Since long ago, agriculture has been associated with the production of basic food crops. At present agriculture, besides farming includes forestry, fruit cultivation, dairy, poultry, mushroom, bee keeping, arbitrary, etc. Today, marketing, processing, distribution of agricultural products etc. are all accepted as a part of modern agriculture. Agriculture plays a crucial role in the life of an economy. It is the backbone of our economic system. The following facts clearly highlight the importance of INDIA. 1. Source of Livelihood:
In India the main occupation of our working population is agriculture. About 70 per cent of our population is directly engaged in agriculture. 2. Contribution to National Income:
Agriculture is the premier source of our national income. According to National Income Committee, in:- 1960-61, 52% national income was contributed.
1976-77, contributed 42.2 per cent
1981-82, its contribution was 41.8 per cent.
2001-02, it contributed around 32.4 per cent
3. Supply of Food and Fodder:
Agriculture sector also provides fodder for livestock. Moreover, it also meets the food requirements of the people. 4. Importance in International Trade:
Agricultural products like tea, sugar, rice, tobacco, spices etc. constitute the main items of exports of India. 6. Source of Raw Material:
Agriculture has been the source of raw materials to the leading industries like cotton and jute textiles, sugar, tobacco, edible and non-edible oils etc. All these depend directly on agriculture.
9. Vast Employment Opportunities:
With the fast growing population and high incidence of unemployment the agricultural sector is significant as it provides greater employment opportunities in the construction of irrigation projects, drainage system and other such activities. 13. Basis of Economic Development:
The development of agriculture provides necessary capital for the development of other sectors like industry, transport and foreign trade. TYPES OF FARMING
It is also commonly called ‘slash and burn agriculture’. It is used in areas where Soil has low nutrient levels. An area for cultivation is selected and then it is burned so that the required nutrients for the crop to grow are maintained and biomass is converted to useful inorganic ash. Then nth chosen crops are sown. Then the land is given a period of rest called ’fallow’. Then the same process continues until the land is wearied of nutrients(i.e. about 5-6 yrs). This type of farming usually depends on the type of soil, rain and most importantly climatic conditions. It is done using primitive tools like hoe, hull, dagger, dao, etc. and requires a lot of labour. Such crops are not produced in a large quantity and farmers grow crops only to sustain their family with little or no intention of selling them. The famer does not use chemical fertilizers or modern inputs, thus the production is low. TRADITIONAL FARMING
Traditional farming represents the original method of farming. This type of farming uses extensive local knowledge and natural resources so that no harm is caused to biodiversity. Such farmers maintain soil fertility and prevent erosion of topsoil. There are many methods of traditional farming namely:- Nomadic Pastoralism
It is the practice of raising domesticated animals like goat, sheep, cattle, etc. All humans practicing this method live off entirely on animal products like fat, meat, milk, etc. These people are constantly in use of new grounds for their animals to feed. Mixed Sustenance Farming
This can provide a very stable farming platform, where plants and animals work together to support each other. The plant waste that cannot be used by humans is used as fodder for animals and their waste acts as natural manure. This type of farming is usually the most productive and sustainable compared to any other type. COMMERCIAL FARMING
It is a type of large-scale farming of crops to sell them to wholesalers or retailers. Crops such as wheat, maize, rice, tea, etc. are harvested and sold worldwide in international markets. Due to its extensive nature modern machines and use of chemical fertilizers is required thus increasing the capital. Due to its large capital, it is mainly practiced by large companies or rich farmers. Yield as well as profit is high due to the use of modern techniques and hybrid varieties of seeds. Commercial farming started with the advent of the Green Revolution and production in India increased by 50% during the years 1970-1990. In today’s world Hybridization is very important to increase the yield of crops. Many varieties of hybrid seeds are now available which are disease resistant, healthier and give more yields.
FIVE YEAR PLANS
First Plan (1951-1956)
The First Five-year Plan was launched in 1951 which mainly focused in development of the agricultural. The total planned budget of Rs.2069 crore was allocated to seven areas: irrigation and energy (27.2%), agriculture17.4%), transport and communications (24%), industry (8.4%), social services (16.40%), land rehabilitation (4.1%), and for other sectors (2.5%). The monsoon was good and there were relatively high crop yields.
Second Plan (1956-1961)
The Second Plan stressed on the development of the sector. Hydroelectric projects and five steel plants at Bhilai, Durgapur, and Rourkela were established. The total amount allocated under the Second Five-Year Plan in India was Rs.48 billion. This amount was allocated among various sectors: power and irrigation, social services, communications and transport, and very less amount was allocated towards agriculture due to the other increasing problems.
