Teaching Geography Agriculture


Category : Teaching





  • Understand agriculture as a profession
  • Explore and understand the various kinds of agricultural systems
  • Become aware about various types and forms of cultivation
  • Know about the necessary conditions needed to grow a particular crop
  • Familiarise the cropping patterns in India



Agriculture is the primary occupation of India, and it is the main source of food. It is defined differently in different parts of world. It includes production of crops and animal husbandry. Animal husbandry includes caring and management of farm animals. Farming is the primary economic process and depends upon the climatic and environmental conditions of a particular place. Soil, humidity, and temperature also play a significant role in the development of farming. Tropical region is the most favourable and developed region in agriculture because of the climatic conditions and the easily and cheaply available human resources. Appropriate rainfall is also important for agriculture.



In agriculture system, the relationship between farmers and land is studied. In this system, there are different types of cultivations followed and some of them are as follows:


       1.   Personal cultivation: It is the most famous agriculture type in the world. Here, the farmer cultivates his land as per his need and choice. He is responsible for his loss and gain, and sometimes farmers borrow land from landlords and farm the land for their use.

        2.   Commercial cultivation: This type of cultivation is mostly seen in the regions where people have vast land. Farmers not only farm for their personal needs but also for commercial purposes. A large amount of agriculture production is contributed by commercial farming.

        3.   Cooperative cultivation: This type of cultivation is done in the developed nations where the farmers contribute their land, resources, and equipment, and give up their personal interest. It is totally based on group work. This type of farming is practiced in Israel, Netherlands, and Belgiurn, and in Israel, it is called kibbutzim. The production of this farming is distributed among the contributors.



There are various kinds of farm cultivation. Some of them are discussed below:

         1.   Place-bound cultivation: This cultivation is practiced by the farmers from a very long time, continuously without leaving the land. It is one of the major cultivation types across the world including India.

         2.   Shifting cultivation: It is opposite of place-bound cultivation. First, the forest land is cleared, and a piece of land is prepared for cultivation. Here, cultivation is done for a specific period of time, and after that, it is left for rejuvenation, and a new forest land is cleared to do the same practice again.

        3.   Staircase cultivation: It is practiced on hilly areas to protect the soil from soil erosion. It is also known as step cultivation. The staircase type cultivation prevents the intense flow of water from hills and prevention of soil erosion is ensured. This type of cultivation is also a place-bound and permanent cultivation type.

        4.   Irrigation cultivation: This cultivation is practiced in sub-tropical regions. It is done in low rain areas, and cultivation is done through the help of irrigation. In India, rice and sugarcane cultivation is done through this type of cultivation.

         5.   Dry cultivation: In regions where there is low rain and with no irrigation facility, crops are developed under dry conditions. In these regions, crops which can bear high temperature and dryness are cultivated. This type of cultivation is done in India, Australia, and North America. The crops which need irrigation are also cultivated in these lands.

         6.   Rotation cultivation: The main aim of rotation cultivation is to preserve the fertility of the land. In this system, different crops are cultivated on rotation basis on the same land. Some crops get nutrition from upper layer of the land, whereas some crops absorb nutrition from the depth.

           7.   Mixed cultivation: When two or more than two types of crops are cultivated on the same land in a year, it is called mixed cultivation. When we do not leave the land without the crop and it is called relay cultivation. In India, Rabi and Kharif crops are cultivated on the same piece of land. Other countries where mixed cultivation is done include China, Japan, and some parts of Europe.



Various types of cultivation are as follows:

     1.   Intensive cultivation: The main objective of this kind of cultivation is to harvest more from a given specific piece of land. It requires good quality seeds, man power, machinery, and fertilizers. It is mostly done in densely populated areas of the world, and it is very popular in China, Japan, Eastern Asia, and Western Europe.

     2.   Extensive cultivation: It is done on big farm lands with the help of agricultural machineries. Manpower and animal power are used very minimal in this type of cultivation. Only one type of crop is cultivated in a year due to the availability of vast land for cultivation. It is popular in sparsely populated areas of the world such as in USA, Canada, and Australia.

     3.   Shifting cultivation: It is opposite of place-bound cultivation. First, the forest land is cleared and a part of it is prepared for cultivation. Farming is done for a specific period, and after that, it is left for rejuvenation and a new forest land is cleared to do the same practice again.

