Indian Agriculture: Types, Characteristics and Challenges of Agriculture (2023)

Indian Agriculture: Types, Characteristics and Challenges of Agriculture (1)Agriculture is the main source of income for about 58% of the Indian population. Read here to learn more about Indian agriculture.

India has one of the largest flat areas in the world - the Indo-Gangetic Plain, which is immensely fertile.

India has a variety of climatic conditions andThe Solo Type.

These physical differences along with factors such as availability of irrigation, use of machinery, modern agricultural inputs such as high yield seed varieties (HYV), insecticides and pesticides have played an important role in the development of various agricultural practices in the Indian agriculture sector.

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Types of Agriculture in India

Some of the main types of farming are discussed below.

i) Subsistence farming:

Most farmers in India practice subsistence farming, i.e. farming for their own needs. All production is largely consumed by farmers and their families who have no leftovers to sell at the market.

In this type of farming, land holdings are small and fragmented; The cultivation techniques are primitive and simple. There is a complete lack of modern equipment such as tractors and agricultural inputs such as chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. In this type of agriculture, the farmers mainly grow cereals in addition to oilseeds, legumes, vegetables and sugar cane.

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Subsistence farming is further divided into:

  • Intensive
  • Primitive

Primitive subsistence farming is practiced on plots using primitive tools such as simple digging implements and community or family labor. This type of cultivation depends on the monsoon along with soil fertility and other environmental conditions. Examples of such types are shifting cultivation and nomadic pastoralism.

  • Itinerant cultivation is practiced in heavily forested regions such as the Amazon Basin, tropical Africa, parts of Southeast Asia, and Northeast India. These areas receive heavy rainfall, allowing vegetation to regenerate quickly.
  • A piece of land is cleared by cutting down trees and burning them. The ash is then mixed with the soil and crops such as corn, yams, potatoes and cassava are grown. Land is abandoned when fertility decreases.
  • Nomadic breeding is practiced in the semi-arid and arid regions of the Sahara, Central Asia and some parts of India such as Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Shepherds move their animals from place to place in search of food and water, following set routes, and this movement occurs due to seasonal changes. Animals such as sheep, camels, yaks and goats are most commonly bred.

Intensive subsistence farming is practiced on small land with simple tools and more labor. The product is sufficient for local consumption and outdoor sale. The sunny climate and fertile soil for most of the year make it possible to grow more than one crop per year on the same land. Rice, wheat, corn, legumes and oilseeds are commonly grown.

ii) Intensive and extensive agriculture

The fundamental difference between these two types of farming is the amount of production per unit of land. In comparison to the temperate zones of the USA, extensive cultivation is not practiced in Canada and India.

When a large area of ​​land is cultivated, it is called extensive farming. Here the total production can be high due to the larger area, but the production per unit is low.

Intensive farming has high production per unit area. An example of intensive cultivation is Kerala, where the availability of acreage is very limited.

iii) Commercial Agriculture

It is the complete opposite of subsistence farming as most of the produce is sold on the market to make money. In this system, farmers use inputs such as irrigation, chemical fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, high-yielding seed varieties, etc.

Some of the major cash crops grown in different parts of India areCotton, jute, sugar cane, peanuts, etc.

Rice cultivation in Harayana is mainly for commercial purposes as the people in this area are mostly wheat eaters. However, in the eastern and north-eastern states of India, rice cultivation would be large and existential.

iv) Plantation Management:

In this species, a single cash crop is grown for sale in both the domestic and foreign markets. This type of farming involves growing and processing a single cash crop solely for sale.

Tea, coffee, rubber, bananas and spices are examples of plantations. Most of these plants were introduced to India by the British in the 19th century.

v) Mixed Farming:

When agricultural production and animal husbandry are practiced at the same time, it is called mixed farming. Farmers engaged in mixed farming also have economic benefits.

All classifications are based on the type and purpose of farming and can therefore partially overlap. For example, banana is a form of plantation farming, but it can also be classified as commercial farming.

