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 plains in the world - the Indo-Gangetic Plain, which is immensely fertile.

India has a variety of climatic conditions andsoil types.

These physical differences along with factors such as availability of irrigation, use of machinery, modern agricultural inputs such as high-yield varieties (HYV) of seeds, insecticides and pesticides have played important roles in the development of various agricultural practices in the Indian agricultural 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, that is, farming for their own consumption. All production is mostly consumed by the farmers and their families and they have no surplus to sell on the market.

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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:

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  • Intensive
  • Primitive

Primitive subsistence farming is practiced on plots using primitive tools such as simple digging tools 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.

  • Shifting 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 earth and crops such as corn, yams, potatoes and cassava are grown. The land will be abandoned once 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.
  • Herders move their animals from one place to another along fixed routes in search of food and water, and such movements result from seasonal changes. Animals such as sheep, camels, yaks and goats are the most commonly bred.

Intensive subsistence farming is practiced on small areas with simple tools and more labour. 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 plot. Rice, wheat, maize, legumes and oilseeds are usually grown.

ii) Intensive and extensive agriculture

The fundamental difference between these two types of farming is the amount of production per unit of land. Compared to the temperate US, Canada and India do not practice extensive cultivation.

When a large area of ​​land is cultivated, it is called extensive farming. Here the overall performance is high due to the larger area, but the performance 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 exactly the 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 predominantly 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 national and international markets. This type of farming involves growing and processing a single commercial crop solely for sale.

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

v) Mixed Farming:

Mixed farming occurs when both farming and animal husbandry are practiced at the same time. Farmers who engage in mixed farming also have economic benefits.

All classifications are based on the type and purpose of farming and can therefore partially overlap. Bananas, for example, are a form of plantation farming, but 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.

population 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.

Mons Independence:Despite large-scale expansion, only about a third of the total acreage is irrigated today. As a result, two thirds of the cultivated areas are still dependent on the monsoon.

cultivar:Since India has both tropical and temperate climates, plants from both climate zones can be found in India. There are very few countries in the world that have a diversity comparable to India. You'll find that out as we discuss the different types of crops in detail.

The dominance of food plants:The production of food crops is the priority of farmers almost all over the country.

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Seasonal Patterns: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 facing Indian agriculture can be roughly divided into two categories: the long-standing problems and the emerging problems of prevailing agricultural practices, the system, the changing climate and the economy.

Stagnation in the production of the main crops:The production of some of the most important staple foods like rice and wheat has been stagnant for quite some time. This is a situation that worries our agronomists, planners and policy makers because it creates a huge gap between ever-growing population demand and production.

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

soil depletion:The green revolution has played a positive role in reducing hunger in India, but it also has negative consequences. one of them issoil depletionThis means the loss of nutrients in the soil from growing the same crop repeatedly.

Groundwater Depletion:The second negative consequence of the Green Revolution is the scarcity of fresh 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 freshwater situation in these states is alarming.

Global climate change:The impact of climate change on Indian agriculture is predicted immensely. It is predicted that due to climate change, the temperature would rise, leading to sea level rise, more intense cyclones, unpredictable rainfall, etc. These changes would negatively impact 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' income and threatening crop viability 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 grain production. But in recent decades, agriculture has not grown with population growth, and to ensure food security, factors such as accessibility, affordability and the nutritional value of the food available must be considered.

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Peasant Suicides:Thatpeasant 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 rural areas coupled with a massive drop in investment in agriculture was the beginning of the decline. The privatization of many resources has also exacerbated the problems.

Indian Agriculture: Key Facts

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

  • The total production of edible grains in the country was recorded at 296.65 million tons (an increase of 11.44 million tons from 285.21 million tons in fiscal 2019).
  • The government has set a target to purchase 42.74 million tons of the core group in FY21; this is 10% more than the quantity purchased in FY20.
  • For FY22, the government set a record target for farmers to increase food grain production by 2% with 307.31 million tons of food grain.
  • FY21 production was recorded at 303.34 million tonnes versus a target of 301 million tonnes.
  • Gross Value Added (GVA) from Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been estimated 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 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 challenges of agriculture? ›

In addition, irrigation of agricultural crops comprises 70% of global water use, and agriculture directly contributes to around 11% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (mostly through cattle). Expanding agricultural land can also lead to deforestation, additional GHG emissions, and a loss of biodiversity.

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. •

What are the characteristics of Indian? ›

Indians have been described as eternal optimists: philosophical, laid-back and resilient. One Indian said: "We are comfortable in our skins. No existential angst or Freudian guilt torments us.” Indians like to talk, converse, gossip, engage in animated discussions, indulge in conspiracies and watch soap opera dramas.

