Cropping Pattern in India – UPSC

In this article, You will read Cropping Pattern in India (in detail) – for UPSC.

Cropping Pattern

  • Different crops grown in an area at a particular point of time is called cropping pattern.
  • Cropping pattern depends on climate (temperature, rainfall, wind etc.), soil, support price, value, demand – market, labour availability, historical setting, etc.
  • For example rice is cultivated extensively when the monsoons are good. But when monsoons are weak, millets are grown instead of rice. Cotton in Maharashtra, tea in Assam and jute in West Bengal remain the dominant crops due to highly favourable conditions for cultivation.
cropping pattern in india

Factors Affecting Cropping Pattern

  • Cropping pattern of any region depends upon many factors e.g. physical and technical factors, economic factors as well as on the government policies and actions. Some of the important factors are:
    • Geographical Factors
    • Economic Factors
    • Political Factors/Government Policies
    • Historical factors
Geographical Factors

The various Geographical factors affecting the cropping pattern of an area are:

i. Relief

  • Relief plays important role in deciding the cropping pattern of a region.
  • Rice is the main crop on the irrigated hill terraces (terraced cultivation).
  • Crop like tea and coffee can be grown only on well drained slopes that receive good amount of rainfall.
  • Rice (tropical crop) and sugarcane dominates well irrigated regions with fairly warm climate.
  • Wheat (temperate crop) grows well in plain regions with moderate temperature and rainfall.

ii. Temperature

  • Most crops require lower temperature at the time of sowing and higher temperature at the time of ripening.
  • Some crops require higher temperatures and are sown in the summer season. Most of the growth period falls under the rainy season. These are known as Kharif crops (rice, cotton, etc.). [They are sown just before the burst of south-west monsoons]
  • There are other crops that require lower temperature and moisture and are sown in the winter season (wheat). These are known as rabi crops.
  • Sugarcane gives good yield in south India than in northern plains. They need warm climates.

iii. Rainfall

  • Rainfall is one of the major determinants of the cropping pattern of a region. Variation in rainfall of different regions leads to different cropping patterns which is discussed below:
    • Areas of Heavy Rainfall
      • These are the areas with more than 150 cm of annual rainfall.
      • It includes east India and the west coastal plains.
      • Animal population is fairly high due to availability of fodder and grazing area.
      • Major crops include rice, tea, coffee, sugarcane, jute etc.
    • Areas of Medium Rainfall
      • These are the areas with 75 to 150 cm of annual rainfall
      • 150 cm annual rainfall isohyets are suitable for the cultivation of rice whereas 75 cm annual rainfall isohyets are suitable for maize, cotton and soyabean.
      • These areas are rich in natural resources. E.g. Eastern part of Utter Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, eastern parts of Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
      • Wheat is the principal rabi crop in these areas and millets are the natural priority due to its less water requirement.
      • Wheat, maize, cotton, soybean, millets, etc. are the major crops.
    • Areas of Low Rainfall
      • These are the areas with 25 to 75 cm (Semi-arid stretches of India) of annual rainfall.
      • Major crops in this belt are millets, jowar, and bajra in the northern, jowar in central and ragi in the southern part.
      • Wheat is the main rabi crop which is grown in irrigated areas.
      • Mixed cropping is very common in which pulses are mixed with cereals.
      • Cropping has been developed in such a way that no one crop dominates.
      • Dry land farming is common practice in this region.
      • Millets, oilseeds (Groundnut, sunflower, rapeseed and mustard etc.), pulses etc. are the major crops grown in this region.
rainfall pattern in india

iv. Soil

  • Soil of a region is an important determinant of the cropping pattern.
  • Different crops require different edaphic conditions for their growth and development.
  • Rice is mainly grown in clayey soils while loamy soils are best for wheat.
  • The regur soil of the Deccan Plateau is ideal for the cultivation of cotton.
  • Coarse grains such as jowar, bajra, maize, ragi, barley, etc. are grown in inferior soils (light sandy soils, light black soils, red and literate soils, etc.)
  • Delta soils of West Bengal are renewed by floods every year and are very fertile. They are ideal for jute cultivation. The farmers grow 2-3 crops in a year in this region.
  • Soils of the Darjeeling hills contain sufficient quantities of humus, iron, potash and phosphorus which are necessary for tea bush to grow.
soil pattern in india
Economic Factors

