Indian Agriculture New


Salient Features

Some of the outstanding features of Indian agriculture are mentioned as follows.

1. Subsistence agriculture:

Most parts of India have subsistence agriculture. The farmer owns a small piece of land, grows crops with the help of his family members and consumes almost the entire farm produce with little surplus to sell in the market.

This type of agriculture has been practiced in India for the last several hundreds of years and still prevails in spite of the large scale changes in agricultural practices after Independence.

2. Pressure of population on agriculture:

The population in India is increasing at a rapid pace and exerts heavy pressure on agriculture. Agriculture has to provide employment to a large section of work force and has to feed the teeming millions. While looking into the present need of food grains, we require an additional 12-15 million hectares of land to cope with the increasing demands by 2010 A.D. Moreover, there is rising trend in urbanization.

Over one-fourth of the Indian population lived in urban areas in 2001 and it is estimated that over one-third of the total population of India would be living in urban areas by 2010 A.D. This requires more land for urban settlements which will ultimately encroach upon agricultural land. It is now estimated that about 4 lakh hectares of farm land is now being diverted to non-agricultural uses each year.

3. Importance of animals:

Animal force has always played a significant role in agricultural operations such as ploughing, irrigation, threshing and transporting the agricultural products. Complete mechanisation of Indian agriculture is still a distant goal and animals will continue to dominate the agricultural scene in India for several years to come.

4. Dependent upon Monsoon:

Indian agriculture is mainly dependent upon monsoon which is uncertain, unreliable and irregular. In spite of the large scale expansion of irrigation facilities since Independence, only one-third of the cropped area is provided by perennial irrigation and the remaining two-third of the cropped area has to bear the brunt of the vagaries of the monsoons.

5. Variety of crops:

India is a vast country with varied types of relief, climate and soil conditions. Therefore, there is a large variety of crops grown in India. Both the tropical and temperate crops are successfully grown in India. Very few countries in the world have a variety of crops comparable to that produced in India.

6. Predominance of food crops:

Since Indian agriculture has to feed a large population, production of food crops is the first priority of the farmers almost everywhere in the country. More than two-thirds of the total cropped area is devoted to the cultivation of food crops. However, with the change in cropping pattern, the relative share of food crops came down from 76.7 per cent in 1950-51 to 58.8 per cent in 2002-03.

7. Insignificant place to given fodder crops:

Although India has the largest population of livestock in the world, fodder crops are given a very insignificant place in our cropping pattern. Only four per cent of the reporting area is devoted to permanent pastures and other grazing lands. This is due to pressing demand of land for food crops. The result is that the domestic animals are not properly fed and their productivity is very low compared to international standards.

8. Seasonal pattern:

India has three major crop seasons.

(i) Kharif season starts with the onset of monsoons and continues till the beginning of winter. Major crops of this season are rice, maize, jowar, bajra, cotton, sesamum, groundnut and pulses such as moong, urad, etc.

(ii) Rabi season starts at the beginning of winter and continues till the end of winter or beginning of summer. Major crops of this season are wheat, barley, jowar, gram and oil seeds such as linseed, rape and mustard.

(iii) Zaid is summer cropping season in which crops like rice, maize, groundnut, vegetables and fruits are grown. Now some varieties of pulses have been evolved which can be successfully grown in summer.

The share of agriculture and allied sectors in gross value added (GVA) declined from 18.2 per cent in 2012-13 to 16.4 per cent in 2017-18 (1st AE).

The share of livestock in GVA of agriculture has been rising since 2011-12, while that of the crop sector declined from 65 per cent in 2011-12 to 60 percent in 2015-16.

As per the fourth Advance Estimates for 2016-17 released by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, India achieved a record production of food grains estimated at 275.7 million tonnes during 2016-17.

As per the 1” AE released on 2 2” September 2017, food grains production for the Kharif Season during 2017-18 is estimated at 134.7 million tonnes, lower by 3.9 million tonnes as compared to 2016-17.

The total production of rice during 2017-18 is estimated at 94.5 million tonnes vis-a-vis 96.4 million tonnes (4th Advance Estimates) in 2016-17.

  • The production of pulses during 2017-18 is estimated at 8.7 million tonnes, sugarcane at 337.7 million tonnes, oilseeds at 20.7 million tonnes and cotton at 32.3 million bales of 170 kgs each.
  • India ranks first, with 9.6 per cent (179.8 Mha) of the global net cropland area according to United States Geological Survey, 2017.
  • Agricultural productivity is determined by the appropriate use of critical inputs like irrigation, seeds, fertilisers, credit, machines, technology and extension services. As reported in input survey (2011-12), out of total operational holdings, only 9.4 per cent used certified seeds, 27 per cent used seeds of notified variety and only 9.8 per cent used hybrid seeds.
  • The All India percentage of net irrigated area to total cropped area was 34.5 per cent in 2014-15, which makes a large part of agriculture in India dependent on rainfall.
  • Pradhan Mantri Knshi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) is being implemented in mission mode with the help of Command Area Development to complete 99 major and medium irrigation projects covering 76.0 lakh hectares in a phased manner by December 2019 to increase the coverage of irrigated area and thereby agricultural productivity.
  • The NSSO Report (July2012 — June 2013) had indicated that a very small share of agricultural households engaged in crop production activities were insuring their crops.
  • During Kharif 2016 season, 23 States implemented PMFBY and during Rabi season of 2016-17, 25 States/Union Territories implemented PMFBY.
  • As on December 2017, total claims of Rs. 13292 crore have been approved for 116 lakhs farmers (applications) and Rs. 12020 crore have been paid under PMFBY.

