Geography Chapter 4: Agriculture

Types of Farming

Primitive Subsistence Farming

  • Practiced on small patches of land.
  • Involves family/community labour.
  • Uses primitive tools such as hoe, digging sticks etc.
  • Predominance of manual labour.
  • Dependent on rainfall for irrigation.
  • Artificial fertilizers and technology is not used.

Slash and burn agriculture: It is a primitive system of farming in which a piece of land is cleared of vegetation by slashing and burning and is then cultivated. When the fertility of soil decreases, farmers leave that land and move to a new piece of land. This allows the left land to regain its fertility naturally. It is widely prevalent among the tribes of Assam, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh and Andaman Nicobar Islands. It is also called ‘jhumming’ or shifting cultivation.

Intensive Subsistence Farming

  • Practiced in areas of high population density.
  • Maximum output is generated from a small piece of land for meeting the demands of a large population.
  • Labour intensive farming.
  • High doses of chemical fertilizers and irrigation are used for increasing production.

Commercial Farming

  • Use of HYV seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Done for profit motive.
  • Cash crops instead of food crops are cultivated.

Plantation: It is a form of commercial farming in which a single crop is grown over a large tract of land.

  • Tea, coffee, rubber, sugarcane etc. are all commercial crops.

Cropping Seasons









Wheat, barley, peas, gram, mustard

Punjab, Haryana, U.P., J & K




Paddy, maize,  

Assam, W.



jowar, bajra, moong, urad, jute, cotton, groundnut

Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, U.P.




Mango, watermelon, cucumber, vegetables

UP, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra, Bihar


  • Staple diet of India.
  • India ranks second in the world in terms of rice production after China.
  • Kharif crop.
  • Temperature: Above 25° C and high humidity
  • Rainfall: Above 100 cm
  • Major rice producing areas are West Bengal, U.P., Bihar, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.


  • Main food crop of northern India.
  • Rabi crop.
  • Requires cold climate and bright sunshine.
  • Rainfall: 50 to 75 cm
  • Major wheat producing areas are Punjab, Haryana, U.P., Bihar, Rajasthan and M.P.


  • Jowar, bajra and ragi are the important millets.
  • Jowar
  • Third most important crop in terms of production.
  • Grows well in moist areas.
  • Largest producer is Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and M.P.


  • Grows well on sandy soil and black soil.
  • Largest producer is Rajasthan, followed by U.P., Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
  • Ragi
  • Grows well on red, black, sandy, loamy and black soil.
  • Largest producer is Karnataka, followed by Tamil Nadu.
  • Rich in iron and calcium.


  • Used as both food and fodder.
  • Temperature: 21°C to 27°C
  • Grows well on old alluvial soil.
  • Major producers are Karnataka, U.P., Bihar, M.P. and Andhra Pradesh.


  • India is the largest producer and consumer of pulses.
  • Rich in proteins.
  • Important pulses of India are tur, urad, moong, masur, peas and gram.
  • Help in nitrogen fixation, which improves the fertility of soil.
  • Grown in M.P., U.P., Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka.


  • Tropical as well as subtropical crop.
  • Grows well in hot and humid climate.
  • Temperature: 21° to 27°C
  • Rainfall: 75 to 100 cm
  • India is the second largest producer after Brazil.
  • Sugar, jaggery and molasses are produced from sugarcane.
  • Grown in U.P., Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.

Oil Seeds

  • India is the largest producer all over the world.
  • Major oil seeds are groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesame, soyabean, sunflower and cotton seeds.
  • Used as cooking oil, ointment and in the production of soaps and cosmetics.


  • Largest grown oil seed in India.
  • Largest producer is Andhra Pradesh, followed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra.


  • Plantation crop.
  • Beverage crop introduced by the British.
  • Grows well in tropical and sub-tropical climate on fertile soil.
  • Labour intensive farming is required.
  • Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
  • India is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of tea in the world.


  • India accounts for 4% of the world’s coffee production.
  • Two varieties of coffee namely, Arabica and Robusta are grown in India.
  • Grown in Nilgiri hills of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Horticulture Crops

  • India is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables.


  • Grown in Maharashtra, U.P., Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.


  • Grown in Nagpur and Cherapunjee.


  • Grown in Kerala, Mizoram, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Apples, Pears And Apricots

  • Grown in J&K and Himachal Pradesh.


  • Equatorial crop but can also grow in tropical climate.
  • Requires moist and humid climate.
  • Rainfall: Above 200 cm
  • Temperature: Above 25°C
  • Grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andaman.
  • India is the fifth largest producer of natural rubber.

Fibre Crops

  • Cotton, jute, silk and hemp are the fibre crops grown in India.


  • India ranks third in terms of cotton production.
  • Grown on black soil of the Deccan plateau.
  • Requires high temperature and light rainfall for growing.

Kharif crop.

  • Matures in 6 to 8 months.
  • Grown in Maharashtra, Gujarat, M.P., Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and U.P.


  • Known as the golden fibre.
  • Requires high temperature and well-irrigated fertile soil.
  • Grown in West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Orissa and Meghalaya.

Land Reforms in India

  • Initiated in the first Five Year Plan.
  • Major land reforms were
  • Collectivisation
  • Consolidation of land holdings
  • Abolition of zamindari system

Technological Reforms in India

  • Green Revolution
  • Introduced in 1960s.
  • Use of high yielding varieties (HYV) of seeds to improve the overall production.
  • Chemical fertilizers and pesticides were introduced.
  • White Revolution
  • Known as ‘Operation Flood’.
  • For improving milk production in the country.
  • Hybrid varieties of cattle were bought.

Institutional Reforms in Agriculture

1. Land Development Programme

  • Introduced in 1980s.
  • Scheme of crop insurance against drought, flood, fire, disease etc.
  • Grameen banks and cooperative societies were established for extending agricultural loans.
  • Banks were inspired for priority sector lending i.e., lending to farmers at lower interest rates.

2. Kisan Credit Card (KCC)

  • Started in 1998–99 by the Government of India in collaboration with the RBI and the NABARD.
  • A credit card with a limit of Rs. 50000/- is issued to farmers for availing instant credit.
  • Repayment is done after the crops are harvested.
  • Special programmes for farmers on agriculture were introduced on television and radio.
  • Bhoodan Movement
  • Started by Acharya Vinoba Bhave in 1951 in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Refers to gifting of land by big landlords to the landless farmers.
  • The movement aimed at reducing unequal distribution of land among the farmers.
  • Villages were also gifted (called the gramdan) by big zamindars.

3. Public Distribution System (PDS)

It is a programme of the Government of India that provides food grains to poor people at highly subsidized prices. Ration cards are issued to each household and food grains can be purchased from fair price shops under this system.

4. Food Corporation Of India (FCI)

It is the nodal agency for procurement and storage of food grains. It ensures food availability for people of India.

Minimum Support Price: The price at which the FCI procures food grains from farmers.

5. Organic Farming

It is a form of agriculture that employs only natural methods such as crop rotation, green manure, biological pest control and mechanical cultivation for getting a higher yield. It does not rely on chemical fertilizers or pesticides and hence, does not degrade the quality of soil.