Economic motivation is the most important in determining the cropping pattern of the country. Among the various economic factors affecting cropping patterns, the irrigation, power, size of land holdings, sale price of crops, the income of farmers, insurance, and investment are important ones deciding the cropping pattern of an area. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Irrigation
    • Rice is a dominant crop in regions with reliable irrigation and a warm climate (coastal plains and irrigated belts of South India).
    • North Indian plain regions are well irrigated and support 2-3 crops of rice a year.
    • Crop diversification in certain regions has been negligible due to the presence of irrigation. E.g. Rice dominates in well-irrigated parts of south India. Wheat dominates the north-western part of the country. Coarse grains like jowar, bajra, maize, barley, ragi etc. are given comparatively less importance in these regions.
  • Size of Land Holdings
    • In case of smallholdings, the priority of the farmers would be to grow food grains for his family members (subsistence farming).
    • Farmers with large holdings can opt for cash and help in crop diversification, leading to changes in the cropping pattern (commercial farming).
    • But in spite of crop diversification potential, large holdings are used mostly for monoculture of rice, wheat, etc.
  • Insurance against Risk
    • The need to minimize the risk of crop failures not only explains diversification but also some specific features of crop patterns.
    • For e.g. in Southern states plantation crops are grown on a large scale due to the availability of suitable crop insurance schemes.
  • Availability of Inputs:
    • Seeds, fertilizers, water storage, marketing, transport, etc. also affect the cropping pattern of a region.
  • Value
    • Millets in the hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are replaced by high-value horticulture crops like apple.
  • Demand:
    • Rice is the preferred crop in the densely populated regions as there is a ready market and high demand.
Political Factors/Government Policies
  • The legislative and administrative policies of the government may also affect the cropping pattern. Food Crops Acts, Land Use Acts, intensive schemes for paddy, for cotton and oilseeds, subsidies affect the cropping pattern.
  • Government can encourage or discourage certain crops due to various reasons like drought, flood, inflation etc.
  • Minimum Support Price (MSP): Rice and wheat which are offered high MSP are preferred by farmers over other food crops.
Historical Factors
  • Cropping pattern of a region is also defined by the historical factors which includes the cultivation of various crops done in the area from long time due to the various historical reasons. E.g. tea plantation by British Kangra valley in Uttarakhand.
  • Sugarcane is grown more extensively in North India even though the conditions are most favourable in South India. This is because the sugarcane cultivation was encouraged by British as an alternative to indigo which lost its significance and market in states like Uttar Pradesh due to introduction of artificial dyes.
  • Diversification of crops due to surplus food grain production post Green Revolution has led to significant changes in cropping pattern. Other than rice and wheat, oilseeds and pulses also became more prominent.

Major Food Crops of India

  • A variety of food and non food crops are grown in different parts of the country depending upon the variations in soil, climate and cultivation practices.
  • Major crops grown in India are rice, wheat, millets, pulses, tea, coffee, sugarcane, oil seeds, cotton and jute, etc.
  • In this section we will discuss rice as a major food crop of India.