What are the 4 types of agriculture? ›

There exist four main branches of agriculture, namely;
  • Livestock production.
  • Crop production.
  • agricultural economics.
  • agricultural engineering.

What are the three problems of Indian agriculture? ›

Indian agriculture is suffering from inadequate use of inputs like fertilizers and HYV seeds. Indian farmers are not applying sufficient quantity of fertilizers on their lands and even the application of farm yard dung manure is also inadequate. Indian farmers are still applying seeds of indifferent quality.

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 main agriculture in India? ›

India is the world's largest producer of milk, pulses and jute, and ranks as the second largest producer of rice, wheat, sugarcane, groundnut, vegetables, fruit and cotton. It is also one of the leading producers of spices, fish, poultry, livestock and plantation crops.

Which type mainly India's agriculture is *? ›

The correct answer is Subsistence agriculture. The predominant type of Indian agriculture is subsistence agriculture. In this, farmers grow food to feed themselves and their dependents.

What are the 3 characteristics of agricultural products? ›

Three such noteworthy characteristics of agricultural crops include the seasonality of production, the derived nature of their demand, and generally price-inelastic demand and supply functions.

How important is agriculture to India? ›

So, we can conclude that agriculture is not only an important component of the primary sector, but it also helps to sustain and develop both secondary as well as tertiary sectors. Thus, it is the backbone of the economy. Q. Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy.

What are the main characteristics of modern agriculture? ›

The main characteristics of the modern farm are: new machinery and equipment, technologies, modern production buildings, farms apply a range of innovations, farmers are seeking knowledge are interested in innovation, take part in exhibitions, events, they are energetic, creative and implementing good management ...

What is the biggest challenge facing agriculture today? ›

The main problems facing agriculture are usually land-related. Loss of viable land, erosion, and other factors decrease the ability of farmers to use land. Other factors include inflation and government restrictions.

What is the main challenge of farming? ›

Farmers are constantly challenged by pests, diseases, weeds, and unpredictable weather conditions. They must be prepared to deal with emergencies and have a plan in place for when disasters strike.

What are the types of agriculture? ›

The four main types of Agriculture are Shifting Cultivation, Subsistence Farming, Pastoralism, and Intensive Farming.

What are the two main characteristics of Indian culture? ›

This shows that Indian culture has the characteristic of longevity and continuity. B) Tolerance and unity in diversity: In India, there is a diversity of culture, rituals and food habits. People speak in different languages and belong to socio-cultural diversity.

What are the two main characteristics of Indian economy? ›

The characteristics of the Indian economy include low per capita real income rate, higher rate of population growth, and dependency on the primary sector. The covid 19 had impacted the Indian economy adversely. The covid pandemic led to the shutting down of industries and subsequent unemployment.

What are the four basic characteristics of Indian economy? ›

India, as a developing country, features a mixed economy in the world. The major characteristics of developing economy are low per capita income, overpopulation, maximum population below the poverty line, poor infrastructure, agro-based economy and a lower rate of capital formation.

What is the most important characteristics of Indian society? ›

Indian society is known for its ability of tolerance and acceptance, and social cohesion making it unique in sustaining its culture. The importance of fraternity enshrined in the Preamble of the constitution makes it a duty of every citizen.

What is the nature and characteristics of Indian economy? ›

India is a mixed economy. In India, most of the labour force is employed in the agriculture and industry sectors. The main characteristics of the Indian economy are high dependence on the primary sector, low per-capita income, big population, unemployment, unequal distribution of wealth, and lack of infrastructure.

What are the 6 most important characteristics of culture? ›

All cultures share these basic features.
  • Culture is learned. It is not biological; we do not inherit it. ...
  • Culture is shared. ...
  • Culture is based on symbols. ...
  • Culture is integrated. ...
  • Culture is dynamic.

What are the 7 types of agriculture? ›

The different types of farming are as follows:
  • Dairy Farming.
  • Commercial Farming.
  • Plantation Farming.
  • Commercial grain farming.
  • Commercial mixed farming.
  • Primitive subsistence farming.
  • Intensive subsistence.

What are the 2 main types of agriculture? ›

Currently, agriculture is divided into two different types, including industrialized agriculture and subsistence agriculture.

What are the major challenges facing Indian agriculture today Brainly? ›

Explanation: The major challenges facing indian agriculture today are the need of fresh and not polluted water. And not polluted land and soil.

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 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:

What is the importance of Indian agriculture? ›

Agriculture is the most significant source of income for the central and state governments. The government of the country has substantial revenue from rising land revenue. Also, the movement of agricultural goods helps generate revenue for the Indian railways, which helps the government in revenue generation.


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