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Types of farming in India
This article explains ancient and modern types of farming in India. India has variations in physical, economic and social factors. Availability of rainfall also plays an important factor in farming. These factors have resulted in various types of farming in various parts of India.
The farming in which farm produce is just enough to meet basic food and shelter needs of farmer and his/her family is known as subsistence farming. After fulfilling the requirements, they could sell cultivated crops accordingly. There are two types of subsistence farming viz. shifting farming and sedentary subsistence farming.
Shifting farming is an ancient type of farming. It is practised by some tribal people from the outskirt areas of cities and villages. Major crops like rice, corn, jowar, bajra, ragi, chillies, oil-seeds etc are grown under shifting cultivation. Some parts of the states of Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are practiced shifting farming. Shifting farming in different regions has different names. In South India, shifting farming is called as “Kumari”. In North India, shifting farming is known as “Jhum”. In Orissa, the farming is called as “Podu” and “Dungar”. In Madhya Pradesh, the farming is named as “Bewar”.
• After the selection of land for shifting cultivation, the land is cleared and unwanted plants are burnt. Owing to this, potash content in the soil increases but the organic materials are lost. As long as the fertility of land remains they continue farming. But, when the fertility decreases, farmers discontinue the farming over the land and move in search of new piece of land. This is the main demerit of shifting cultivation. Only natural fertilizers like compost manures are used. However, chemical fertilizers, quality seeds, crop protection methods and modern methods are not implemented. Therefore, crop production is low.
• Low production, cutting of trees, soil erosion and unstable life are some of the disadvantages of this type of agriculture. Shifting cultivation causes environmental degradation. Hence, there are some restrictions on practising this type of farming.
Sedentary subsistence farming
In Sedentary subsistence farming, farmers settle at one place permanently and cultivate the land.
• The main crops like jowar, bajra, maize, sesame, pulses, cotton and vegetables are cultivated.
• This method of farming is old fashioned. Land is ploughed with simple implements like wooden ploughs, spades, hoes etc. Generally, chemical fertilizers are not used. Natural fertilizers are used. Hence crop production is just enough to satisfy the needs of a farmer. The crop field per hectare is very low.
• The farm size is small. Cattle are used for farming operations. Machinery is not used. This type of farming is dependent on human labour. Due to this type of farming sedentary life of human beings began.
Farming which is totally based on rainfall is called dry farming. This is a type of traditional farming. Such farming is found in low rainfall region and where irrigation facility is not available. Some parts of the states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, etc are practice dry farming. Rain water percolates in the land, such moist land is utilised for agriculture.
• Rain water percolates in the soil. It is used for growing Kharif and rabi crops. Food crops are mostly grown in this type of farming. Jowar, bajra, corn, moong, groundnuts etc. are grown in Kharif season. In the rabi season crops like wheat, gram, soyabean, sunflower, linseed, etc are cultivated.
Intensive farming is practiced in the regions of dense population and high use of workers, fertilizers, investment, etc. Intensive farming is associated with the increasing use of labour, high yielding varieties of crops, chemical and natural fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides and irrigation. Intensive farming is practiced in the western and eastern coastal regions of India, flood plains and the areas adjacent to them. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Orissa are the states where intensive agriculture is practiced.
• In intensive type of farming, lands are divided into small parts. Animals like bulls, cows, goats, etc are reared. Bulls play an important role in performing farming operations like ploughing.
• Due to small size of land, use of machines like tractors cannot possible. Hence, farming operations are depends on animals and human efforts. Because of dense population manpower is available. Being labour based agriculture, people get employment. Hence, large number of people depends on this type of agriculture.
• Food grains, fruits, vegetables and oil seeds are cultivated in intensive type of farming. Rice, wheat, Jowar, bajra, etc. are the major crop in areas where the climate is hot and moist with heavy rainfall. Rice cultivation is not possible in areas having low rainfall, hence other types of crops are grown. Yield per hectare is high in intensive type of farming.
We have seen that subsistence farming, practiced by farmers are only for fulfil food requirements of farmers and their family. But, plantation farming is generally treated as occupation. Plantation crop products have an important in Indian economy. In India, plantation farming is found in some parts of the states of Tripura, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, etc. Major crops like oil, palm, tea, sugar, coffee, rubber, spices, orchards and coconut are grown under this farming.
• Plantation agriculture requires a large amount of capital. Most of the products of plantation farming are exported from India.
• The farms of plantation farming are called as “estates”. The size of the plantation farms in India is about 40 hectares. In West Bengal, some states are about 200 hectares in size.
• Only one crop is cultivated in plantation farming. Rubber plantations are in the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Farmers of Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal cultivate tea plants. While, farmers from states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu grow coffee plants.
• Most of the plantations are on mountainous areas, therefore chances of soil erosion increases. Soil erosion removes fertile soil from the land. Soil erosion is responsible for floods.
• Plantations are developed after cutting down of trees and plants, therefore environment is degraded. This can destroy those trees and plants which are on the verge of extinction.
• Since in this type of farming, lot of workers are required and hence conflicts between owners and workers adversely affect production of agriculture.
Sustainable agriculture is a modern concept. An agricultural activity which is practiced with protection and conservation of resources is called sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture is practiced to maintain environmental balance, achieve social and economic equality and get economic benefits. It is essential that the resources which we use to satisfy our needs must be preserved in good quality and quantity for our future generation. Therefore conservation of natural resources is very important. This type of agriculture does not cause harm to human beings, animals and environment. Sustainable agriculture is practiced in some parts of the states of a Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, etc. Traditional Indian agriculture is undergoing remarkable changes due to the use of modern science and technology. The following features are important while considering technological and institutional impact.
• Bio-technology: Certain organisms are used to obtain better quality of production to control pests and diseases of crops and to increase production. This technique is called bio-technology. In recent times, progressive farmers are using bio-technology for farming.
• Micro-irrigation: Micro-irrigation is an advanced system, very useful in saving water. There are two types of micro-irrigation viz. sprinkler irrigation and drip irrigation. These advanced methods are used in some states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab etc.
• Modern implements and machines: Shifting farming and sedentary subsistence farming are primitive types of farming. Farmers are continuously improving their farming methods to increase crop production and maintain fertility of their land. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides, tractors, harvesters, sowing machines, etc are some of the modern ways have been used to enhance efficiency in farming.
• Polyhouse: A protective shade made of polythene used for growing high value agricultural products is called polyhouse. It is semi-circular, square or elongated in shape. Temperature, humidity, ventilation of air is controlled by equipments fixed in the polyhouse. Crops grown in the polyhouse are protected from intense heat, bright sunlight, strong winds, hailstones and cold waves. Polyhouses are used in floriculture and nurseries.
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