Rice

  • Rice is the staple food crop of a majority of the people in India. Our country is the second largest producer of rice in the world after China.
  • It is a kharif crop which requires high temperature, (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm.
  • In the areas of less rainfall, it grows with the help of irrigation. It is preferred staple food in Southern and North-Eastern India.
  • Rice is making quick inroads into North-Western Plain.
  • Rice growing areas are well suited for Mixed farming (Crops + Livestock).
  • Unpolished rice has high nutritional value. It is rich in Vitamin A, B and calcium. Polished rice lacks these vitamins.
Crop Season of Rice
  • Rice is a Kharif crop (Wet and Warm climate is ideal for rice cultivation). It is grown only in well irrigated areas in rabi season.
  • Most of the rice growing regions lie barren during summer (April-May).
  • It can be grown as summer crop in deltaic regions where water and irrigation is available through the year. E.g. Deltaic regions of West Bengal, Krishna-Godavari delta etc.
  • Rice has three cropping seasons – rice is grown as Kharif, rabi and summer crop. E.g. Deltaic regions of West Bengal, Krishna-Godavari delta etc.
Crop Season of Rice
Climatic Conditions for Growth
  • Rice crop needs plenty of heat, rain and labour.
  • It can be grown between 0 to 2,500 meters above the sea level.
  • Rice cannot tolerate the cold climate that exists above 2,500 meters.
  • Rice is Tropical and Kharif crop. It requires warm climate. Rice is grown almost throughout the year (2-3 crops) in hot and humid regions of eastern and southern parts of India.
  • In the northern and hilly parts of the country, the winters are too cold for rice cultivation and only one crop is grown (in summer) in those areas.
  • Rice requires semi-aquatic conditions (rainfall or irrigation throughout the season), the soil should never be dry during the growing season.
  • The fields during the rice cultivation must be flooded under 10-12 cm deep water at the time of sowing. The requirement of rice makes it primarily a crop of plain areas.
  • Rice grown in well watered lowland plain areas is called wet or lowland rice.
  • Rice can be grown in areas just below sea level like in Kuttanad region of Kerala.
  • Terraced cultivation of rice in followed in sloped regions. E.g. Hills of NE states (shifting cultivation or jhumming).
  • The supply of water in hill terraces is low and the rice grown in hilly areas is called dry or upland rice.
  • Average annual rainfall of rice growing areas is above 150 cm is good for the crop.
  • The 100 cm isohyets (imaginary line joining the points of equal rainfall) form the limit of rice growing areas in rainfed regions.
  • Rice is grown in Punjab, Haryana and western U.P (rainfall less than 100 cm) with the help of intensive irrigation.
Soil Condition for Growth
  • Rice is a dominant crop of river valleys, flood plains, deltas and coastal plains (plains can be easily flooded with the help of irrigation).
  • Loamy soils require frequent irrigation and more water as the water holding capacity is low. E.g. Delta regions, Punjab, Haryana and North Indian plains.
  • Clayey soils on the other hand have good water holding capacity. E.g. Coastal plains of south India, irrigated regions of Karnataka, Telangana etc.
  • Rice can tolerate acidic as well as alkaline soils.
Labor Requirement
  • Rice cultivation is traditionally a labour intensive crop.
  • Rice is primarily grown in areas of high population density (here labour and ready market is available).
  • In Punjab and Haryana, rice cultivation mainly depends upon the migrant labourers from Bihar and eastern U.P.
Methods of Rice Cultivation
  • Broadcasting Method
    • In this method the seeds are sown (broadcast) by hand.
    • This method is practiced in:
      • Areas of dry and/or less fertile soils, and
      • Areas with labour shortages.
    • This is the easiest method requiring minimum input.
    • The yields in this method are minimum.
  • Drilling Method
    • In this method one person ploughs the land and the other person sows the seeds.
    • This method is confined to dry regions of peninsular India.
    • The yields in this method are low.
  • Transplantation Method
    • It is the advanced method of rice cultivation in India.
    • It has less scope for mechanization and is labour intensive.
    • It is practiced in areas of fertile soil with abundant rainfall or irrigation.
    • In this method seeds are sown in nursery and seedlings are prepared. After a month the seedlings are uprooted and transplanted to a different field.
    • This is a difficult method that requires heavy inputs. But, it gives some of the highest yields.
  • Japanese Method
    • This is the highly mechanized and most advanced rice cultivation.
    • It is mostly followed in developed countries like Japan, South Korea etc.
    • In this method seedlings are transplanted in rows with the help of machines. Weeding and fertilizing are fully mechanized.
    • Heavy dose of fertilizers are required in this method.
    • Very high yields are obtained by this method of cultivation of rice.
Production and Productivity
  • India is the 2nd largest producer and consumer of rice in the world after China.
  • Low productivity: The average yield of rice in India is 2.3 tonne/ha against the global average of 4.374 tonne/ha. China (6.5), Australia (10), US (7.5) leads in productivity figures of rice
  • The state wise information about the rice production is summed in the table below.
state wise information about the rice production
  • The other major producers are Bihar (2,258 kg/hectare), Chhattisgarh (low yield 1,749 kg/hectare), Assam (Brahmaputra valley), Tamil Nadu (Cauvery delta) (2,785 kg/hectare), Telangana, Haryana, Karnataka, Jharkhand, etc.
rice map of india
Trade
  • Domestic rice production meets the domestic demand. There is very little surplus for external trade.
  • But now India occupies second position in rice exports, next only to Thailand.
  • India is the biggest exporter of basmati rice.
  • Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh produce best qualities of Basmati rice.
  • Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are surplus states. They supply to deficit states – West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and Delhi.

Wheat

  • Wheat is being cultivated in India for more than 5000 years and the original species Triticum sphaerococcum was grown in Indus Valley Civilization. This species is now disappeared and has been replaced by present day species-Triticum aestivum or the common Bread Wheat, Triticum durum or the Macaroni wheat and the Triticum dicoccum or the Emmer Wheat
  • Wheat is the second most important staple food for Indian population.
  • It is a rich source of calcium, thiamine, riboflavin and iron.
  • Preferred staple food in northern and north-western parts of the country.
Climatic Conditions For Cultivation of Wheat
  • Wheat is a temperate crop which requires a cool climate with moderate rainfall.
  • It shows great adaptability & can be grown in tropics as well (yields are low in tropics).
  • It is a rabi crop (winter crop – requires cool and less moist climate).
Climatic Conditions For Cultivation of Wheat
  • Wheat requires 75 cm of temporally (time) well distributed rainfall for its cultivation. 100 cm rainfall is the highest limit.
  • The isohyets of 100 cm separate wheat growing areas from rice growing areas.
  • In the Kharif season, rice replaces wheat in the ‘winter wheat belt’ region – Punjab, Haryana etc.
  • Light drizzles and cloudiness (E.g. Weather brought by Western Disturbances) at the time of ripening help in increasing the yield.
  • During flowering period a frost or hail storm is very harmful for the wheat.
Soil Requirement For Wheat
  • Well drained fertile, friable barns (mostly alluvial) and clay loams (good proportion of sand) are the best for wheat cultivation.
  • It also grows well in the black soil of the Deccan plateau.
  • Thus, wheat cultivation is more flexible than rice cultivation as the limiting factors are low.
  • Cultivation of wheat depends on mechanization as compare to rice, however, wheat requires less labour work.
Production Of Wheat
  • India is the second largest producer of wheat in the world next only to China.
  • Wheat is grown on 13 per cent of the cropped area of India.
  • India has done better in wheat by achieving the yield closer to the global average. It has recorded an average yield of 2.9 tonne per hectare as against the global benchmark of 3.0 tonne/ha.
  • However, it’s still far from countries like France (7.0 tonne), US (3.11 tonne) and China (4.8 tonne).
  • Production of wheat can be increased by the following measures:
    • Area specific Technology has to be used. Example – Micro irrigation in Dry Areas of Deccan Region.
    • Improved Supply of Better Seeds.
    • Better supply of fertilizers.
    • Control of weeds, pest and diseases.
    • Extending wheat cultivation to non -traditional areas like Assam valley and in Orissa. West-Bengal has already started growing wheat in sufficient quantity.
Distribution of Wheat In India
  • Wheat production is mainly confined to North-Western parts of the country.
  • Punjab, Haryana and the western parts of U.P have earned the distinction of being called the ‘Granary of India’.
  • Other important wheat producing states are Bihar (2423 kg/hectare), Gujarat, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
Distribution of Wheat In India
wheat production map of india

