoon leads to drought and famine and badly affects the agricultural prospects leading to food scarcity. Simi­larly excess of rainfall causes floods and water logging damaging the standing crops. In India about 46 million hectares (14 per cent) come under flood prone and waterlogged areas and annual loss due to floods runs into crores of rupees.

Soils-it is probably the most important de­termining physical factor, not only because it sup­ports all kinds of plant life but it also determines the cropping pattern, cropping intensity and crop-yield. A fertile soil owing to rich agricultural harvests is always preferred for agricultural activities while a degraded soil facing the problems of erosion, low fertility, salinity and alkalinity ultimately turns the area into ravine and barren lands. In India about 12 million hectares of land (3.64% of the country’s area) is plagued with the problems of soil salinity, alkalinity and gully erosion.

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