Land use Pattern

  • Cropped area in the year under consideration is called Net Sown Area.
  • The net sown area occupies as follows:
  • Highest category (above 55% of the reporting area) in Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Kenia.
  • Medium category (30-55%) in Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Goa and Assam.
  • Low category (below 30%) in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

Area sown more than once: This area is used to grow more than one crop in a year. This accounts for 3 4.3% of the net sown area and 16.6% of the total reporting area of the country. This type of area comprises land with rich fertile soil and regulars water supply.

Forests: It is the area which the govt. has identified & demarcated for forest growth.

Land not available for cultivation: This class consists of two types of land

(i) Land put to non-agricultural uses

(ii) Barren and unculturable waste

Permanent pastures and other grazing land: It amounts to about 3.45% (i.e. 11.8 mha) of the total reporting area. The area presently under pastures is not sufficient keeping in view the large population of livestock in the country.

Land under miscellaneous tree crops and groves: It includes all cultivable land which is not included under net area sown, but is put to some agricultural use.

Culturable Wasteland: It includes all lands available for cultivation, but not cultivated for one reason or the other.

The history of Agriculture in India dates back to Indus Valley Civilization Era and even before that in some parts of Southern India.India ranks second worldwide in farm outputs. As per 2018, Agriculture employed 50% of the Indian work force and contributed 17-18% to country’s GDP.

In 2016. Agriculture and allied sectors like animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries accounted for 15.4% of the GDP (gross domestic product) with about 31% of the workforce in 2014. India ranks first globally with highest net cropped area followed by US and China. The economic contribution of agriculture to India’s GDP is steadily declining with the country’s broad-based economic growth. Still, agriculture is demographically the broadest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic fabric of India.

India exported $38 billion worth of agricultural products in 2013, making it the seventh largest agricultural exporter worldwide and the sixth largest net exporter. Most of its agriculture exports serve developing and least developed nations. Indian agricultural/horticultural and processed foods are exported to more than 120 countries, primarily in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, SAARC countries, the European Union and the United States.

As per the 2014 FAO world agriculture statistics India is the world’s largest producer of many fresh fruits like banana, mango, guava, papaya, lemon and vegetables like chickpea, okra and milk, major spices like chili pepper, ginger, fibrous crops such as jute, staples such as millets and castor oil seed.

India is the second largest producer of wheat and rice, the world’s major food staples.

India is currently the world’s second or third largest producer of several dry fruits, agriculture-based textile raw materials, roots and tuber crops, pulses, farmed fish, eggs, coconut, sugarcane and numerous vegetables. India ranked in the world’s five largest producers of over 80% of agricultural produce items, including many cash crops such as coffee and cotton, in 2010. India is one of the world’s five largest producers of livestock and poultry meat, with one of the fastest growth rates, as of 2011.

One report from 2008 claimed India’s population is growing faster than its ability to produce rice and wheat. Other recent studies claim India can easily feed its growing population, plus produce wheat and rice for global exports, if it can reduce food staple spoilage, improve its infrastructure and raise its farm productivity to those achieved by other developing countries such as Brazil and China.

Types of Farming

India is a vast country and had various climatic patters and geographical condition, so these are different types of farming.

1. Subsistence Farming In this type of farming farmer produce for his own consumption. These is no surplus left for sale. This involves cultivation of food crops like rice, wheat, pulses etc.

2. Commercial Farming In this farming, food crops produced specifically for sale in the market by using improved variety of seeds and machinery. Normally it is characterised by large farms and only one crop is grown. Advance machinery chemical fertilizers, hybrid seeds and pesticides are used. Cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, oil seeds, chiffles etc. are commercial crops.

3. Shifting Cultivation: Shifting cultivation means the migratory subsistence farming. Under this system, a plot of land is cultivated for few years and when the crop yield declines the plot of land is changed. Dry paddy, buck wheat, maize, small millets, tobacco & sugarcane are the main crops grown under this type of agriculture. It is known by different names in different parts of the country. It is “Jhumming” in—north eastern states; ‘podu’ in Andhra Pradesh, ‘Bewar’ in MP., ‘Ku-mari’ in Western Ghats.

4. Mixed Farming: Mixed farming is raising of crops and rearing of cattle, poultry, bee keeping, sen culture etc. on the same cattle or poultry do not need extra expenditure as they thrive on the farm wasters. Livestocks animals provide substitute income when crops are not ready. This type of farming is done in densely populated areas.

5. Plantation Farming: Predominance of a single crop (only for sale) farming in tropical regions is called plantation farming. Important crops grown under this type of farming are cotton, tea, rubber, spices, coconuts etc. This farming outlay. Latest knowledge and modern methods of agriculture are used in this farming.

6. Intensive Agriculture: System of cultivation using large amount of labour and capital with application of fertilizers and insecticides is called intensive agriculture. Use of high efficiency machinery for planting, cultivating and harvesting as well as latest irrigation equipment.

7. Extensive Agriculture: System of crop cultivation using small amounts of labour and capital in relation to area of land being farmed. The crop yield in extensive agriculture depends primarily on the natural fertility of the soil, terrain climate and the availability of water.