Characteristics of Indian agriculture

subsistence farming: Most of India has subsistence farming, which has been practiced in India for several hundred years and is still widespread.

Public pressure on agriculture: Despite increasing urbanization and industrialization, around 70% of the population is still directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture.

Mechanization in agriculture:Even after more than forty yearsgreen revolutionand revolution in agricultural machinery and equipment, full mechanization has not yet been achieved.

Dependency of the monsoon:Despite large-scale expansion, only about a third of the total acreage is irrigated today. This means that two thirds of the cultivated areas still depend on the monsoon.

Cultivation:Since India has both tropical and temperate climates, cultures of both climate zones can be found in India. There are very few countries in the world that have a diversity comparable to India. You will see this as we discuss the different types of plants in detail.

The domain of food cultures:The production of food crops is the priority of farmers in most parts of the country.

Season pattern:India has three distinct farming/growing seasons: Kharif, Rabi and Zaid. In India, there are certain crops that are grown during these three seasons. For example, rice is a kharif crop while wheat is a rabi crop.

Challenges for Indian agriculture

The challenges faced by Indian agriculture fall broadly into two categories: the long-standing issues and the emerging issues of prevailing agricultural practices, the system, climate change and the economy.

Stagnation in the production of the main crops:The production of some of the most important staple foods such as rice and wheat has stagnated for some time. This is a situation that worries our agronomists, planners and policymakers as it creates a huge gap between growing population demand and production.

High cost of agricultural inputs:Farm inputs include fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, HYV seeds, farm labor costs, etc. Such an increase penalizes low and medium-acreage farmers.

soil depletion:The green revolution played a positive role in reducing hunger in India, but it also had negative consequences. one of them issoil depletionwhat does the loss of nutrients in the soil mean when you keep growing the same plant over and over again.

Groundwater Depletion:The second negative consequence of the Green Revolution is the scarcity of groundwater. Most of the irrigation in the dry areas of Punjab, Haryana and West Uttar Pradesh has been carried out through over-exploitation of groundwater. Today, the situation with fresh groundwater in these states is alarming.

Global climate change:The impact of climate change on Indian agriculture is expected to be immense. It is predicted that the temperature will increase due to climate change, which will lead to rising sea levels, more intense cyclones, unpredictable rainfall, etc. These changes would negatively affect rice and wheat production. In particular, an increase in winter temperatures would affect wheat production in northern India. Rice production in coastal areas of India would be affected by saltwater intrusion and increasing frequency of hurricanes.

Effects of globalization: All developing countries are affected by globalization. The most obvious impact is reducing farmers' incomes and threatening crop profitability in India. This is due to rising input costs and falling output prices. This reflects the combination of reduced subsidy and farmer protection. Trade liberalization exposes these farmers to competition from heavily subsidized production in developed countries.

Provide food security:Before the launch of the green revolution in India, we were not self-sufficient in terms of our food grain production. But in recent decades, agriculture has not grown with population growth, and to ensure food security, factors such as affordability, affordability and nutritional value of available food must be considered.

Peasant suicides:Öpeasant suicidesThey appear to be concentrated in regions with high commercialization of local agriculture and very high farmer debt. Cash crop farmers appeared to be much more vulnerable than those growing food. The commercialization of the countryside, coupled with a massive drop in investment in agriculture, marked the beginning of the decline. The privatization of many resources has also exacerbated the problems.

Indian Agriculture: Key Facts

ÖIndia Economic Survey 2020-21Report pointed out that in FY20:

  • The total production of food grains in the country was recorded at 296.65 million tons (an increase of 11.44 million tons compared to 285.21 million tons in FY2019).
  • The government has set a target to purchase 42.74 million tons from the main group in FY21; this is 10% more than the quantity purchased in FY20.
  • For FY22, the government has set a record target for farmers to increase production of edible grains by 2% with 307.31 million tonnes of edible grains.
  • FY21 production was recorded at 303.34 million tonnes versus a target of 301 million tonnes.
  • The Gross Value Added (GVA) of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was recorded at Rs. 19.48 lakhcrore in FY20.
  • The share of agriculture and related sectors in India's gross value added at current prices was 17.8% in FY2020.
  • Consumer spending in India is set to grow again in 2021 with an expansion of up to 6.6% after the decline caused by the pandemic.