    4.   Nomadic cultivation: In sub-tropical regions, some nomadic communities migrate from one place to another in search of water and fodder for their animals. They survive on the productions of animals. This type of nomadic cultivation is found in some parts of Northern Africa, Middle Asia, and Arabia.

     5.  Specialised plantation cultivation: To meet the demand supply of fruits and vegetables, this type of cultivation is practiced in cities and industrial areas. Plantation cultivation is developed in high densely populated areas of Europe.

      6.   Dairy cultivation and animal husbandry: Because of great demand of dairy products in the, cities of Europe, this type of cultivation was developed and spread to other parts of the world. The temperate zone of Europe is conducive for animal Cattling. The animal Cattling provides milk and milk products such as butter, cheese, curd, and so on to the population. Denmark, New Zealand, and Sweden are the largest producers of livestock products.



Some of the major crops of the world are as follows:

     1.   Rice: It is a crop of tropical and humid regions. To grow rice, the required temperature is 20°C to 27°C. Soil conducive for this crop is loam and alluvial soils. Rice cultivation requires a large quantity of water and more than 100 cm rainfall. In addition, it requires good enough manpower for cultivation. China, Indonesia, and India are the major producers of rice in the world.

     2.   Wheat: Wheat production is popular in the Prairie and Steppe regions. Good water draining soil is necessary for its cultivation. Other conditions required are 15°C-20°C temperature and rainfall of 75 cm. Nowadays, machinery is used at a massive level in wheat cultivation. It is the major crop of extensive cultivation, and it is a crop of temperate and tropical and sub-tropical regions. China, USA, India, France, and Russia are the major producers of Wheat.

     3.   Millets: It is an excellent source of protein. It is cultivated in the same regions where wheat is cultivated. It is a raw source for beer production. It can be cultivated in less fertile soils and regions with mean rainfall. Major producers of millets are Canada, Russia, Germany, and Ukraine.

    4.   Maize: Basically, it is an American crop. It is also known as corn. To grow maize, the required temperature is 18°C to 27°C and rainfall of 60-70 cm. Loamy (Loam) soils are good maize cultivation. In Northern America, this crop is cultivated to feed the livestock. The major producers of maize are China, Mexico, Brazil, and Nigeria.

    5.   Cotton: It is a fine source of fibre used in cloth manufacturing, which comes from fruits of its plants'. It requires tropical climate with medium rainfall. To grow cotton, the required temperature is 25°C and at least 200 days without frost. Black and alluvial soils are ideal for this crop. It decreases the fertility of soil. Major producers of cotton are China, USA, Pakistan, India, and Uzbekistan.

   6.   Jute: Jute is cultivated from the stem of jute plant. To grow jute, the required temperature required is 27°C to 30°C and rainfall of 100-200 cm. It needs high humidity. It is the major crop of delta regions. It also decreases the fertility of soil very fast. Bangladesh and India are the major producers.

   7.   Coffee: Coffee plants are cultivated under some trees like rubber to avoid direct sunlight. To grow coffee, the required temperature is 26°C and rainfall of 150-200 cm. It is totally a crop of warm and wet region. Coffee is an important beverage, and the major producers are Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Uganda, and Indonesia.

   8.   Tea: Tea plants are cultivated steep hilly areas especially in the monsoon regions. To grow tea, the required temperature is 21 °C and rainfall of 200 cm. A long dry season is necessary for its cultivation. Direct sun light is not good for its cultivation; therefore, trees are'planted to provide shade. Tea is a very important beverage, and the major producers are India, China, Sri Lanka,and Kenya.

   9.   Sugarcane: It is an important source for the production of sugar. To grow sugarcane, the required temperature is 20°C to 28°C and rainfall of 120 cm. It requires very fertile land. India, Brazil, and Cuba are the largest producers of sugarcane.


Cropping in India

In India, agriculture is the primary occupation. More than 60% of total population is either directly or indirectly involved in agriculture. We can divide Indian cropping on the basis of three seasons, namely kharif, rabi, and zaid. We can also divide Indian cropping on the basis of seasons of north- ern states and southern states.

    1.   Kharif: The cropping season of kharif is from June to September. Rice, cotton bajra, maize, jowar, and tur are some of the important kharif crops of northern states, whereas in the southern states, rice, maize, ragi, jowar, and groundnut are cultivated during this season.

