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All About Indian Agriculture

Rural incomes support nearly three-quarters of India's families. To meet the demands of a growing population with rising incomes, India's food security depends on increasing production of cereal crops along with increasing production of fruits, vegetables, and milk.

Shruti Kandwal
Intensive Farming is a farming system that employs a large amount of labor and capital in relation to land area.
Intensive Farming is a farming system that employs a large amount of labor and capital in relation to land area.

Agriculture being the primary source of livelihood for the majority of the population is an important sector of the Indian economy. The contribution to GDP through agriculture is estimated to be around 17% and it also provides employment to over 60% of the population.

India is the world’s largest producer of milk, pulses, and jute, and ranks as the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruits, and cotton. It is also a major producer of spices, fish, poultry, livestock, and plantation crops.

The Indian food industry has enormous growth potential. Its annual contribution to the world food trade grows as a result of its enormous potential for value addition, particularly in the food processing industry. India ranks 6th in the world grocery market, with retail accounting for 70% of total sales. The food processing industry contributes 32% of the total food market in the country. It is one of India’s most important industries.

Types of Agriculture in India

In India, farming systems range from subsistence farming to organic farming to industrial or commercial farming. Farming in India varies substantially due to the climate variations across the country.

1. Subsistence Farming: Subsistence farming is practiced by the vast majority of farmers in India. This entails growing food for one’s own consumption. In other words, the entire crop is consumed by the farmers and their families, and there is no surplus to sell in the local market. 

The entire family works on the farm and the majority of the agricultural work is done manually. There is a complete lack of modern farm equipment, such as tractors, as well as farm inputs such as chemical fertilizers.

2. Shifting Agriculture: Shifting Agriculture is a type of farming in which farmers cultivate the land for two or three seasons. Then they abandon the land allowing vegetables to grow freely. Farmers then relocate to a new location. When the soil shows signs of exhaustion or, more commonly, when the field is overrun by weeds, that’s when the period of cultivation ends. The slash-and-burn method of shifting agriculture leaves only trunks and large trees in the field after standing vegetation has been cut down and burned, with the ashes enriching the soil.

3. Intensive Agriculture: A farming system that employs a large amount of labor and capital in relation to land area. This typically entails the use of fertilizers, and pesticides on a large scale that increase the yield, as well as the purchase and use of machinery to aid in planting, chemical application, and picking. It is also known as industrial agriculture.

4. Terrace Agriculture: It is a farming method in which “steps” known as terraces are created onto the slopes of hills and mountains to cultivate crops. Terrace farming prevents rain from washing away soil nutrients which results in the growth of healthy crops. This farming method has enabled crop cultivation in hilly or mountainous areas.

5. Plantation Agriculture: Plantation agriculture is a type of commercial farming in which growing crops for profit is the primary goal. The way crops are developed for profit implies that a large amount of land is required to make plantation farming profitable.

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