Agro Climatic Zones of India – UPSC

In this article, You will read the Agro Climatic Zones (i.e. Agro-Climatic Regions) of India – for UPSC

Agro Climatic Zones

  • In order to maximize the production from the available resources and prevailing climatic conditions, need-based, location specific technology needs to be generated. Delineation of agro-climatic zones based on soil, water, rainfall, temperature etc. is the first essential step for sustainable production.
  • Agro-climatic regions were devised by planning commission in 1989. It was based on land survey, soil survey and agricultural survey of rural India.
  • An “Agro-climatic zone” is a land unit in terms of major climates, suitable for a certain range of crops and cultivars. The planning aims at scientific management of regional resources to meet the food, fibre, fodder and fuel wood without adversely affecting the status of natural resources and environment.
  • Agro-climatic conditions mainly refer to soil types, rainfall, temperature and water availability which influences the type of vegetations.
Agro-Ecological Zone
  • An Agro-ecological zone is the land unit carved out of agro-climatic zone superimposed on landform which acts as modifier to climate and length of growing period.
  • India is a country of great geographical diversity. The variations in its terrain, temperature, rainfall and soils have closely influenced the cropping patterns and other agricultural activities.

Delineation Of Agro-Climatic Regions

  • For the planning and development of agriculture in 1989, the Planning Commission and the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) have divided the country into 15 agro-climatic regions. In the delineation of these agro-climatic regions, the physical attributes of the region and socio- economic characteristics have been taken into consideration.
  • The main objectives of delineating agro-climatic regions are:
    • To optimize agricultural production.
    • To increase farm income.
    • To generate more rural employment.
    • To make a judicious use of the available irrigation water.
    • To reduce the regional inequalities in the development of agriculture.
  • There are 15 agro-climatic zones in India which are:-
    1. Western Himalayan Region
    2. Eastern Himalayan Region
    3. Lower Gangetic Plains Region
    4. Middle Gangetic Plains Region
    5. Upper Gangetic Plains Region
    6. Trans – Gangetic Plains Region
    7. Eastern plateau and Hills Region
    8.  Central Plateau and Hills
    9. Western Plateau and Hills
    10. Southern Plateau and Hills
    11. East Coast Plains and Hills
    12. West Coast Plains and Ghats Region
    13. Gujarat Plains
    14. Western Dry Region
    15. The Islands Region.
agro climatic zones of india upsc

Agro Climatic Zones of India

While answering the question on Agro-climatic regions the answer must be segregated in the following divisions:

  • Location and topography
  • Climatic Conditions
  • Agricultural information
  • Socio-economic aspects and suggestions.
I. Western Himalayan Region:
  • Location and Topography:
    • The Western Himalayan Region covers Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the hill region of Uttarakhand.
    • It has snow- covered peaks, dissected topography, steep slopes, perennial rivers, evergreen and deciduous forests, and thin cover of soils on undulating slopes.
  • Climate:
    • There are micro level variations in temperatures and rainfall. It shows great variation in relief.
    • Summer season is mild (July average temperature 5°C-30°C) but the winter season experiences severe cold conditions (January temperature 0°C to -4°C).
    • The low temperatures, snowing and inclement weather in winters hinder the intensification of agriculture.
  • Agricultural Information
    • Agricultural activities in this region are largely confined to the valleys (Kashmir, Dun, Chamba, etc.), river terraces and gentle slopes of the Kandi tracts. Rice in the valley floors and maize in the hilly areas dominate the kharif land use.
    • Barley, wheat, oats, peas are sown in October in some areas show a stunted growth during the winters when temperatures are generally below the freezing point.
    • This agro-climatic region is well known for the cultivation of orchards. The apple orchards of Sopore, Srinagar and Baramulla (Kashmir), Kulu-Manali, Shimla and Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), and Ranikhat and Almora are famous all over the country. Apart from apples the apricot, almond, walnut, litchis, laokawt, cherry, peach, pears and superior quality of saffron are grown in this region.
    • The high altitude alpine pastures situated above 2000 metres, locally known as ‘Dhoks‘ or ‘Margs‘, are utilized by the Gujjars, Bakarwals and Gaddis for the rearing of their sheep, goats, cattle and horses.
  • Socio-economic aspects and suggestions:
    • The economy is largely agrarian and over 80 per cent of the total workforce of the region is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture.
    • Poor accessibility, soil erosion, landslides, inclement weather, inadequacy of marketing and storage facilities are the major problems of the region.
    • The agricultural potential of the region has not been utilized judiciously.
    • The standard of living of the rural communities is poor and they could not adopt the new agricultural technology like HYV of wheat and rice in a big way. There is a great need of research and extension service for the agricultural development and planning of the northwest mountainous region of the country.
II. Eastern Himalayan Region:
  • Location and topography:
    • The Eastern Himalayan Region includes Arunachal Pradesh, the hills of Assam, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, and the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
    • The topography is rugged.
  • Climatic Conditions:
    • Temperature variation is between 25 °C and 30 °C in July and between 10 °C and 20 °C in January.
    • Average rainfall is between 200- 400 cm. The red-brown soil is not highly productive. Jhuming (shifting cultivation) prevails in the hilly areas.
  • Agricultural information
    • The main crops are rice, maize, potato, tea. There are orchards of pineapple, litchi, oranges and lime.
  • Socio economic aspects and suggestions.
    • Infrastructural facilities in the region need to be improved and shifting cultivation needs to be controlled by developing terrace farming.
III. Lower Gangetic Plain Region:
  • Location and topography:
    • West Bengal (except the hilly areas), eastern Bihar and the Brahmaputra valley lie in this region.
    • The region has adequate storage of ground water with high water table.
  • Climatic Conditions:
    • Average annual rainfall lies between 100 -200 cm. Temperature in July varies from 26 °C to 41°C and for January from 9 °C to 24 °C.
  • Agricultural information:
    • Rice is the main crop which at times yields three successive crops (Aman, Aus and Boro) in a year. Jute, maize, potato, and pulses are other important crops.
  • Socio economic aspects and suggestions:
    • Planning strategies include improvement in rice farming, horticulture (banana, mango and citrus fruits), pisciculture, poultry, livestock, forage production and seed supply.
IV. Middle Gangetic Plain Region:
  • Location and topography:
    • The Middle Gangetic Plain region includes large parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
    • It is a fertile alluvial plain drained by the Ganga and its tributaries.
  • Climatic Conditions
    • The average temperature in July varies from 26 °C to 41 °C and that of January 9 °C to 24 °C average annual rainfall is between 100 -200 cm.
  • Agricultural information
    • Rice, maize, millets in Kharif, wheat, gram, barley, peas, mustard and potato in Rabi are important crops.
  • Socio economic aspects and suggestions:
    • Alternative farming systems and utilizing chaur lands for pisciculture are some measures to boost agricultural production.
    • Reclamation of user lands, wastelands, and fallow lands for agriculture and allied activities (agro-forestry, silviculture, floriculture etc.) should be done.
V. Upper Gangetic Plains Region:
  • Location and topography:
    • In the Upper Gangetic Plains region comes the central and western parts of Uttar Pradesh and the Haridwar and Udham Nagar districts of Uttarakhand.
  • Climatic Conditions:
    • Climate is sub-humid continental with temperature in July between 26 °C to 41 °C and temperature in January between 7 °C to 23 °C.
    • Average annual rainfall is between 75 cm-150 cm.
  • Agricultural information:
    • The soil is sandy loam. Canal, tube-well and wells are the main source of irrigation.
    • This is an intensive agricultural region wherein wheat, rice, sugarcane, millets, maize, gram, barley, oilseeds, pulses and cotton are the main crops.
  • Socio economic aspects and suggestions
    • Besides modernizing traditional agriculture the region needs special focus on dairy development and horticulture.
    • Strategies should include developing multiple mixed cropping patterns.
VI. Trans-Ganga Plains Region:
  • Location and topography:
    • This region (also called the Sutlej-Yamuna Plains) extends over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and the Ganganagar district of Rajasthan.
  • Climatic Conditions:
    • Semi-arid characteristics prevail over the region, with July‘s mean monthly temperature between 25 °C and 40 °C and that of January between 10°C and 20 °C.
    • The average annual rainfall varies between 65 cm and 125 cm. The soil is alluvial which is highly productive.
    • Canals and tube-wells and pumping sets have been installed by the cultivators and the governments.
  • Agricultural information:
    • The intensity of agriculture is the highest in the country. Important crops include wheat, sugarcane, cotton, rice, gram, maize, millets, pulses and oilseeds etc.
    • The region has the credit of introducing Green Revolution in the country and has adopted modern methods of farming with greater degree of mechanisation.
    • The region is also facing the menace of water logging, salinity, alkalinity, soil erosion and falling water table.
  • Socio economic aspects and suggestions: Some steps that may be required to make agriculture in the region more sustainable and productive are:
    • Diversion of some rice-wheat area to other crops like maize, pulses, oilseeds and fodder.
    • Development of genotypes of rice, maize and wheat with inbuilt resistance to pestsand diseases.
    • Promotion of horticulture besides pulses like tur and peas in upland conditions.
    • Cultivation of vegetables in the vicinity of industrial clusters.
    • Supply of quality seeds of vegetables and planting material for horticulture crops.
    • Development of infrastructure of transit godowns and processing to handle additional fruit and vegetable production.
    • Implementation of policy and programmes to increase productivity of milk and wool.
    • Development of high quality fodder crops and animal feed by stepping up area under fodder production.
VII. Eastern Plateau And Hills:
  • Location and topography: This region includes the Chotanagpur Plateau, extending over Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Dandakaranya.
  • Climatic Conditions:
    • The region enjoys 26 °C to 34 °C of temperature in July, 10 °C to 27°C in January and 80 cm-150 cm of annual rainfall.
    • The region is deficient in water resources due to plateau structure and nonperennial streams
  • Agricultural information:
    • Soils are red and yellow with occasional patches of lateritic and alluviums.
    • Rain fed agriculture is practiced growing crops like rice, millets, maize, oilseeds, ragi, gram and potato.
  • Socio economic aspects and suggestions: Steps to improve agricultural productivity and income includes:
    • Cultivation of high value crops of pulses like tur, groundnut and soybean etc. on upland rain-fed areas
    • Growing crops like urad, castor, and groundnut in kharif and mustard and vegetables in irrigated areas.
    • Improvement of indigenous breeds of cattle and buffaloes.
    • Extension of fruit plantations.
    • Renovation including desilting of existing tanks and excavation of new tanks.
    • Development of inland fisheries in permanent water bodies, and adopting integrated watershed development approach to conserve soil and rain water.
VIII. Central Plateau And Hills:
  • Location and topography: This region is spread over Bundelkhand, Baghelkhand, Bhander Plateau, Malwa Plateau, and Vindhyachal Hills.
  • Climatic Conditions: Semi-arid climatic conditions prevail over the region with temperature in July 26°C to 40°C, in January 7°C to 24°C and average annual rainfall from 50 cm-100 cm. Soils are mixed red, yellow and black.
  • Agricultural information: There is scarcity of water. Crops grown are millets, wheat, gram, oilseeds, cotton and sunflower.
  • Socio economic aspects and suggestions: In order to improve agricultural returns, measures to be adopted are water conservation through water saving devices like sprinklers and drip system; dairy development, crop diversification, ground water development, reclamation of ravine lands.
IX. Western Plateau And Hills:
  • Location and topography: Comprising southern part of Malwa plateau and Deccan plateau (Maharashtra), this is a region of the regur (black) soil
  • Climatic Conditions: July temperature between 24 °C and 41 °C, January temperature between 6 °C and 23 °C and average annual rainfall of 25 cm-75 cm.
  • Agricultural information: Wheat, gram, millets, cotton, pulses, groundnut, and oilseeds are the main crops in the rain-fed areas, while in the irrigated areas, sugarcane, rice, and wheat, are cultivated. Oranges, grapes and bananas are also grown.
  • Socio economic aspects and suggestions: Attention should be paid to increasing water efficiency by popularizing water saving devices like sprinklers and drip system. The lower value crops of jowar, bajra and rain fed wheat should give way to high value oilseeds. Five per cent area under rain-fed cotton and jowar could be substituted with fruits like ber, pomegranate, mango and guava. Improvement of milk production of cattle and buffalo through cross-breeding along with poultry development should be encouraged.
X. Southern Plateau And Hills:
  • Location and topography: This region falls in interior Deccan and includes parts of southern Maharashtra, the greater parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu uplands from Adilabad District in the north to Madurai District in the south.
  • Climatic Conditions: The mean monthly temperature of July varies between 25 °C and 40 °C, and the mean January temperature is between 10 °C and 20 °C. Annual rainfall is between 50 cm and 100 cm.
  • Agricultural information: It is an area of dry-zone agriculture where millets, oilseeds, and pulses are grown. Coffee, tea, cardamom and spices are grown along the hilly slopes of Karnataka plateau.
  • Socio-economic aspects and suggestions: Some of the area under coarse cereals may be diverted to pulses and oilseeds. Horticulture, dairy development and poultry farming should be encouraged.
XI. Eastern Coastal Plains And Hills:
  • Location and topography: This region comprises of the Coromandal and northern Circar coasts of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
  • Climatic Conditions: The mean July temperature ranges between 25 °C and 35 °C and the mean January temperature varies between 20 °C and 30 °C. The mean annual rainfall varies between 75 cm and 150 cm.
  • Agricultural information: The soils are alluvial, loam and clay and are troubled by the problem of alkalinity. Main crops include rice, jute, tobacco, sugarcane, maize, millets, groundnut and oilseeds.
  • Socio-economic aspects and suggestions: Main agricultural strategies include improvement in the cultivation of spices (pepper and cardamom) and development of fisheries. These involve increasing cropping intensity using water-efficient crops on residual moisture, discouraging growing of rice on marginal lands and bringing such lands under alternate crops like oilseeds and pulses; diversifying cropping and avoiding mono-cropping; developing horticulture in upland areas, social forestry and dairy-farming.
XII. Western Coastal Plains And Ghats:
  • Location and topography: This zone extends over the Malabar and Konkan coastal plains and the Sahyadris.
  • Climatic Conditions: The region is humid with the mean July temperature varying between 25 °C and 30 °C and mean January temperatures between 18 °C and 30 °C. The mean annual rainfall is more than 200 cm.
  • Agricultural information: The soil is lateritic and coastal alluvial. Rice, coconut, oilseeds, sugarcane, millets, pulses and cotton are the main crops. The region is also famous for plantation crops and spices which are raised along the hill slopes of the Western Ghats.
  • Socio-economic aspects and suggestions: The agricultural development must focus attention on raising of high value crops (pulses, spices, and coconut). Development of infrastructural facilities and promotion to prawn culture in brackish water should be encouraged.
XIII. Gujarat Plains And Hills:
  • Location and topography: This region includes the hills and plains of Kathiawar, and the fertile valleys of Mahi and Sabarmati rivers. It is an arid and semi-arid region.
  • Climatic Conditions: The mean July temperature reads 30 °C and that of January is about 25 °C. The mean annual rainfall varies between 50 cm and 100 cm.
  • Agricultural information: Soil is regur in the plateau region, alluvium in the coastal plains, and red and yellow soils in Jamnagar area. Groundnut, cotton, rice, millets, oilseeds, wheat and tobacco are the main crops. It is an important oilseed producing region.
  • Socio-economic aspects and suggestions: The main strategy of development in this region should be canal and groundwater management, rain water harvesting, dry land farming, agro-forestry development, wasteland development and developing marine fishing and brackish/back-water aquaculture development in coastal zones and river deltas.
XIV. Western Dry Region:
  • Location and topography: This region spreads over Rajasthan, West of the Aravallis.
  • Climatic Conditions: This region has an erratic rainfall of an annual average of less than 25 cm. The desert climate further causes high evaporation and contrasting temperatures—28 °C to 45 °C in June and 5 °C to 22 °C in January.
  • Agricultural information: Bajra, jowar, and moth are main crops of kharif and wheat and gram in Rabi. Livestock contributes greatly in desert ecology.
  • Agricultural information: The main areas needing a thrust for development are rainwater harvesting, increasing yield level of horticultural crops like water melon, guava and date palm, adopting high quality germplasm in cattle to improve their breed; and adopting silvi-pastoral system over wastelands.
XV. Island Region:
  • Location and topography: The island region includes Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep which have typically equatorial climate
  • Climatic Conditions: Annual rainfall less than 300 cm; the mean July and January temperature of Port Blair being 30 °C and 25 °C respectively.
  • Agricultural information: The soils vary from sandy along the coast to clayey loam in valleys and lower slopes. The main crops are rice, maize, millets, pulses, areca nut, turmeric and cassava. Nearly half of the cropped area is under coconut. The area is covered with thick forests and agriculture is in backward stage.
  • Socio-economic aspects and suggestions: The main thrust in development should be on crop improvement, water management and fisheries. Improved variety of rice seeds should be popularized so as to enable farmers to take two crops of rice in place of one. For fisheries development multi-purpose fishing vessels for deep sea fishing should be introduced, suitable infrastructure for storage and processing of fish should be built up, and brackish water prawn culture should be promoted in the coastal areas.
agro climatic zones of india

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