    2.   Rabi: The cropping season of rabi is from October to March. Wheat, gram, rapeseeds, mustard, and barley are some of the important rabi crops of northern states, whereas in southern states, rice, maize, ragi, groundnut, and jowar are cultivated during this season.


    3.   Zaid: The cropping season of Zaid crops is from April to June. In this season, mostly vegetables, fruits, and fodder are cultivated in northern states, whereas in southern states rice, 'vegetables, and fodder are the important crops of this season.


Cropping Patterns in India

Food grains

India is a densely populated country and it needs a very huge amount of food to feed the population. Here, food grains cropping plays a very vitaJ role to feed India's population. This quality of this crop make it very dominant and significant cropping. It is also used for commercial purposes and to strengthen the economy of the country. Food grain cropping occupies about two-third of the total cropped area. We can divide food grains in two types on the basis of its structure, namely cereals and pulses.


1. Cereals: In India, cereals cropping occupies about half of the cropped area of the county. India produces more than 10% of cereals of the world. It ranks 3rd after China and USA in cereal cropping. Cereals cropping can also be divided into two types, namely fine grains such as rice and wheat, and coarse grains such asjowar, bajra, maize, and ragi.

(a) Rice: It has a very vital position among cereals. Majority of Indian population depend on rice for their survival. India has more than 3000 varieties of rice, and we export various varieties of good quality rice all over the world. Many states of India produce rice. It is cultivated in northern states like Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, northern Rajasthan, and West Bengal, and in southern states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala. India produces more than 22% of World's total rice production. The northern regions of India like Haryana and Punjab are not traditional producers of rice and they started producing it after the green revolution.

(b) Wheat: It is the second important crop of India after rice. India produces more than 12% of world's total wheat production. Indo-Gangetic plains, Malwa Plateau, and Himalayas up to 2700 m altitude are the best regions of wheat production in India.

(c) Jowar: It is grown as both kharif and rabi crop. In northern India, it is considered as kharif crop, whereas in southern India, it is consider as a rabi crop. In northern India, it is grown as a fodder crop. It occupies about 5.3% of total cropped area of India. Maharashtra is the main region that produces more than 50% of total jowar cropping in India.

(d) Bajra: It is a crop of dry and hot climate region. Usually it is grown under mixed cropping. This cereal occupies about 5.2% of total cropped area of India. Leading states that produces Bajra are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra. It is drought resistant crop.

(e) Maize: It can be categorised as food crop as well as fodder crop. It occupies about 3.6% of total cropped area of India. Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka are the leading producers of maize.

2. Pulses: They are very rich source of proteins. Through the process of nitrogen fixation, it increases the fertility of soils. India is one of the leading producers of pulses as it produces almost 50% of world's total pulse production. The leading regions of t pulse production in India are the,djy lands of Deccan and Central Plateaus and north western parts of the country. In India, gram and arhar are the most commonly grown pulses.

(a) Gram: It is a rabi crop and the crop of subtropical region. It does not need much water to grow successfully. It occupies almost 2.8% of total cropped area of India. The leading producers of gram are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

(b) Arhar: It is the second important pulse crop of India after gram. It is also known as pigeon pea. It is the crop of dry areas. It covers only 2% of total cropped area of India. Maharashtra is the leading producer of arhar in India. After Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh are also good producers of arhar.


Other Important Crops of India

          1.   Sugarcane: It is a crop of tropical areas. It needs humid climate to grow successfully. In India, Uttar Pradesh is famous for sugarcane farming. It also cultivated in Maharashtra and Gujarat on large level. In southern India, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh also cultivate sugarcane. Uttar Pradesh produces about two-fifth of sugarcane of India's total production.

          2.   Tea: Tea is a plantation crop which is mainly used for commercial purpose. It is a rich source of caffeine and tannin. Humid and sub-humid hilly areas are appropriate places for growing tea. In India, Assam state is the biggest producer. India is one of the top producers of tea among Sri Lanka and China.

        3.   Coffee: Coffee is also used as a beverage like tea. It is tropical crop, and India grows 'Arabica' coffee (Arabica is one of the three types of coffee?Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica), which is a superior quality coffee. It has high demand in international market. Its plants are cultivated under some trees to keep them away from direct sunlight.

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