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

  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:

  1. Aeroponics System

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.

  1. Aquaponics

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Monoculture

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.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Benefits of Traditional Farming Methods in India?

Traditional farming methods in India are still practiced in many regions. The use of plough and animals is the ideal traditional farming method. One of the benefits of using this method is the farmer doesn't use chemicals or pesticides, so that the farm remains natural and crops grow naturally. Rising of stock in the naturally farmed field, instead of traditional farming helps in having mindful eating.

People are becoming more health-conscious, and so the need for foods grown using traditional farming is still in demand.

2. How Many Farmers Does India Have?

When it comes to Indian farmer information, the statistics keep changing. According to the 2019 census, there are around 118.9 million cultivators of the total 481 million. Farming is the major occupation for these cultivators and every other family in India owns a piece of land, which is either used for farming purposes or left barren.

It is important to know about farmers in India, their population, and their livelihood conditions. In other words, agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy and any issues with farmers can lead to problems for the GDP of India.

3. Which are the Top Agricultural States in India?

Agriculture Indian farmers are found in every state of India, but not every state is involved largely in farming. India's per capita GDP is set to rise by 320% in the next 20 years, and so is why many more states are moving towards farming by using modern methods. Some of the top agricultural states in India are-

  • West Bengal

  • Uttar Pradesh

  • Punjab

  • Haryana

  • Assam

  • Karnataka

  • Andhra Pradesh

These and many more states are contributing largely towards the GDP through farming. Owing to government support and technology up-gradation, farming in India is becoming a major activity. 

4. What does organic farming entail?

Organic farming is a resurrection of age-old soil-friendly practices. It does away with the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which are poisonous to soil, water and eventually the food we consume. Instead it believes in using bio-waste such as animal, food and aquatic waste and using bio-fertilizers made from beneficial microbes to release nutrients into the soil. 

5. What are nature-friendly farming methods?

Organic agriculture which makes use of natural fertilizers and manures strengthens the health of the soil and reduces the emission of nitrogen and methane significantly, thereby proving to be beneficial for the entire environmental ecosystem comprising water, wildlife, land and atmosphere. Crop rotation is a beneficial practice where farmers cultivate different varieties of crops in the same field in sequential seasons. It is said to reduce crop diseases significantly. Use of renewable energy resources such as solar power, hydropower and wind farms should be increased in farms across the country.

6. Which are India’s topmost agricultural states?

Farmers exist in every state of India, considering the demography of the nation. However, they are highly concentrated in certain states such as Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and the north eastern state of Assam. These states contribute significantly to the country’s GDP through their farming activities which is being made easier with adequate Government support.

7. How is farming important to the country?

Just like India’s knowledge systems and her cultural heritage are her back bone, farming is like the very life breath of the country. As a civilization, we have always revered nature and been a rich predominantly agrarian society with other fields of endeavor eventually making their way in. Agriculture continues to be India’s highest GDP contributor with the levels set to rise by double and triple in the following years. Moreover, technology upgrades and re-introduction of organic farming has made farmers’ lives easier. India is one of the top food exporters globally. It is thus imperative that we continue supporting the enterprise of farming as a nation.

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