Green Revolutions

First Green Revolutions

The term “Green Revolution” is applied to the period from 1967 to 1978. The green revolution started by Dr. Norman Bortaug in Mexico and Dr. M.S. Swaminathan in India. Between 1947 and 1967, efforts at achieving food self sufficiency were not entirely successful. Population was growing at a much faster rate than good production. This called for drastic action to increase yield.

The action came in the form of the green revolution. The term green revolution is a general one that is applied to successful agricultural experiments in many countries. But it was most successful in India.

There were three basic elements in India regarding Green revolution

Continued expansion of farming areas.

Double cropping of existing farm and

Using new and scientific treated seeds with improved genetics.

Components of the Green Revolution

High yield varieties (seeds), irrigation, use of fertilizers, use of insecticide and pesticide, command area development, consolidation of holding, land reform, supply of agricultural credit, rural electrification, rural roads and marketing, farm mechanisation, agricultural universities.

Impacts of Green Revolution

Impacts of Green Revolution are as follows

Positive Impact Increase in agricultural production, reduction of the import of food grains, capitalistic farming, industrial growth and rural employment.

Negative Impact Inter-crop imbalance, increase in regional imbalance, unemployment due to mechanisation. Increase in interregional migration, ecological problems and social conflict between large and small farmers.

Second Green Revolution

The current growth rate of agricultural sector n Indian economy is only 2-3% per year. It’s productivity is much below of international standards. On the other hand the need for foods constantly growing due to increasing population and changing dietary habits. We are also talking about implementing the Right to Food for everybody. The challenge of food security is being threatened by the effects of climate change as well as growing use of bio fuels made from food crops such as maize. Against these odds, we have already used up most of the cultivable land. There is no scope for bringing new land under cultivation. All these factors demand from us to increase the productivity from available land. There is a need to raise it by launching Second Green Revolution. The Second Green Revolution would have to be knowledge based, scientifically managed and should improve agricultural efficiency. National Commission on Farmers 2005, Eleventh Five Year Plan, etc. have given their suggestions on Second Green Revolution. The Government too has initiated many programmes and set targets in this direction. Some suggestions and initiatives are given below:

1. Sustainable farm profitability by embracing the entire agro-economy from the farmer to consumer.

2. Introduction of new technologies such as Information Technology, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering, water efficient irrigation systems; environment friendly pesticides, precision agriculture/farming organic farming, biodynamic farming .

3.Massive crop diversification and multiple cropping is one of the key features of second green revolution.

4. Self-sufficiency in pulses and oil seeds and doubling horticulture and floriculture would be doubled in five years.

5. Promoting ecosystem of food production, food processing and marketing.

6.Second green revolution look after local geographical and climatic position, soil fertility and nature.

7. Massive crop diversification and multiple cropping.

Revolutions Area

  • Green Revolution — Agriculture (Food Production)
  • Yellow Revolution — Oil seeds production (Edible oil)
  • White Revolution — Milk
  • Blue Revolution — Fish
  • Pink Revolution — Shrimp, food processing
  • Brown Revolution — Coffee/Cocoa
  • Red Revolution — Meat/Tomato
  • Golden Revolution — Fruits/Apple/Honey/Horticulture
  • Grey Revolution — Fertilizers
  • Silver Revolution — Eggs/Poultry
  • Golden — Fibre Jute
  • Silver – Fibre Cotton

Cropping seasons

  • Kharif
  • Rabi
  • Zaid

Kharif Crops

  • Also known as Monsoon / Summer Crops
  • Requires plenty of water
  • Require long hot weather for growth
  • Sown → May – July , Harvest → Sep – Oct
  • Harvest – Beginning of November
  • Major Crops → Paddy, Sugarcane, Maize, Jowar, Bajra, Cotton, Pulses, Groundnut, Soybean, Sunflower, Tea, Coffee, Rubber, Sesame, Guar etc.

Rabi Crops

  • Also known as Winter Season Crops
  • Requires less water
  • Require cold weather for growth
  • Sown → Oct – Nov,
  • Harvest → Feb – April
  • Major Crops → Wheat, Gram, Potato, Peas, Oil seeds (Rapeseed, linseed), Mustard etc.

Zaid Crops

  • Sown between Rabi & Kharif crops i.e. from March to June
  • Requires warm dry weather for growth & longer day length for flowering
  • Major Crops  Seasonal fruits & vegetables (Musk melon, Water melon, Cucumber, China Paddy, Gourds, Fodder crops)

Largest agricultural products in India by value

Column 1 – Rank
Column 2 – Commodity
Column 4 – Value (US$, 2013)
Column 5 – Unit price (US$ / kilogram, 2009)
Column 6 – Average yield (tonnes per hectare, 2010)
Column 7 – Most productive country (tonnes per hectare, 2010)

124            5           6            7
1Rice$42.57 b0.273.9912.03Australia
2B. milk$27.92 b0.40.6323.7India
3Cow milk$18.91 b0.311.210.3Israel
4Wheat$13.98 b0.152.88.9Netherlands
$10.79 b0.66.340.6Cape Verde
6Sugar cane$10.42 b0.0366125Peru
7Cotton$8.65 b1.431.64.6Israel
8Bananas$7.77 b0.2837.859.3Indonesia
9Potatoes$7.11 b0.1519.944.3United States
10Tomatoes$6.74 b0.3719.355.9China
(US$, 2013)




