India is an agriculturally important country.
Two-thirds of its population is engaged in
agricultural activities. Agriculture is a primary
activity, which produces most of the food that
we consume. Besides food grains, it also
produces raw material for various industries.
Can you name some industries based on
agricultural raw material?
Moreover, some agricultural products like
tea, coffee, spices, etc. are also exported.
Agriculture is an age-old economic activity in
our country. Over these years, cultivation
methods have changed significantly depending
upon the characteristics of physical
environment, technological know-how and
socio-cultural practices. Farming varies from
subsistence to commercial type. At present, in
different parts of India, the following farming
systems are practised.
Primitive Subsistence Farming
This type of farming is still practised in few
pockets of India. Primitive subsistence
agriculture is practised on small patches of
land with the help of primitive tools like hoe,
dao and digging sticks, and family/community
labour. This type of farming depends upon
monsoon, natural fertility of the soil and
suitability of other environmental conditions
to the crops grown.
It is a ‘slash and burn’ agriculture.
Farmers clear a patch of land and produce
cereals and other food crops to sustain their
family. When the soil fertility decreases, the
farmers shift and clear a fresh patch of land
for cultivation. This type of shifting allows
Nature to replenish the fertility of the soil
through natural processes; land productivity
in this type of agriculture is low as the farmer
does not use fertilisers or other modern
inputs. It is known by different names in
different parts of the country.
Can you name
some such types of farmings?
in north-eastern states like
Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland;
Pamlou in Manipur, Dipa in Bastar district of
Chattishgarh, and in Andaman and Nicobar
The ‘slash and burn’ agriculture
is known as ‘Milpa’ in Mexico and Central
America, ‘Conuco’ in Venzuela, ‘Roca’ in
Brazil, ‘Masole’ in Central Africa, ‘Ladang’
in Indonesia, ‘Ray’ in Vietnam.
In India, this primitive form of cultivation
is called ‘Bewar’ or ‘Dahiya’ in Madhya
Pradesh, ‘Podu’ or ‘Penda’ in Andhra Pradesh,
‘Pama Dabi’ or ‘Koman’ or Bringa’ in Orissa,
‘Kumari’ in Western Ghats, ‘Valre’ or ‘Waltre’
in South-eastern Rajasthan, ‘Khil’ in the
Himalayan belt, ‘Kuruwa’ in Jharkhand, and
‘Jhumming’ in the North-eastern region.