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Chapter 4: Agriculture
India is an agriculturally important country. Two-thirds of its population is engaged in agricultural activities. Agriculture is a primary activity, which produces most of the food that we consume. Besides food grains, it also produces raw material for various industries. Can you name some industries based on agricultural raw material? Moreover, some agricultural products like tea, coffee, spices, etc. are also exported.
TYPES OF FARMING
Agriculture is an age-old economic activity in our country. Over these years, cultivation methods have changed significantly depending upon the characteristics of physical environment, technological know-how and socio-cultural practices.
Farming varies from subsistence to commercial type. At present, in different parts of India, the following farming systems are practised. Primitive Subsistence Farming This type of farming is still practised in few pockets of India. Primitive subsistence agriculture is practised on small patches of land with the help of primitive tools like hoe, dao and digging sticks, and family/community labour.
This type of farming depends upon monsoon, natural fertility of the soil and suitability of other environmental conditions to the crops grown. It is a ‘slash and burn’ agriculture. Farmers clear a patch of land and produce cereals and other food crops to sustain their family. When the soil fertility decreases, the farmers shift and clear a fresh patch of land for cultivation.
This type of shifting allows Nature to replenish the fertility of the soil through natural processes; land productivity in this type of agriculture is low as the farmer does not use fertilisers or other modern inputs. It is known by different names in different parts of the country.
Can you name some such types of farmings? It is jhumming in north-eastern states like Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland; Pamlou in Manipur, Dipa in Bastar district of Chhattishgarh, and in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Jhumming: The ‘slash and burn’ agriculture is known as ‘Milpa’ in Mexico and Central America, ‘Conuco’ in Venzuela, ‘Roca’ in Brazil, ‘Masole’ in Central Africa, ‘Ladang’ in Indonesia, ‘Ray’ in Vietnam. In India, this primitive form of cultivation is called ‘Bewar’ or ‘Dahiya’ in Madhya Pradesh, ‘Podu’ or ‘Penda’ in Andhra Pradesh, ‘Pama Dabi’ or ‘Koman’ or Bringa’ in Odisha, ‘Kumari’ in Western Ghats, ‘Valre’ or ‘Waltre’ in South-eastern Rajasthan, ‘Khil’ in the Himalayan belt, ‘Kuruwa’ in Jharkhand, and ‘Jhumming’ in the North-eastern region Rinjha lived with her family in a small village at the outskirts of Diphu in Assam.
She enjoys watching her family members clearing, slashing and burning a patch of land for cultivation. She often helps them in irrigating the fields with water running through a bamboo canal from the nearby spring. She loves the surroundings and wants to stay here as long as she can, but this little girl has no idea about the declining fertility of the soil and her family’s search for fresh a patch of land in the next season.
Can you name the type of farming Rinjha’s family is engaged in? Can you enlist some crops which are grown in such farming? Intensive Subsistence Farming This type of farming is practised in areas of high population pressure on land.
It is labourintensive farming, where high doses of biochemical inputs and irrigation are used for obtaining higher production. Can you name some of the states of India where such farming is practised? Though the ‘right of inheritance’ leading to the division of land among successive generations has rendered land-holding size uneconomical, the farmers continue to take maximum output from the limited land in the absence of alternative source of livelihood.
Thus, there is enormous pressure on agricultural land. Commercial Farming The main characteristic of this type of farming is the use of higher doses of modern inputs, e.g. high yielding variety (HYV) seeds, chemical fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides in order to obtain higher productivity. The degree of commercialisation of agriculture varies from one region to another. For example, rice is a commercial crop in Haryana and Punjab, but in Odisha, it is a subsistence crop.
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NCERT Solutions Class 11 Social Science Chapter 4 Agriculture
1. Multiple choice questions.
(i) Which one of the following describes a system of agriculture where a single crop is grown on a large area?
(a) Shifting Agriculture (b) Plantation Agriculture (c) Horticulture (d) Intensive Agriculture
(ii) Which one of the following is a rabi crop?
(a) Rice (c) Millets (b) Gram (d) Cotton
(iii) Which one of the following is a leguminous crop?
(a) Pulses (c) Millets (b) Jawar (d) Sesamum
2. Answer the following questions in 30 words.
(i) Name one important beverage crop and specify the geographical conditions required for its growth.
One important beverage crop is tea.
The tea plant grows well in tropical and sub-tropical climates endowed with deep and fertile well-drained soil, rich in humus and organic matter. Tea bushes require warm and moist frost-free climate all through the year. Frequent showers evenly distributed over the year ensure continuous growth of tender leaves. Tea is a labour-intensive industry. It requires abundant, cheap and skilled labour. Tea is processed within the tea garden to restore its freshness.
(ii) Name one staple crop of India and the regions where it is produced.
Rice is a major staple crop of India.
It is grown in the following regions.
- Plains of North
- North East India
- Coastal Areas
- Deltaic Regions
(iii) Enlist the various institutional reform programmes introduced by the government in the interest of farmers.
Various institutional reform programmes introduced by the Government are
- MSP (Minimum Support Price)
- Subsidy on Fertilisers
- Crop insurance
- Establishment of Grameen banks to provide low-interest loans
(iv) The land under cultivation has got reduced day by day. Can you imagine its consequences?
- Shortage of food
- The rise in prices of food
- Imports increase will put stress on the economy
- Rise in Unemployment
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