What are the characteristics and problems of Indian agriculture? ›

Despite such gains, Indian agriculture faces issues associated with adaptation to climate change disturbances, fragmented landholdings, low farm productivity and high food price volatility which call for next generation reforms like adoption of environmentally sustainable and climate resistant new farm technology, ...

What are the characteristics of Indian agriculture? ›

Characteristics of Indian Agriculture
  • Subsistent in Character.
  • Heavy Pressure of Population.
  • Predominance of Food Grains.
  • Crops of many kinds.
  • A lot of the reporting area is being used for farming.
  • The small size of holdings and the way fields are broken up.
  • Farming that isn't as intensive.
  • Technology in the Stone Age.

What are the challenges in Indian agriculture? ›

Average farm size, poor infrastructure, low use of farm technologies and best farming techniques, decrease of soil fertility due to over fertilization and sustained pesticide use, are leading contributors to low agricultural productivity.

What are the types of Indian agriculture? ›

Broadly speaking the types of Indian agriculture are:
  • Mixed farming.
  • Plantation.
  • Subsistence farming.
  • Dry land & wet land farming.
  • Intensive & extensive farming.

What are the three problems of Indian agriculture? ›

Read on for a detailed analysis into the Problems of Indian Agriculture, the challenges of Indian agriculture like the Dependence of Erratic Monsoon, Constraints of Financial Resources and Indebtedness, Lack of Land Reforms, low productivity, etc.

What are the problems and challenges of agriculture? ›

There are increasing pressures from climate change, soil erosion and biodiversity loss and from consumers' changing tastes in food and concerns about how it is produced. And the natural world that farming works with – plants, pests and diseases – continue to pose their own challenges.

What are the main characteristics of Indian? ›

Characteristics of the Indian culture are:
  • Continuity and Change. • Indian culture has had an enduring character. ...
  • Variety and Unity: • A large number of languages and dialects are spoken in our country which has led to the growth of a great variety of literature. ...
  • Secular Outlook: • ...
  • Materialistic and Spiritualistic. •

Which of the following is a major problem of Indian agriculture *? ›

The major problems of Indian agriculture are: Low yield. Erratic nature of rainfall. Excessive pressure on land.

What is the agriculture system in India? ›

The farming systems that significantly contribute to the agriculture of India are subsistence farming, organic farming, industrial farming. Regions throughout India differ in types of farming they use; some are based on horticulture, ley farming, agroforestry, and many more.

Which types of issues and challenges are faced by India's agri supply chain? ›

Scarcity of resources — India's farm resources like land, water, and soil health are hugely stressed. More than half the country faces water stress with withdrawals at 40 to 80 percent of available supply.

What are the main problems of Indian agriculture Labour? ›

Employment and working conditions: As we have already discussed, agricultural labourers face problems such as underemployment and unemployment. They work only for some part of the year, and the rest of the time, they remain idle because there is no work on the farm or there is no alternative work available for them.

What are characteristics of agriculture? ›

It then continues in summarising the main specific characteristics of agriculture: The land use function, the supply and demand characteristics, the contribution of the agricultural sector to the provision of positive externalities and public goods, food as a unique and most essential good and agriculture as a key ...

What are the main problems of Indian agriculture any eight points? ›

Top 13 Problems Faced by Indian Agriculture
  • Inequality in Land Distribution: ...
  • Land Tenure System: ...
  • Sub-division and Fragmentation of holdings: ...
  • Cropping Pattern: ...
  • Instability and Fluctuations: ...
  • Conditions of Agricultural Labourers: ...
  • Poor Farming Techniques and Agricultural Practices: ...
  • Inadequate Use of Inputs:


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