The Indian civilization has always been agrarian. Right from the Vedic Saraswati civilization to the modern times, farmers have cultivated this rich land and cherished their bond with Mother Nature. It is no wonder then that India is a land of abundance and wisdom.
Agriculture farming in India is a century-old activity, and is currently the highest contributor to the GDP of India. Agriculture remains the largest contributor to the country’s GDP and farmers constitute 58% of India’s population. It means much of India remains untouched by the mindlessness of consumerism. Under its Agriculture Export Policy, the Government of India aims to increase agricultural export by over $60 billion by 2022. This means, the agricultural activity in India will be doubling. If we describe the farmers of India, they constitute 58% of the country's population. Agriculture is the primary source of income for the mentioned percentage of the population.
The Indian food industry also aims to grow by leaps and bounds. Already, the Indian food market stands as the 6th-largest globally with food processing covering over 32% of the country’s food industry. Thus, we see that India is enriched by both traditional and commercial forms of agriculture.
Agricultural Methods of the Indian Farmer
Agriculture farming in India is the oldest activity and has been the major livelihood for farmers. Over the years, farming methods in India have changed, thanks to the technology invention making the lives of farmers easy. Socio-cultural practices, climatic conditions, and other aspects have also contributed to the innovation in Indian farming. Currently, both traditional farming methods in India and modern farming are practiced.
Let us check some of the old and modern farming techniques in India
Primitive Farming - One of the oldest techniques in India, primitive farming is practiced in small farms with traditional instruments like a hoe, digging sticks, etc. Farmers depend upon soil fertility, environmental conditions and other factors like heat for the harvest. This method is usually employed by those who use the output for their consumption. This technique is also called “Slash and Burn” farming where farmers burn the land once the crops have been harvested.
Subsistence Farming - Cultivation takes places across wide and larger land areas with two types of crops : wet and dry. Wet crops include paddy and dry crops grown are wheat, maize and pulses. This method demands extensive use of chemical fertilizers and different methods of irrigation.
Commercial Farming - This technique is a modern day farming method where the farmers use a variety of new-age tools for surplus profits. Insecticides and fertilizers are also used because the crops grown are spread across large patches of land. It contributes a great percentage to the country’s GDP. While farmers in Haryana, Punjab and West Bengal practice commercial farming techniques, farmers of Orissa continue to prefer subsistence farming for large productions.
Plantation Farming - It is another subset of commercial farming. It makes use of both labor and technology to ensure the process is sustainable as plantations are spread across huge patches of land. It includes both agriculture and industry because of the nature of the crops grown.
Modern Farming Methods in India
Besides the above-mentioned farming techniques in India, there are other methods followed in different regions of the country. Much of these don’t fall under traditional farming methods in India. This includes:
Aeroponics is the process where plants are grown in the air or mist environment without the use of soil. It is the subset of hydroponics, and suspends the plant root in the air to work. Farmers, by using this method will have better control over the amount of water to use.
Aquaponics is a closed-loop system that relies majorly on the symbiotic relationship between aquaculture and agriculture for fertilization. This farming method combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics.
The hydroponics method is a less-soil type of farming, and it doesn't require any type of soil. The process involves growing healthy plants without the inclusion of solid medium using nutrients including water solution which is mineral-rich. Hydroponic farming is the subset of hydroculture, and the nutrients used in hydroponic farming systems have different sources.
This method is the raising of a single crop in a specific area of farming. However, in a country like India, the Monoculture technique of farming isn't widely followed. Indoor farming like growing medicinal plants falls under the monoculture. In plain words, monoculture is a modern agriculture practice where a single crop or plant is grown.