Maize

  • Maize is often known as Indian corn. Maize (‘Zea mays L’) is one of the most versatile emerging crops having wider adaptability under varied agro-climatic conditions. Globally, maize is known as queen of cereals because it has the highest genetic yield potential among the cereals.
  • In India, maize is the third most important food crops after rice and wheat. It is used as both food and fodder.
  • In addition to staple food for human being and quality feed for animals, maize serves as a basic raw material as an ingredient to thousands of industrial products that includes starch, oil, protein, alcoholic beverages, food sweeteners, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, film, textile, gum, package and paper industries etc.
  • USA produces maize mainly to beef up the cattle. Very little is used as food (Climatic regions: Gulf type).
Conditions for Growth For Maize
  • Maize is a rainfed Kharif crop.
  • Mostly grown in regions with semi-arid conditions (25 – 75 cm rainfall) where rice and wheat production is not possible.
  • It cannot be grown in areas of more than 100 cm rainfall.
  • In Tamil Nadu it is a rabi crop and is sown a few weeks before the onset of winter rainy season in Sept and Oct [because the rains occur mostly in November and December in eastern TN] [Prelims point].
  • Maize can be grown successfully in variety of soils ranging from loamy sand to clay loam. However, soils with good organic matter content having high water holding capacity with neutral pH are considered good for higher productivity. Soil with welldrained and fertile loams, free from coarse materials and rich in nitrogen are ideal for the cultivation of maize.
  • Being a sensitive crop to moisture stress particularly excess soil moisture and salinity stresses, it is desirable to avoid low lying fields having poor drainage and also the field having higher salinity. Therefore, the fields having provision of proper drainage should be selected for cultivation of maize.
  • The cultivation of maize in India is characterized by inter-culture i.e. along with pulses, vegetables and oil seeds.
Distribution of Maize In India
  • The maize is cultivated throughout the year in all states of the country for various purposes including grain, fodder, green cobs, sweet corn, baby corn, pop corn in peri-urban areas.
  • The predominant maize growing states that contributes more than 80 % of the total maize production are Andhra Pradesh (20.9 %), Karnataka (16.5 %), Rajasthan (9.9 %), Maharashtra (9.1 %), Bihar (8.9 %), Uttar Pradesh (6.1 %), Madhya Pradesh (5.7 %), Himachal Pradesh (4.4 %). Apart from these states maize is also grown in Jammu and Kashmir and North-Eastern states.
  • Hence, the maize has emerged as important crop in the non-traditional regions i.e. peninsular India as the state like Andhra Pradesh which ranks 5th in area (0.79 m ha) has recorded the highest production (4.14 m t) and productivity (5.26 t/ha) in the country although the productivity in some of the districts of Andhra Pradesh is more or equal to the USA.
maize production in india

Major Cash Crops Of India

  • Cash crops are the crops that are grown for sale in the market. E.g. cotton, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, oilseeds etc.
  • Cash crops are the major contributors to agricultural GDP of India.
  • They occupy only 15 per cent of the cropped area but account for over 40 per cent of the agricultural production by value.

