Intensity of Cropping

Agricultural production and productivity can be increased in two ways; by expanding the cropped area and by increasing the intensity of cropping. Since much of the physically suitable land for cultivation is already under plough, there is little scope for expansion of netcsown area. The only alternative le is the intensification of cropping. The intensity of cropping refers to the number of crops raised on a field during an agricultural year. The total cropped area as percentage of the net sown area gives a measure of cropping intensity.

Thus, cropping intensity = Total cropped area ×100 Net sown area the index of the intensity of cropping depends upon the extent of area sown more than once. Higher the extent of area sown more than once, higher will be the intensity of cropping. In other words, intensity of cropping is the indicator of the

efficiency of land use. Higher the index of intensity of cropping, higher is the efficiency of land use. e main factors influencing intensity of cropping are irrigation, fertilizer, early-maturing high-yielding varieties of seeds, mechanisation of agriculture and plant protection measures through the use of insecticides, pesticides and weedicides. e availability of water for irrigation ensures the use of higher doses of fertilizers which, in turn, reduces the extent of fallow land. e quick-ripening varieties of seeds help in taking more than one crop from the same ld in one agricultural year.

Cropping Seasons in India

Cropping Major Crops Cultivated
Seasons Northern Stages Southern States
Kharif Rice, Cotton, Bajara Rice, Maize, Ragi,
June-Sep. Maize, Jowar, Tur Jowar, Groundnut
Rabi Wheat, Gram, Rapeseeds Rice, Maize, Ragi,
Oct.-March and Mustard, Barley Groundnut, Jowar
Zaid Vegetables, Fruits, Rice, Vegetables,
April-Jun Fodder Fodder

Types of Farming

Physical and human factors have played their respective roles to give rise to different types of farming in diparts of the country. A brief account of major types of farming is as under:

Subsistence Farming

Majority of farmers in large parts of the country practise subsistence framing. Farmers cultivate small and scattered holdings with the help of draught animals and family members. Techniques are primitive and tools are simple. Modern farm implements are practically absent. Farmers are too poor to purchase fertilizers and high yielding varieties of seeds as a result of which the productivity is low. Facilities like electricity, irrigation and credit are badly lacking. As such, the farmer and his family members consume the entire farm produce and do not have any surplus farm production to sell in the market. e main emphasis is on food crops although some other crops such as sugarcane, oilseeds, cotton, jute, tobacco also occupy important place in some areas.

Large scale improvement has been brought in Indian agriculture after Independence. Farming techniques w ere improved and the holdings became large and properly arranged as a result of consolidation. Mechanisation of agriculture increased. The financial position of the farmer improved a little and he could afford to purchase chemical fertilizers and high-yielding varieties of seeds. He could avail of facilities like irrigation, electricity, loans etc. In this way, our agriculture could come out of primitive subsistence stage. But even now, many farmers do not have any surplus to sell in the market at commercial scale. So presently, many parts of India have intensive subsistence farming.

Plantation Agriculture

Plantation agriculture was introduced in India by the Britishers in the 19th century. This type of agriculture involves growing and processing of a single cash crop purely meant for sale. Large capital input, vast estates, managerial ability, technical know-how, sophisticated farm machinery, fertilizers, good transport facilities, and a factory for processing the produce are some of the outstanding features of plantation agriculture. There are plantations of rubber, tea, coffee, cocoa, banana, spices, coconut, etc. s type of agriculture is practised mainly in Assam, sub-Himalayan West-Bengal, and in the Nilgiri, Anaimalai and Cardamom Hills in the south.

Shifting Agriculture

This is a type of agriculture in which a piece of forest land is cleared mainly by tribal people by felling and burning of trees and crops are grown. After 2-3 years when the fertility of the soil in the cleared land decreases, it is abandoned and the tribe shift to some other piece of land. This process continues and the farmers again shift to the first piece of land after a gap 10-15 years. This type of agriculture is practised over an area of 54 lakh hectares, 20 lakh hectares being cleared every year. Dry paddy, buck wheat, maize, small millets, tobacco and sugarcane are the main crops grown under this type of agriculture. This is a very crude and primitive method of cultivation which results in large scale deforestation and soil erosion especially on the hill sides causing devastating floods in the plains below. About one million hectares of land is degraded every year due to shifting agriculture. Therefore, there is urgent need to put a check on this practice. For this purpose, the tribal people need to be educated about the damage caused by this practice to the natural resources like vegetation and soil. Jalpaiguri areas of West Bengal and Tripura. Surgarcane and tobacco are grown in Bihar, Coconut is grown in coastal areas. Mango, pineapple, betel leaves, banana, jack fruits, and oranges are the main fruit crops.

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. e ma in wheat belt of India extends over Punjab, Haryana, Ganga-Yamuna doab of Uttar Pradesh and north-eastern Rajasthan. Sugarcane is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh and contiguous parts of Bihar. Rice, pulses and maize are the other important crops.

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.

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 southen part, rice, cotton and sugarcane are grown. Bajra and pulses are grown throughout the region.

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