Third Plan (1961–1966)
The Third Five-year Plan stressed on agriculture and improvement in the production of wheat, but the Sino-Indian War of 1962 led to weakness in the
economy and the plan stressed on the defense industry of India although equal priority was given to agriculture and industrial sector. PROBLEMS FACED
The major problems confronted by the Indian agriculture are as follows (a) Population Pressure:
India has a huge population of over one billion and it is increasing at a very fast rate. According to 2012census figures the overall density of population is 3264 persons per sq. km. Every bit of land has been used up for construction of commercial sites. (b) Small and Fragmented Land Holdings:
Dividing a small plot of land due to increasing population has resulted in a small piece of land getting fragmented further. The small size of such holdings makes farming activity uneconomical and leads to less productivity and eventually less income. (c) Inadequate Irrigation Facilities:
In India irrigation facilities are not adequate at all. Almost all fields, owned by poor farmers, are left to get naturally irrigated by the monsoons(except those owned by rich farmers and companies). (d) Depleted Soils:
Farming has been a tradition of India for over 1000 years which has resulted in the decrease in fertility of soil and deforestation has led to erosion of the fertile soil giving less productivity. (e) Storage of food grains:
Storage of abundant food grains is a huge problem faced by Indians. Almost 10-12% of our harvest of food grains goes waste due to no proper storage. (f) Farm Implements:
In some parts of the country mechanization of farming has taken place, but most of the farmers are poor and cannot afford to purchase and use modern tools. This hampers agriculture.
Forests-86.1…Non agriculture-21.8…barren/Uncultivable-20.1…Permanent pasture/grazing-12…Fallow-24..Cropped area-142.5(Food grain-123.5; Rainfed-89)
In agriculture, multiple cropping is the practice of growing two or more crops in the same field during a single sowing season. There are many types of multiple cropping schemes that the government has introduced in India. They are:- Double-cropping, in which a second crop is planted after the first has been harvested. This helps in restoring the nutrients that have been used up by the plant. Relay cropping, in which a second crop is started amidst the first crop before it has been harvested. This ensures bountiful harvest as well as keeps crops healthy. Intercropping, where an additional crop is planted in the spaces available between the main crop. This helps in keeping away pests.
Intensive agriculture area program(1964)
The main objective of the IAAP was that “greater emphasis should be given to scientific agriculture in an intensive manner in areas with high production potentials”. The emphasis was on important crops such as Wheat, Rice, cotton, etc. High yielding variety program(1966)
The main motive of the program was to increase the productivity of food grains by adopting new high yielding varieties of improved seeds. The HYVP introduced :-High-yielding varieties of seeds, increased use of fertilizers, increased irrigation. These three are collectively known as the Green Revolution. National agricultural innovation project(2006)
The NAIP is contributing to the transformation of the agricultural sector to more of a market to get rid of poverty and improve income. The main aim is to make people aware about how agriculture can be taken to an international level through technological innovations.
SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
Some Major River Valley Projects
Bhakra Nangal Project
On Sutlej in Punjab. Highest in India.Ht. 226m. Reservoir is called Gobind Sagar Lake. Chambal Valley Project
On Chambal in MP & Rajasthan, 3 dams are there:- Gandhi Sagar Dam, Rana Pratap Sagar Dam and Jawahar Sagar Dam Damodar Valley Project
On Damodar in Bihar, Based on Tennessee Valley Project USA
On Mahanadi in Orrisa, World’s Longest Dam: 4801m
On Kosi in N.Bihar
On Tugabhadra in Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka
Sardar Sarovar Project
On Narmada, Gujarat/MP.
Due to the magnitude of floods in 1978, a project of flood prone rivers was started to prevent further casualties. SOIL
During the 7th five year plan, the government decided to take careful measures towards soil conservation. The scheme of reclamation of alkali soil in Punjab, Haryana, and U.P. took place. During the 9th plan this scheme was approved and being practiced in all states. It aimed at improving conditions of alkali soils for better production of crops. GREEN REVOLUTION
Well-known agronomist, Dr. M S Swaminathan led the Green Revolution in India. India was in the middle of a food crisis in the mid 60’s. The food economy was falling down very fast. The domestic production of wheat had gone down to about only 12 million tons(from 23 million tons) due to inflation. About the same had to be imported from the US.
The introduction of high-yielding varieties of wheat like Lerma Rojo and Sonora 64 during the mid-’60s with farm technology and chemical fertilizers brought about the green revolution.