Cotton

  • Out of about 50 species of cotton plants in the world, only above four have been domestically cultivated for cotton fibers. India is the only country in the world which grows all the 4 species of the cotton cultivated. These species are:
    • Gossypium arboreum (Asian Cotton)
    • Gossypium herbaceum (Asian cotton)
    • Gossypium barbadense (Egyptian cotton)
    • Gossypium hirsutum (American Upland cotton)
  • Cotton is most important fiber crop. Its seed is used for vanaspati industry and fodder for milch cattle.
Conditions for Growth
  • Cotton is chiefly a tropical and sub-tropical crop. Requires uniformly high temperature (21°C to 30°C). It grows well within the average annual rainfall range of 50-100 cm.
  • Most of the irrigated area under cotton is in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • High amount of rainfall in beginning (helps in sprouting of seeds) and sunny and dry weather at ripening time (moist weather during ripening leads to pest attacks) are very useful for a good crop.
Unfavourable Factors
  • The growth is retarded below 20 °C.
  • Frost is enemy number one of the cotton plant.
  • It is grown in areas having at least 210 frost free days in a year.
  • Moist weather and heavy rainfall at the time of boll-opening and picking (rains lead to fiber damage) are detrimental to cotton as the plant becomes vulnerable to pests and diseases.
  • Almost 65 per cent of the area under cotton is rainfed with erratic and poorly distributed rains. It is also subjected to severe attack of pests and diseases.
Crop Season
  • 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.
  • Most of the crop is grown mixed with other kharif crops (maize, jowar, ragi, sesamum, castor, groundnut etc.).
Crop Season of Cotton
Soil
  • Deep black soils (regur-lava soil) of the Deccan Plateau, Malwa Plateau and those of Gujarat are best suited for cotton cultivation.
  • It also grows well in alluvial soils of the Sutlej-Ganga Plain and red and laterite soils of the peninsular region.
  • Cotton quickly exhausts the fertility of soil.
Labours
  • Since picking of cotton is not yet mechanized, a lot of cheap and efficient labor is required.
  • Normally the picking season is spread over a period of about three months.
Types of Cotton
  • Three broad types of cotton are generally recognized on the basis of the length, strength and structure of its fiber.
    • Long-staple cotton
      • It has the longest fiber whose length varies from 24 to 27 mm.
      • The fiber is fine and lustrous and is used for making superior quality cloth. It fetches the best price.
      • About half of the total cotton produced in India is long stapled.
      • It is largely grown in Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
    • Medium staple cotton
      • The length of its fiber 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.
    • Short staple cotton
      • This is inferior cotton with fiber 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.
Types of Cotton
Distribution
  • India has the sole distinction of growing all the four cultivated species of cotton.
  • In India, cotton is grown in three distinct agro-ecological zones, viz.,
    1. Northern (Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan),
    2. Central (Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh) and
    3. Southern zone (Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka).
  • Gujarat is the largest producer of Cotton in India followed by Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Haryana is the fourth largest producer of cotton in India.
  • India exports inferior quality cotton mainly to U.K., where it is mixed with superior quality cotton there.
  • India has been a big importer of superior quality long staple cotton mainly from the USA, Russia, Sudan and Kenya.
Cotton Distribution
cotton distribution in india
Production
  • India’s cotton production in 2019 is projected as the highest ever: 354 lakh bales. This threefold increase in cotton production during past two decades is used by proponent of GM crops to extend the technology to other crops as well.
  • India has the largest area under cotton cultivation in the world. However, India’s productivity (yield per unit area), is much lower than other major cotton-producing countries, meaning a much larger area is used for cotton production.
  • Indeed, India’s productivity has been only a third of these countries for over four decades.
  • The largest producers of cotton, currently are India and China, with annual production of about 18.53 million tonnes and 17.14 million tonnes, respectively; most of this production is consumed by their respective textile industries.
cotton producing states in india
Bt Cotton
  • Genetically Modified (GM) pest resistant Bt cotton hybrids have captured the Indian market since their introduction in 2002. These now cover over 95% of the area under cotton, with the seeds produced entirely by the private sector.
  • Maharashtra has the largest area under Bt cotton, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
  • In North, Punjab and Haryana are known for Bt cotton cultivation.
  • Bt stands for the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (not biotechnology).
  • Bacillus thuringiensis produces a toxin called bt toxin which is detrimental for certain kind of pest (bollworms) that infects cotton crop.
  • This trait of Bacillus thuringiensis is induced into cotton by genetic modification.
  • But with time yields decreased sharply due to other pest population which could not be controlled by Bt cotton. [Bt toxin controls only bollworm. Cotton attracts more than 100 different species of pests].
  • Other concern with Bt cotton is that the bollworm may develop resistance like it happened in China.
Bt Cotton
Cotton Corporation Of India
  • Cotton Corporation of India was established in 1970 under Companies Act 1956.
  • It’s a Government of India’s corporate agency, engaged in diverse activities related to trade, procurement, and export of cotton.
  • CCI is governed by Textile Policy 1985 issued by Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  • CCI operates in the following states as of now – Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka , Tamil Nadu and Orissa.