11F.Vegetables$6.27 billion0.1913.476.8US
12Buffalo meat$4.33 billion2.690.1380.424Thailand
13Groundnuts$4.11 billion1.961.817.0China
14Okra$4.06 billion0.357.623.9Israel
15Onions$4.05 billion0.2116.667.3Ireland
16Chick peas$3.43 billion0.40.92.8China
17Chicken meat$3.32 billion0.6410.620.2Cyprus
18Fresh fruits$3.25 billion0.421.15.5Nicaragua
19Hen eggs$3.18 billion2.70.10.42Japan
20Soybeans$3.09 billion0.261.13.7Turkey

Largest agricultural products in India by value

Agriculture productivity in India, growth in average yields from 1970 to 2010

CropAverage YIELD
Average YIELD
Average YIELD
 kg/heckg/ heckg/hec

Horticultural productivity in India, 2013

Column 1 – Country
Column 2 – Area under fruits production (million hectares)
Column 3 – Average Fruits Yield (Metric tonnes per hectare)
Column 4 – Area under vegetable production (million hectares)
Column 5 – Average Vegetable Yield (Metric tonnes per hectare)







Agricultural Regions

Various types of Agricultural Regions of India are as follows:

An agricultural region is defined as an area having homogeneity in relief, soil type, climatic conditions, farming practices, crops produced and crop association.

India is a vast country and is endowed with diverse geographical conditions which are bound to bring in regional variations in agriculture.

Several scholars have attempted to delineate the agricultural regions of India. Prominent among them are E. Simkins (1926), D. Thomer (1956), M.S. Randhawa (1958), L.D. Stamp (1958), Chen Hang-Seng (1959), O.H.K. Spate and A.T.A. Learmonth (1960), Ramchandran (1963), F. Siddiqui (1967), O. Slampa (1968), Miss P. Sengupta (1968), R.L. Singh (1971) and Jasbir Singh (1975) The scheme suggested by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) is simple and comprehensive and is reproduced here. It is based on the predominance of crops and crop associations. Accordingly India can be divided into following agricultural regions:

1. Rice-Jute-Tea Region

This vast region includes lowlands, valleys and river deltas in the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Orissa, northern and eastern Bihar parts of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and Tarai region of Uttar Pradesh.

The rainfall vanes from 180 to 250 cm. Rice are the predominant crop due to fertile alluvial soils, abundant rainfall and high summer temperatures. Jute is mainly grown in the Hugli basin of West Bengal but some areas have been brought under jute cultivation in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Orissa and Tarai region of U.P. Tea is mainly grown in Assam, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri areas of West Bengal and Tripura. Sugarcane and tobacco are grown in Bihar. Coconut is grown in coastal areas. Mango, pineapple, betal leaves, bananas, jack fruits, and oranges are the main fruit crops.

2. Wheat and Sugarcane Region:

This region comprises Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Western Madhya Pradesh and north eastern Rajasthan. Most of the areas have rich fertile alluvial soils with some parts having black and red soils. Rainfall is moderate, large part of which is caused by south-west monsoons in summer. Some rainfall is caused by western disturbances in winter.

Irrigation is a vital input in drier areas. As its name indicates, this region is dominated by wheat and sugarcane cultivation. The main wheat belt of India extends over Punjab, Haryana, Ganga-Yamuna doab of Uttar Pradesh and north-eastern Rajasthan. Sugercane is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh and contiguous parts of Bihar. Rice, pulses and maize are the other important crops.

3. Cotton Region:

It spreads on the regur or black cotton soil area of the Deccan plateau, where the rainfall varies from 75 to 100 cm. Obviously, cotton is the main crop but jowar, bajra, gram, sugarcane, wheat, etc. are also grown.

4. Maize and Coarse Crops Region:

Western Rajasthan and northern Gujarat are included in this region. The rainfall is scanty and is normally below 50 cm. Agriculture is possible only with the help of irrigation. Maize is mainly grown in the Mewar plateau where wheat and ragi are also produced. In the southern part, rice, cotton and sugarcane are grown. Bajra and pulses are grown throughout the region.

5. Millets and Oilseeds Region:

This region includes areas of poor soils and broken topography in Karnataka plateau, parts of Tamil Nadu, southern Andhra Pradesh and eastern Kerala. The rainfall varies from 75 to 125 cm. The millets include bajra, ragi and jowar while the oilseeds grown are groundnut and caster. Pulses are also grown. Mangoes and bananas are important fruit crops.

6. Fruits and Vegetable Region:

This region extends from Kashmir Valley in the west to Assam in the east. The rainfall varies from 60 cm in the west to 200 cm in the east. Apple, peach, cherries, plum, apricot are grown in the west while oranges are important in the east. Besides, rice, maize, ragi potatoes, chillies and vegetables are also grown.

Major Crops

Indian crops can be divided into following categories:

. Food crops: Rice, wheat, maize, millets-jowar, bajra etc.

. Cash crops: Cotton, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, groundnut etc.

. Plantation crops: Tea, Coffee, spices, coconut, rubber etc.

. Horticulture crops: Apple, mango, banana, citrus etc.

