What is Agriculture?
Agriculture refers to the human activity of cultivating crops and plantation for production of food and goods such as wheat, rice, pulses, cotton, sugarcane, jute, oil seeds, etc. Agriculture consists of two words – agri and culture. Agri means the land and culture means to cultivate or tend.
Farming is one of the oldest and major economic activity of our country. Variety of crops are grown by Indian farmers. Crops are categorised into two types – food crops and cash crops.
Types of Crops
Food crops – A crop produced for use as food, either for sale commercially or for use by the farmer is called food crops.
Cash crops – A crop which is grown by farmer only to sell for profit is called cash crops.
Example of food crops are wheat, rice, maize, bajra, gram, masur, arhar, etc. Wheat and rice are main staple food for majority of Indians.
Wheat is the main cereal crop in India. In India, wheat is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. It is the staple food of this region. Wheat is mainly grown in winter. It needs a cool, moist weather during the major portion of the growing period followed by dry, warm weather to enable the grain to ripen properly. Areas with a warm and damp climate are not suitable for wheat growing.
India is an important centre of rice cultivation. The rice is cultivated on the largest areas in India. In India, rice are mainly grown in the northern plain, Assam and the coastal regions of eastern and western India. Rice crop needs a hot and humid climate. It is best suited to regions which have high humidity and plenty of water.
In India, maize is the third most important food crops after rice and wheat. The maize is cultivated throughout the year in all states of India for various purposes including grain, fodder, sweet corn, baby corn and pop corn. It is mainly cultivated in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. It is grown in temperatures between 18°C and 27°C during the day and around 14°C during the night.
Bajra, jowar and ragi are examples of millets. It is chiefly cultivated in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Millets are nutrient-rich grains. Millets can grow in poor soil conditions with less water, fertiliser and pesticides.
Sugarcane, tea, coconut, jute and cotton are some cash crops grown in India. Oilseeds like groundnut, mustard and sunflower are also important cash crops.
Largest sugarcane producing state of India is Uttar Pradesh. The second and third largest states are Maharashtra and Karnataka. Other main sugarcane producing states of India are Bihar, Assam, Haryana, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Sugarcane needs hot and humid climate, and plenty of water for good production. Sugar is made from sugarcane juice.
India is the largest producer and exporter of tea in the world. Assam and West Bengal are the main tea-producing states of India. Tea needs warm and humid climate for good growth. It is usually grown on hill slopes because tea cannot grow in standing water.
Seeds from which oil is extracted are called oilseeds. Oil from some oilseeds such as sunflower, mustard and peanuts are used for cooking food. Some oilseeds are important raw materials for the production of soap, cosmetics, ointments, etc. Oilseeds are grown in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.
Jutes are grown in hot and damp climate. The fibre from the jute plant is used for making bags, curtains, chair coverings, carpets, ropes, etc. In India, jute is mainly grown in West Bengal.
Cottons grows well in black soil. Warm and dry climate is best suitable for growth of cotton and to help the cotton bolls to ripen and burst. Cotton boll is used to make cotton fabric. In India, cotton are grown in Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.