Jute

  • Jute is the second most important fiber crop of India after cotton. It is used for manufacturing gunny bags, ropes, carpets, rugs, tarpaulins, etc.
  • There was great demand for jute because of its low price, softness and strength. The introduction of synthetic alternatives has resulted in decline of demand for jute.
  • Conditions for Growth
    • Jute is the crop of hot (24°C to 35°C) and humid climate (120 to 150 cm) with 80 to 90 per cent relative humidity during the period of its growth. Lot of water is required for growing the crop.
    • Sowing and raising of saplings are carried out in the pre-monsoon season with 25 cm to 55 cm of rainfall. This is done to take full advantage of the monsoon season.
    • Jute is generally sown in February and harvested in October (crop takes 8-10 months to mature).
    • Alluvial (light sandy or clayey barns) are considered to be best suited soils for jute.
    • Just like cotton, jute also exhausts the fertility of soil rapidly. It is necessary that the soil is replenished annually by the silt-laden flood water of the rivers.
  • Processing of Jute
    • Large supply of cheap labor and lot of water are necessary for processing the jute fiber post-harvest.
    • The plants bundles (Sheaf) are immersed in stagnant water for about 3 weeks for retting (soak in water to soften it). High temperature of water quickens the process of retting.
    • After retting is complete, the bark is peeled from the plant and fiber is removed. Stripping, rinsing and cleaning of the fiber are done after that.
    • Fiber is dried in the sun and pressed into bales (a large wrapped or bound bundle).
    • All the processes mentioned about are done by human hand. Therefore jute is cultivated only in areas of high population density.
Processing of Jute
  • Production
    • After partition, 75 per cent of the jute producing areas went to Bangladesh. But, most of the jute mills remained in India.
    • There had been rapid increase in area, production and yield between 1950 to 1980.
    • Negative trends have been observed in area, production and yield from 1981 till present. This is due to changes in weather conditions, increase in rice cropped area, introduction of synthetic alternatives to jute etc.
    • Currently India accounts for about 56 per cent of world jute production.
    • Bangladesh is second with 25 per cent.
  • Distribution
    • Over 99 per cent of the total jute of India is produced in just five states of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
    • Andhra Pradesh (delta area) and Odisha are other important producers.
Jute Distribution
Jute Distribution
  • Trade
    • India imports raw jute from Bangladesh as the local produce is not sufficient to feed the jute mills.
    • It exports jute hessian to Bangladesh.

Sugarcane

  • Sugarcane has the largest value of production among all the commercial crops in India. It is the first choice of the farmers wherever geographical conditions favor its growth.
  • Sugarcane is indigenous to India. It belongs to bamboo family.
  • Thickened sugarcane juice is used to make sugar, gur (jaggery) and khandsari. Twothirds of the total sugarcane produced in India is used for making jaggery and khandsari and the rest goes to sugar factories.
  • Molasses, bagasse and pressmud are the byproducts of sugar industry. Molasses provides raw material for manufacturing alcohol (ethanol). It is also an efficient substitute for certain petroleum products.
Sugarcane Products
  • Bagasse (cane residue) is used for manufacturing paper and also as fuel in the mills. Bagasse is more useful if it is used in paper manufacturing rather than as fuel. [It can help to save trees; as fuel, it is very inefficient]
  • Pressmud is used as soil amendment (compost) to increase fertility of the soil.
  • Conditions for Growth: Climate
    • Sugarcane is predominantly a tropical crop. It requires hot (21°-27°C) and humid (75- 150 cm) climate.
    • Sugar beet (tuber crop) is the temperate alternative for sugarcane. It requires 10 to 18 months to mature depending upon the geographical conditions.
    • Too heavy rainfall results in low sugar content & deficiency in rainfall produces fibrous crop.
    • Temperature above 20°C combined with open sky in the second half of the crop season helps in acquiring juice and its thickening.
    • Short cool dry winter season during ripening and harvesting is ideal.
    • Frost is detrimental to sugarcane. It must be harvested before frost season in northern parts where frost is a common phenomenon.
    • On the other hand, hot dry winds like “Loo” are hostile to sugarcane. Both frost and loo are absent in South India. So south is ideal
    • Coastal plains and western side of Western Ghats are generally avoided as the gusty winds (monsoon winds) damage the crop.
  • Conditions for Growth: Soil
    • Sugarcane can tolerate any kind of soil that can retain moisture.
    • Sugarcane exhausts the fertility of the soil.
    • Flat plain or level plateau is an advantage for sugarcane cultivation (facilitates irrigation and transportation of cane to the sugar mills).
  • Conditions for Growth: Labour
    • Cheap abundant labor is a prerequisite for successful cultivation of sugarcane.
  • Production
    • India has the largest area under sugarcane cultivation in the world. But in production India lags behind Brazil – world’s largest producer of sugarcane.
    • Productivity is quite low compared to Columbia, Peru, Indonesia, Egypt, etc.
    • Shortages of fertilizers, improper and untimely use of fertilizers, uncertain weather conditions, inadequate irrigation, poor varieties of cane, small and fragmented holdings and backward methods of cultivation are some of the major causes of low yields in India (This is common for rice and sugarcane).
    • Sugarcane Research Institute, Coimbatore introduced the system of ratooning to reduce the costs of sugarcane cultivation.
    • Ratoon crop is the second or any other successive crop obtained from the roots left over in the field from the first crop. In this system the sugarcane is cut leaving the root intact in the soil. This is widely practiced in different parts of the country.
    • Advantage of ratooning: Low cost of production, relatively shorter maturation period, and low cost inputs and time is saved as there is no need for fresh sowing and growing of roots.
    • However, productivity decreases with each passing year and ratooning becomes uncommercial after one or two years.