Food grains


  • Rice is predominantly a Kharif or crop. It covers one third of total cultivated area of India.
  • It provides food to more than half of the Indian population. Rice is produced in almost all states.
  • Top three producer states are West Bengal, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Temperature: 22 – 32 C
  • Rainfall: 150-300 cm
  • Soil: Deep clayey and loamy soil
M hac
M Tonnes

Rice Production by States (Million Tonnes)



Ac. Prod



A. Prod.
to 2014-15)



West Bengal114.6813.9%14%14.5416.10
Uttar Pradesh212.1711.5%25%13.4512.51
Andhra P57.236.9%51%7.346.94
Tamil Nadu85.735.4%68%5.685.72


Next to rice, wheat is the most important food-grain of India and is the staple food of millions of Indians, particularly in the northern and north-western parts of the country. India is the 4th largest producer of wheat in the world after Russia, the USA and China and accounts for 8.7 per cent of the world’s total production of wheat.

  • Temperature:
  • 10-15 degree Celsius (Sowing time);
  • 21-26 degree Celsius (Ripening & Harvesting)
  • Rainfall: 75-100 cm
  • Soil: Deep clayey and loamy soil

Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are the three prominent wheat producing states. These states account for about 60 per cent of the wheat area and produce about three-fourths of the total wheat production in India. In fact, Punjab, Haryana and the contiguous western parts of U.P. have earned the distinction of being called the ‘Granary of India’. The other major wheat producing states are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

  • India produced 7.3 million tonnes of jowar from 9.5 million hectares of land with an average yield of 772 kg/hectare in 2003-04.
  • Maharashtra far excels all other states and produces more than 54 per cent of the total jowar production of India. As many as 22 districts of Maharashtra produce jowar but Osmanabad, Nanded, Yavatmal, Buldhana, Parbhani, Kolhapur, Amravati, and Ahmednagar are important producing districts.
  • Karnataka with 18.51 per cent of India’s jowar production is the second largest producer.
  • Andhra Pradesh has experienced a decrease in area and production of jowar during the last few years
  • Jowar is grown as fodder in some of the south western parts of Uttar Pradesh.
  • In Gujarat also, it is grown as fodder in the districts of Surat, Bharuch, Mahsana, and Vadodara. Rajasthan’s dry climate and sandy soil provide favourable conditions for the cultivation of jowar.
  • Temperature:
  • 27-33 degree Celsius
  • Rainfall: 50-100 cm
  • Soil: Less sensitive to soil deficiencies.

Millets – Jowar

Jowar is the most important millet. Next to rice and wheat jowar is the third most important food crop both with respect to area and production. Dr. Voelkar has spoken very highly of nutritive value of jowar as a fodder.

  • There had been wide fluctuations in the production of bajra from a minimum of 2.6 million tonnes in 1950-51 to a maximum of 11.8 million tonnes in 2003-04. The yields have also varied widely from a minimum of 286 kg/hectare in 1960-61 to a maximum of 1,134 kg/hectare in 2003-04 . Large scale variations in area under bajra cultivation have also been observed.
  • Nearly 80 per cent of India’s bajra comes from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Maharashtra is the largest producer of bajra in India. In 2002-03 this state produced 11.46 lakh tonnes which was 24.74 per cent of the total production of the country.
  • In Maharashtra, bajra is mainly grown in the central plateau having poor soils and dry climate. Nashik, Dhule, Satara, Pune, Sangli, Aurangabad, Solapur, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar are the main producing districts. Neighbouring Gujarat is the second important producer, where 9.07 lakh tonnes (19.58 per cent of India’s total) of bajra was produced in 2002-03.
  • Temperature:
  • 27-32 degree Celsius
  • Rainfall: 50-100 cm
  • Soil: Less sensitive to soil deficiencies.

Millets – Bajra

Bajra is the Second most important millet which is used as food in drier parts of the country. It is also widely used as fodder as its stalks are fed to cattle.


In India, total pulse area and production during 2017-18 has been >293 lakh hectares (Lha) and 245 lack tonnes (Lt) respectively. Out of the total area, >73 Lha is in Madhya Pradesh alone, earning a prime status in pulse production commodity registering a remarkable 25% of

the country’s pulse area with 33% production, thereby ranking first both in area and production. This is followed by Rajasthan in respect of area (16 per cent) and Maharashtra in case of total production (13 per cent).

pulse crops are cultivated in Kharif, Rabi and Zaid seasons of the Agricultural year.

More than 90 per cent of total pulse production has been the contribution of 10 states

namely, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra

Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

Cash Crops

Sugar Cane

The global production of raw sugar is 112 m.t. India stands first in area (3.93 m. ha) and production (167 m.t) among the sugarcane growing countries of the world. Uttar Pradesh has the largest area almost 50 per cent of the cane area in the country, followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab. These nine are most important sugarcane producing states. Sugarcane production is also highest in U.P. followed by Maharashtra. Productivity wise, Tamilnadu stands first with over 100 tonnes per hectare followed by Karnataka, Maharashtra.

  • Temperature:
  • 21-27 degree Celsius
  • Rainfall: 75-150 cm
  • Soil: Deep rich loamy soil

Source: United States Department of Agriculture



Cotton is a kharif crop which requires 6 to 8 months to mature. Its time of sowing and harvesting differs in different parts of the country depending upon the climatic conditions. In Punjab and Haryana it is sown in April-May and is harvested in December-January that is before the winter frost can damage the crop.

