Agriculture%20in%20India%20-%20Part%20II - MBA Education...

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Unformatted text preview: MBA Education & Careers L EARNING CORNER Part Agriculture in India: Part II intensity, Land use, crop patterns & intensity, and types of farming Harvesting seasons I n India, we have three major seasons of cultivation: Rabi, Kharif, and Zaid (summer). Kharif coincides with the south-west Monsoon, which is also the summer rainy season. Some important Kharif crops are rice, jowar, bajra, cotton, sugarcane, groundnut, and soyabean. Rabi is the post-Monsoon winter season. Major Rabi crops are wheat, barley, gram, linseed, mustard, and rapeseed. Rice, maize, and groundnut are also grown in Zaid i.e. summer season. Land utilisation As per the Government of India records, data is available for 93.1 per cent of total geographical area of 3,287.3 lakh hectares. Area under forest had increased from 404.8 lakh hectares in 1950-51 to 690.2 lakh hectares in 1999-2000 (last updated figures). Net sown area increased from 1,187.5 lakh hectares to 1,412.3 lakh hectares during the same period. Broad cropping pattern indicates that though foodgrains have a preponderance in gross cropped area as compared to non-foodgrains, their relative share came down from 76.7 per cent during 1950-51 to 65.8 per cent in 1999-2000. According to Agricultural Census, the area operated by large holdings (10 hectares and above) has declined to 14.8 per cent in 1995-96 compared to 17.3 per cent in 1990-91. Similarly, the area operated under marginal holdings (less than one hectare) has increased to 17.2 per cent in 1995-96 from 15 per cent in 1990-91. This indicates that land is being fragmented. Crop patterns and crop intensity Crop patterns refer to the variety of crops grown successively in the same piece of land in different seasons (of cultivation), which in turn would depend on irrigation and other important inputs. If two crops are grown during a year successively, it is called double cropping. In areas of high irrigation and supply of other vital inputs (like Punjab), even three crops are grown from a patch of land in a year. Simply put, areas which produce more than one crop in a year have greater crop intensity. Intensity of cropping simply means the extent to which the land is used (by a farmer) and the extent of yield that is obtained from that piece of land. So, intensity of cropping would depend on type of farming, seasons of cultivation, and types of crops raised. Types of farming There are three types of farming practices: (a) subsistence cultivation, (b) shifting cultivation, and (c) plantation cultivation. (a) Subsistence cultivation: Among all farming practices, subsistence cultivation is the most widespread. In this type of farming, the stress lies on producing foodgrains for the marginal farmer. Simply put, this is farming for survival. Depending on irrigation facilities, there are two kinds of subsistence cultivation. They are dry farming and wet farming. Cash crops are never the motive of subsistence agriculture, although excess of traditional crops can often be sold in towns. Dry farming is practiced in areas with low or very low water supply like Rajasthan. Dry farming is April 2006 31 MBA Education & Careers L EARNING CORNER heavily dependent on Monsoon. Under dry farming, rainfed crops like bajra, jowar, and cotton are grown. is variously called j hum ( Assam and other north-eastern states), podu (Andhra Pradesh), mashan and penda (Madhya Pradesh), etc. Wet farming is practiced in areas with abundant water supply like lowlands (from rainfall), coastal areas or from irrigation rich areas. Crops grown in this kind of farming practice include water-intensive crops like rice and sugarcane. The pursuit of shifting cultivation does great damage to forest land and soil fertility. As the ‘field’ (or patch of land) is abandoned, the top soil gets denuded, which leads to soil erosion in times of rainfall. (b) Shifting cultivation: Shifting cultivation is the process by which people take an area of land to use for agriculture, only to abandon it a short time later. This often involves clearing of a piece of land followed by two or three years of farming until the soil loses fertility. Once the land becomes inadequate for crop production, it is left to be reclaimed by natural vegetation. It is least intensive by its very nature. (c) Plantation cultivation: It is the most intensive among all types of farming. The advent of the Europeans brought in this type of farming. Plantation cultivation includes the cultivation of coffee, rubber, tea, etc. These are grown on large tracts of land called estates. We can find many such estates in the states of Sikkim, Assam, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. It is generally practiced by tribals living in forests and hilly regions, especially in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and north-eastern region. Nearly 2 million hectares of land is believed to be cleared every year for practising this type of farming. Shifting cultivation April 2006 32 To generate maximum yield, estates are tended to with great care. To reduce costs as well as minimise the impact of loss in case of perishable commodities, processing plants are set up close to estates. The plantation type of farming is a lucrative proposition but is very labour- and capital-intensive. ...
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