Distribution

  • Three distinct belts of sugarcane cultivation can be identified in India.
distinct belts of sugarcane cultivation
  • Before the World War I, the northern plain area was mainly used for growing indigo. With the introduction of cheap aniline dyes, indigo lost its market by the time of WW I. Consequently, indigo’s place was taken by sugarcane cultivation in the north.
  • Other factors:
    • Sugarcane needs good irrigational facilities throughout the year. Such facilities were available in the north due to perennial river systems.
    • On the other hand, the south has only non-perennial rivers. Also, irrigational facilities were previously nonexistent in most parts of the south.
    • In the southern states, sugarcane had to face tough competition for land from a number of other cash crops such as cotton, tobacco, groundnut, coconut, etc.
  • More sugarcane cultivation has led to the setting up of more sugar mills in the south. Apart from that most favorable weather conditions are present (loo and frost absent).
  • There has been the development of extensive irrigational facilities in the past few decades.
  • Year-long crushing season. (In the north, winter = very cold = There is no Crushing period in winter)
  • High maritime influence = moderate climate = doesn’t reduce sugar content (very high temperature and low rainfall lead to fibrous crop).
sugarcane cultivatiing states climatic conditions
  • Bihar, Gujarat (its recovery of 10.31 percent of sugar is one of the highest among the major sugar cane producing states of India), Uttarakhand (mostly hilly and mountainous – not much suitable. However, parts of Haridwar, Nainital, and Dehra Dun districts are plain areas or areas located at the foothills), Punjab (wheat took over the sugarcane regions) are other important producers.
sugarcane producing states in india

Tobacco

  • Tobacco was brought to India by the Portuguese in 1508.
  • Tobacco is mainly used for smoking and also for manufacturing insecticides. Returns from this crop are high.
  • Conditions for Growth: Climate
    • Tobacco is a plant of tropical and sub-tropical climates.
    • It can withstand a wide range of temperature varying from 16° to 35°C. As a result it can be grown in many agro climatic regions of India.
    • Tobacco needs fairly well distributed rainfall with an annual average of about 100 cm.
    • It can be grown from low lying plains up to a height of 1,800 meters.
    • Frost is injurious to its growth.
    • Bright rainless weather is helpful at the curing stage.
  • Conditions for Growth: Soil
    • For tobacco, soil is the most important geographical distribution factor rather than the climate. Well drained friable sandy loams are ideal for cultivation.
    • Soils should be rich in mineral salts (facilitate full development of roots) but not in organic matter.
tobacco-plants
  • Conditions for Growth: Labour
    • Cheap and abundant labor is required at all stages of its cultivation.
  • Types of Tobacco
    • Mainly two types of tobacco are grown in India.
      • Nicotiana Tobacum
      • Nicotiana Rustica
Types of Tobacco
  • Production
    • India is the third largest tobacco producing country after China and Brazil.
    • India is followed by USA, Malawi, Indonesia and Argentina.
  • Distribution
    • Gujarat – 65% of the production
    • Andhra Pradesh – 31% of the production
    • The other tobacco producing states in India are Uttar Pradesh (15%), Karnataka (13%) Bihar (2%), Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra.
    • Uttar Pradesh gives the highest yield – more than two times the national average.
tobacco distribution in india
  • Trade
    • India is world’s fourth largest exporter of tobacco.
    • Only 20 per cent of the total production of India is traded externally. Bulk of India’s tobacco export consists of unmanufactured tobacco.
    • Russia and U.K. purchase about two-third of our total tobacco exports. About 90 per cent of the tobacco export trade is handled by Chennai alone.

Millets

  • Millets are traditional grains, grown and consumed in the Indian subcontinent from the past more than 5000 years. Millets are short duration (3-4 months), small – grained, annual, warm – weather cereals belonging to grass family.
  • They are grown in less fertile areas. They are highly tolerant to drought and other extreme weather conditions. They require low or no purchased inputs, thus they are backbone for dry land agriculture.
  • Millets are highly nutritious, non-glutinous and non acid forming foods. Millets have many nutraceutical and health promoting properties especially the high fibre content. They provide food for the poor people.
  • Some of the important Millets are discussed below:

I. Jowar (Sorghum)

  • Jowar has a high nutritional value. It is rich in protein, fibre, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, and carotene.
  • Sorghum proteins upon cooking are significantly less digestible than other cereal proteins, which might be a health benefit for certain dietary groups.
  • Conditions for Growth for jowar:
    • Jowar is a rainfed crop of dry farming areas.
    • Jowar is grown both as Kharif as well as a rabi crop.
    • It does not grow where the rainfall exceeds 100 cm.
    • Clayey deep regur and alluvium are the best suited soils for jowar.
    • It can also be raised on gentle slopes up to 1,200 meters height.
  • Production and Distribution
    • Maharashtra (37%) and Karnataka (26%) are the largest producers.
    • MP, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, are other important producers of Jowar.