In the peninsular part of India, it is sown upto October and harvested between January and May because there is no danger of winter frost in these areas. In Tamil Nadu, it is grown both as a kharif and as a rabi crop.

  • Temperature:
  • 21-30 degree Celsius
  • Rainfall: 50-100 cm
  • Soil: Black soil of Deccan and Malwa Plateau. However, it also grows well in alluvial soils of the Sutlej-Ganga plain and red and laterite soils of the peninsular region.
  • The growth of cotton is retarded when the temperature falls below 20°C. Frost is enemy number one of the cotton plant and it is grown in areas having at least 210 frost free days in a year.

Types of Cotton:

Three broad types of cotton are generally recognized on the basis of the length, strength and structure of its fibre.

1. Long staple cotton:

It has the longest fibre whose length varies from 24 to 27 mm. About half of the total cotton produced in India is a long staple. It is largely grown in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

2. Medium staple cotton:

The length of its fibre is between 20 mm and 24 mm. About 44 per cent of the total cotton production in India is of medium staple. Rajasthan, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra are its main producers.

3. Short staple cotton:

This is inferior cotton with fibre less than 20 mm long. It is used for manufacturing inferior cloth and fetches less price. About 6 per cent of the total production is of short staple cotton. U.P., Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab are its main producers.

In spite of the three fold increase in the yield; our yield of 307 kg/hectare is just half of the world average and far below the yield of 731 kg/hectare in the USA, 756 kg/hectare in Pakistan and 816 kg/hectare in Egypt.

Major Cotton Producers in India

1. Maharashtra: Maharashtra is the largest producer and produces 29.78 per cent of the total cotton production of India.

2. Gujarat: Accounting for 19.33 per cent of the total production and 21.33 per cent of the cotton area of the country.

3. Andhra Pradesh: Andhra Pradesh accounts for 12.46 per cent of production and 10.47 per cent of hectarage of India.

4. Punjab: Punjab has slipped from first position in 1990-91 to fourth position in 2002-03 as a producer of cotton in India. This state has the distinction of giving highest yield of 4.1 quintals/hectare (2002-03) which is more than double the national average.

5. Haryana: Accounting for 11.91 per cent production and 6.77 per cent of hectarage, Haryana is the fifth largest producer of cotton in India


India has the largest area and production of oilseeds in the world. Five major oil seeds viz., groundnut, sesamum, rapeseed and mustard, linseed and castor seed occupied 212.24 lakh hectares (2002-03) which is over 15 percent of the net area sown.


  • Temperature:
  • 20°-30°C
  • Rainfall: 50-75 cm
  • Isohyet of 100 cm marks the upper limit of groundnut cultivation. It is highly susceptible to frost, prolonged drought, continuous rain and stagnant water.
  • Dry winter is needed at the time of ripening. It can be grown both as a kharif and as a rabi crop but 91 per cent of the total area under groundnut is devoted to kharif crop.

India is the largest producer of groundnut in the world and accounts for about one-third of the world’s production. There had been almost 150 per cent increase in the production of groundnut from 34.8 lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to a record production of 85.6 lakh tonnes in 1992-93.

Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are the three main producers. These three states together account for over 65 per cent of total production of India. Gujarat is the largest producer contributing over 25 per cent of India’s total production. Tamil Nadu is the second largest producer accounting for over 22 per cent of the total groundnut produced in India. Andhra Pradesh is the third largest producer of groundnut in India and accounts for over 18 per cent of India’s total production.

Sesamum (Til)

  • Temperature:
  • 21° – 23°C
  • Rainfall: 45-50 cm
  • It is grown as a kharif crop in the north and as a rabi crop in the south.

India has the world’s largest area under sesamum and is also the largest producer of this crop accounting for one-third of the world production. Since it is a rainfed crop, the production figures show fluctuating trends. But there has been an overall 87 percent increase in its production from 4.5 lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to a record 8.4 lakh tonnes in 1990-91.

Sesamum is produced in almost all parts of the country but Gujarat is the largest producing state. In 2002-03 this state produced over 28 per cent of the total production of India. The other major producers are West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Rapeseed and Mustard

  • Like wheat and gram, they thrive only in cool climate of the Satluj-Ganga plain and very small quantity is grown in the peninsular India. They are mainly grown as rabi crop in pure or mixed form with wheat, gram and barley.

India has the largest area and the highest production of rapeseed and mustard in the world. There has been nearly four-fold increase in their production in three decades from 1960-61 to 1991 after which varying trends of production have been noticed.

Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are the two major producers of these two oilseeds and contribute over 53 per cent of the total production of India. Uttar Pradesh has been traditionally the largest producer of rapeseed and mustard but according to 2002-03 figures, Rajasthan has overtaken Uttar Pradesh to become the largest producer. In that year Rajasthan produced 1,318 thousand tonnes (33.64%) against 759 thousand tonnes (19.37%) produced by Uttar Pradesh. Haryana is the third largest producer contributing 694 thousand tonnes (17.71%).


  • Temperature:
  • about 20°C
  • Rainfall: 75 cm
  • Soil – Clay loams, deep black soils and alluvial soils are best suited for its cultivation.
  • It can be cultivated upto a height of 800 metres above sea level. It is a rabi-crop which is sown in Oct-Nov. and harvested in March-April.

India produces about 10 per cent of world’s linseed and is world’s third largest producer after Russia and Canada. However, there had been almost consistent decline in production during the last few years and the production had fallen from 309 thousand tonnes in 1995-96 to 173 thousand tonnes in 2002-03.

Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer accounting for 45 thousand tonnes (26%) of linseed.

Uttar Pradesh is the second largest producer with 37 thousand tonnes (21.4%) of linseed to its credit.

Bihar is the third largest producer of linseed in India. In 2002-03, this state produced 26 thousand tonnes of linseed which was over 15 per cent of the all India production.

Castor Seed

  • Temperature:
  • 20°-25°C
  • Rainfall: 50-75 cm
  • Soil – It is grown on red sandy loams in the peninsular India and on light alluvial soils of the Satluj-Ganga plain.
  • Almost the whole area of castor seed production is rainfed. It is a kharif crop in the north and a rabi crop in the south.

India is the second largest producer of castor seed after Brazil and produces about one-fifth of the total world production. The production increased from a meagre one lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to all time record of over nine lakh tonnes in 1996-97.

Gujarat is the largest producer of castor seed in India. This state produced 283 thousand tonnes of castor seed out of a total of 428 thousand tonnes produced by the entire country in 2002-03.

Andhra Pradesh was a distant second producer and produced only 85 thousand tonnes (19.9 per cent of all India) in 2002-03.



India produces about 2.5 percent of world’s coffee on almost the same percentage of coffee plantations. Thus India is an insignificant producer of coffee and stands nowhere when compared with Brazil (25%), Columbia (15%) and Indonesia (7%).

Coffee Arabica and Coffee Robusta are the two main varieties of coffee grown in India accounting for 49 per cent and 51 per cent of area respectively under coffee.

Karnataka is the largest producer accounting for about 70 per cent of total coffee production and 60 percent of the area under coffee in India.

Kerala is the second largest producer of coffee but lags far behind, accounting only for about 23.27 per cent of the total production of the country.

  • Temperature:
  • 15°C and 28 °C
  • Rainfall: 150-250 cm
  • Soil: Well drained, deep friable loam soil.
  • It does not tolerate frost, snowfall, high temperature above 30°C and strong sun shine and is generally grown under shady trees. Prolonged drought is also injurious to coffee. Dry weather is necessary at the time of ripening of the berries.
  • Stagnant water is harmful and this crop is grown on hill slopes at elevations from 600 to 1,600 metres above sea level.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture


Yield of tea increased by 166.6 per cent, 66.6 per cent and 71 percent respectively between 1960-61 and 2003-04. At present, India is the largest producer and consumer of tea in the world and accounts for around 27 per cent of world production.

Assam is the largest producer of tea accounting for over 51 per cent of the production and over 53 per cent of area under tea cultivation in India.

West Bengal is the second largest producer contributing over 22 per cent of India’s tea from about one-fourth of the country’s total area under tea cultivation.

In South India tea is produced in Nilgiri, Cardamom, Palni and Anaimalai hills in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka states extending from 9°N to 14°N latitudes. This region accounts for 25 per cent production and about 24 per cent of area under tea in India.

  • Temperature:
  • 20°-30°C
  • Rainfall: 150-300 cm
  • Soil: deep, friable loams.
  • prolonged dry spell is harmful for tea, high humidity, heavy dew and morning fog favour rapid development of young leaves.
  • Although tea requires heavy rainfall for its growth, stagnant water is injurious to its roots.
  • Most of the tea plantations in India are found at elevations varying from 600 to 1,800 metres above sea level.


  • India is known for its spices globally because of rich aroma, taste and texture
  • India is the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices
  • India produces around 75 of the 109 varieties of spices listed by ISO
  • Organic farming for spices is gaining great prominence in the country due to the increasing demand for safe and non-contaminated spices
  • The key spices produced in the country include garlic, chili, pepper, coriander, cardamom, cumin, fennel, turmeric and ginger


  • During 2016-17, a total of 9,47,790 MT of spices and spice products valued Rs.17664.61 crore (US$2633.30 Million) has been exported from the country as against 8,43,255 tons valued Rs.16238.23 crore (US$ 2482.83 Million) in 2015-16 registering an increase of 12% in volume.
  • The key exports include chili, turmeric, pepper, mint products and spice oils/oleoresins.
  • The key export destinations include USA, China, Vietnam, UAE and Indonesia.

