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Agriculture in India- History, Crops and Irrigation

Agriculture in India: History

Agriculture in India started with the Indus valley civilization. It is mentioned in the history of India that rice and cotton were the two crops that were cultivated in the Indus valley. According to Bhumivargha and Indian Sanskrit text, the agricultural land is divided into 12 categories, Urvara, Ushara, Maru, Aprahata, Shadvala, Panikala, Jalaprayah, Kachchaha, Sharkara, Sharkaravati, Nadimutruka, and Devmatruka. In India agriculture exist since 9000 BC. After the independence of India, the country has made immense development in the agricultural sector. During the mid-1960 India relied on imported food from foreign countries to meet their domestic requirements but the drought of 1965 and 1966 convinced India to reform its agriculture policy.

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Crops and Irrigation Networks in India

  • In 2014 India ranked as the world’s largest producer of fruits like Banana mango guava lemon papaya and vegetables like chickpea and okra, major spices like Ginger chili pepper, fibrous crops such as jute, and staples such as millet and castor oil seed.
  • India ranks as the second-largest producer of wheat and rice. The major reason for the success of India in agriculture is the irrigation network of India.
  • The irrigation network includes major and minor canals from rivers rainwater harvesting and groundwater systems. From all of these the groundwater system is the largest irrigation network in India.
  • The improvement in the irrigation network over the last 50 years has helped India to improve food security and reduce its dependence on monsoon. One of the major roles in irrigation networks is played by dams.
  • Dams provide drinking water and control and prevent drought-related damage to agriculture. 60% of the water which comes from all the water channels is consumed by rice and sugar crops.
  • India is among the top 3 global producers of the major crops including wheat, rice, cotton, fruits, vegetables, and pulses. The irrigated crop area of India is 8.26 million hectares which is the largest in the world and the arable land is 159.7 million hectares which is the second largest in the world.

Agriculture in India: States and Major Crops

The most developed states in terms of agriculture contribution and the major crops are given below.

States Major Crops Grown
  • Rice in Kharif season
  • Wheat in Rabi season
Uttar Pradesh
  • Sugarcane
  • Wheat
  •  Rice
  • Basmati Rice
  • Fruits like Litchi, Mango, Makhana, guava, and okra
Madhya Pradesh
  • Wheat
  • Soyabean
Andhra Pradesh
  • Rice
  • Jowar
  •  Arhar
West Bengal
  • Rice
  • Coconut
  • Cotton
  • Cumin
  • Bajra
  • Sesamum

Agriculture in India: Role of Government

The Government of India has been working on the agricultural structure for many years and has increased its investment in agriculture. Some of the schemes introduced by the government to help the farmers are The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY). All these schemes are introduced to make the farmers aware of agriculture. The schemes educate them to know about the weather conditions, climatic impact on agriculture, organic farming in India, and management of agriculture.

FAQs related to agriculture in India

1. What are the main crops grown in India?
Ans. The major crops grown in India are rice, wheat, and sugar, other than these India also produces bananas, guava, lemon, papaya, vegetables, spices, jute, cotton, and millets in large amounts.

2. What is the future of the agriculture sector in India?
Ans. Agriculture sector in India is growing rapidly and is generating better revenue over the last few years. The investment in the agriculture sector has increased which leads to the growth of agriculture in India.


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