II. Bajra (Bull Rush Millet)

  • Bajra is the second most important millet. It has been grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric times. It is well adapted to growing areas characterized by drought, low soil fertility, and high temperature. It performs well in soils with high salinity or low pH.
  • Just like jowar, it is also used as food and fodder in drier parts of the country.
  • Conditions for Growth:
    • Bajra is a rainfed kharif crop of dry and warm climate.
    • It is grown in areas of 40-50 cm of annual rainfall. Upper limit is 100 cm.
    • Bajra can be grown on poor light sandy soils, black and red soils.
    • It is sown either as a pure or mixed crop with cotton, jowar and ragi.
  • Production and Distribution
    • Rajasthan (1st), Uttar Pradesh (2nd), Gujarat and Haryana are the important producers.
    • Rajasthan accounts for 44.39 per cent of the total production.

III. Ragi (Finger Millet)

  • Ragi is mainly grown in drier parts of south India (Mostly drier parts of Karnataka).
  • Finger millet is the richest source of calcium (300-350 mg/100g)
  • It requires warm climate and 50-100 cm rainfall.
  • It is raised on a variety of soils. [Red, light black, sandy, well drained alluvial loams].
  • It is a rainfed kharif crop which is sown between May and August and harvested between September and January.
  • Production and Distribution
    • Karnataka is the largest producer (73.23 per cent). Uttarakhand is the second largest producer (tricky point for prelims) and Tamil Nadu is the third largest producer.
    • Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh are some other important producers of Ragi.

IV. Barley

  • Barley is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago.
  • Barley has been used as animal fodder, as a source of fermentable material for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods.
  • Besides food, it is used for manufacturing beer and whisky.
  • Conditions for Growth
    • It does not tolerate high heat and high humidity.
    • It grows in areas with rainfall range of 75 cm to 100 cm.
    • It is grown as a rabi crop in the Great Plains and valleys of the western Himalayas.
    • It can be grown up to an altitude of 1,300 meters as in Uttarakhand.
  • Production and Distribution
    • Production has declined over time (just like most of the millets).
    • Rajasthan is the largest producer (40 per cent). Uttar Pradesh is the second largest producer.
millets types
Some more facts related to Millets:
  • Millet Village scheme: It is a special scheme to promote the cultivation of cereals such as millet, ragi, bajra, and maize by setting up a millet village at Attappady. The project aimed at protecting seeds of traditional varieties of millets and ensures food security and livelihood for tribals.
  • International Year of Millets in 2023: 160th session of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Council, held in Rome in December 2018, approved India’s proposal to observe an International Year of Millets in 2023.
millets growing states in india

Pulses

  • Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family. Pulses grow in pods and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognizes 11 types of pulses: dry beans, dry broad beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cow peas, pigeon peas, lentils, Bambara beans, vetches, lupins and pulses nes.
  • Besides serving as an important source of protein for a large portion of the global population, pulses contribute to healthy soils and climate change mitigation through their nitrogen-fixing properties.
  • India is the largest producer (25% of global production), consumer (27% of world consumption) and importer (14%) of pulses in the world.
  • The important pulses are discussed below:

I. Gram

  • Gram is the most important of all the pulses.
  • It prefers mild cool (20 – 25 C) and comparatively dry climate (40-50 cm).
  • It is a rabi crop. It is cultivated as pure or mixed with wheat, barley, linseed or mustard.
  • Mixed cropping helps to check the gram blight disease to some extent.
  • Production and Distribution
    • Gram like millets has suffered a lot at the hands of wheat.
    • Most of the gram comes from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
    • Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer (40%).
    • Andhra Pradesh (Rayalseema region), UP, Karnataka, are other major producers.

II. Tur or Arhar (Pigeon Pea or Recri Gram)

  • Tur is the second most important pulse. It is consumed on a very large scale in South Asia and is a major source of protein for the population of the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is the primary accompaniment to rice or roti (flat bread) and has the status of staple diet throughout the length and breadth of India.
  • It is chiefly grown as a kharif crop.
  • In areas of mild winters it is grown as a rabi crop.
  • It is grown as a dry crop mixed with other kharif crops like jowar, bajra, ragi, maize, cotton, groundnut, etc. and is seldom grown as a single crop.
  • Its conditions of growth are more or less similar to those of other pulses and millets.
  • Distribution
    • Maharashtra is the largest producer of tur in India (29%).
    • Madhya Pradesh is the second largest producer.
    • Bihar has the distinction of giving highest yield per hectare.
Pulses types
pulses production in india
pulses production

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