Animals and Products


  • Fish catch in India is of two types – marine fisheries and inland fisheries.
  • India is the third largest producer of fish and second largest producer of inland fishing in the world.
  • It accounts for about one per cent of the total agricultural production in India.
  • About 75% of marine fish landings are on the west coast and only 25% in the east coast.
  • Important fish caught along the coast are shark, sardine, herring, Mumbai duck fly fish ribbon fish and Mackerrel.
  • West Bengal is the largest producer of fish in India and is the largest producer of inland fish (31%) also.
  • Kerala has about 85% of India’s total processing facilities and processes the largest amount of fish in the country.
  • Kerala has about 85% of India’s total processing facilities and processes the largest amount of fish in the country
  • India exports about 8% of the total fish production. Sri Lanka alone purchases 80% of our fish and fish products.
  • Sasson Dock in Mumbai is a major fishing harbour.
  • There are six major fishing harbours and 38 minor fishing harbours. The major harbours are —Cochin, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Roy Chowk, Paradip and Sas son dock.
  • The Central Institute of Fisheries, Nautical and Engineering Training is at Kochi.
  • The Central Institute of Coastal Engineering for Fisheries is in the Bengaluru.
  • Livestock includes domestic animals such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats, horses, ponies, donkeys, camels, pigs etc. India’s animal wealth is both large and varied. India has about 20% of the world’s livestock population.
  • Dairy Farming includes a class of agricultural enterprise for long-term production of milk which is processed for eventual sale of a dairy product. India is endowed with largest livestock population in the would. It accounts for about 57.3% of the world’s buffalo population and 14.7% of the cattle population.
  • Milch Breeds of Cattle — Gir, Sindhi, Red Sindhi, Sahiwal, Tharparkar and Deoni
  • Draught Breeds of Cattle — Nagori, Bauchaur, Malvi Hallikar, Ponwar, Sin, Bargur.
  • Dual Purpose Breeds of Cattle — Tharparkar, Haryana, Mewati, Kankrej, Rath, Nirnari, Dangi, Ongole.
  • Goats Breeds — Angora, Pashmina, Barabari, Marwari, Mehsana Beetal, Kathiawani and Zaiwadi.
  • Buffaloes Breeds — Murrah, Jafarabadi, Shruti, Mehsana, Nagpuri, Nu Ravi, Bhadawani.
  • Horses and Ponies Breeds — Marwari, Kathiawari, Manipuri, Bhutani, Spiti and Chummarti.



  • Sericulture refers to the rearing of the silk worms for the raw silk production. Silk is a protein produced form the salivary gland of silk worms.
  • Important features of Indian sericulture are as follows.
  • It is a agro-based labour intensive, export oriented and cottage industry
  • Silk is exported to more than 80 countries like USA, UK, Italy UAE, Saudi Arabia etc.
  • India enjoys the unique distinction of being the only country in the world to produce all the four varieties of silk such as Mulberry Tasar, Eri and Muga.
  • Muga is the monopoly of India. India ranks second in the world after China in Silk production.


Horticulture is a comprehensive term and indudes fruits vegetables, spices, floriculture and coconut. Some of the most important crops grown in India as a part of the horticulture sector are: mango, cashewnut, apple, banana, orange, grape, peach, pear, apricot, strawberry and vegetables. Some important information regarding these fruits is given in the table.



Temperate fruit crop- It requires average temperature from 21oC to 4 C during the active growing season, 100-125 cm rainfall well distributed throughout the growing season. These conditions are found on the hifi slopes at altitudes arranging from 1500-2700 m above sea level.

Kullu and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir valley and hilly areas of Uttarakhand.

Loamy soil, rich in organic matter, free from water logging are suitable for apple cultivation.


Primarily a tropical and sub-tropical crop requiring average temperature of 20°C to 30°C throughout the growing period and rainfall fairly above 150 cm.

Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra

are the two main producers.

India is the largest producer of banana in the world.


It is native of monsoon land and is grown in areas with temperature 20°C to 30°C and rainfall 75 cm to 250cm.

Uttar Pradesh. Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala, Tamil Nadu are the major producers.

India is the largest producer of

mango and contributes 54% of the

world production of mango.


it requires long summer, short winter and moderately fertile well drained soil

The major producing States are Uttarakhand, Himachal

Pradesh. Jammu and Kashmir.

In Northern India, the plant gives only one crop during summer, but

in South India, the plant grows

throughout the year, one in March, April and the other in August and September.


It requires above 16 °C temperature during its growing season and lots of water because its fields are sub-merges under 10 cm of fresh and slowly moving water for at least three months.

The main producers are the hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand.

Water retaining fertile soil is most



Government of India has identified floriculture as a sunrise industry and accorded it 100% export oriented status. Owing to steady increase in demand of flower, floriculture has become one of the important commercial trades in agriculture.

Floriculture products mainly consist of cut flowers, pot plants, cut foilage, seeds bulbs, tubers, rooted cuttings and dried flowers or leaves. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, West Bengal have emerged as major floriculture centers.


[tippy title=“UPSC_Pre_MCQ” height=“300” width=“650”] Following are the characteristics of an area in India: [2010] 1.Hot and humid climate 2.Annual rainfall 200 cm 3.Hill slopes up to an altitude of 1100 metres 4.Annual range of temperature 15°C to 30°C. Which one among the following crops are you most likely to find in the area described above?
(a)Mustard (b)Cotton (c)Pepper (d)Virginia tobacco
Ans.(c) [/tippy]
[tippy title=“UPSC_Pre_MCQ” height=“300” width=“650”] The lower Gangetic plain is characterised by humid climate with high temperature throughout the year. Which one among the following pairs of crops is most suitable for this region ?[2011 – I] (a) Paddy and Cotton (b) Wheat and Jute (c) Paddy and Jute (d) Wheat and Cotton
Ans.(c)The low and deltaic plains of the Ganges is characterised by swamps and Sundarbans. So, the people out there grow Paddy and Jute. [/tippy]
[tippy title=“UPSC_Pre_MCQ” height=“300” width=“650”] A state in India has the following characteristics : 1. Its northern part is arid and semi-arid. 2. Its central part produces cotton. 3. Cultivation of cash crops is predominant over food crops.[2011 – I] Which one of the following states has all of the above characteristics ? (a) Andhra Pradesh.(b) Gujarat. (c) Karnataka.(d) Tamil Nadu.
Ans. (b) [/tippy]


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