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Food and Agriculture

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               FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

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                                                     TABLE OF CONTENT         

AGRICULTURE IN INDIA-A WAY OF LIFE :-        3

BASIC RESOURCES FOR AGRICULTURE :-        3

AGRO TECHNIQUES :-        4

LIVESTOCK :-        5

SUMMARY :-        5


AGRICULTURE IN INDIA-A WAY OF LIFE :-

Agriculture is the bedrock of Indian economy. Of the approximately 245 million working people in India, (1981 figures) about 93 million were cultivators and 56 million were agricultural labourers. Together they constituted more than 60% of the total work-force. To these 149 million people, agriculture is not only the chief occupation, but a way of life.

  • The majority of our farmers are poor, hence they are unable to wake the inputs required to get the maximum production from their land.
  • Our agricultural technologies and policies should, for some time to come, be labour- intensive to provide employment to the large number of people already engaged in agriculture. The introduction of any drastic labour-reducing technology will throw most of the agricultural workers out of employment, and will create more rural poverty and hence social unrest.

BASIC RESOURCES FOR AGRICULTURE :-

  • Soil
  • Sunlight
  • water

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS IN OUR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE :-

  •  Cereals and Millets :- The crops sown during the south-westerly monsoon are called kharif crops. In north India where there are distinct seasons, it is the period from July to October. The post-monsoon crops, i.e., the ones shown between October and March are known as rabi crops. The kharif crops include rice, maize, jowar, bajra, ragi and other small millets. On the other hand, wheat,barley, oat, rye and triticale are the examples of our rabi crops.
  •  Pulses and Soybean :- Pulses occupy an important place in the diet of our population. These &e an excellent source of protein. They meet the needs of a large majority of consumers who are mainly vegetarians. Many of them belong to weaker sections of our population, who cannot afford better protein sources, such as eggs or other animal products. Pulses are also important for feeding livestock. Pulses are legumes, and you know that they play an important part in maintaining soil fertility.
  • Oilseeds  :-The traditional oilseed yielding crops of our country are groundnut, sesamum, niger, castor, brassicas, linseed, and safflower. To this list are to be added new crops, soybean, sunflower and oil palm which are highly promising. The vegetable oils that we all use, are derived not only from traditional oilseed crops, but also from cotton seeds, rice bran, maize (corn), coconut, and several other oil containing herbs;shrubs and trees.
  • Sugar Crops :- India has a history of producing superior varieties of sugarcane. Over 25 countries grow sugarcane varieties bred in India, including the internationally popular 'NCO 310' variety. The yields and duration of sugarcane show much variation in our country because of the variations in our climates.
  • Fibre Crops :-Of our fibre crops, cotton is the foremost. In fact, India is the first country that developed hybrid cotton. Today we have a wide spectrum of varieties not only in the long-staple group but also in the medium and short staple categories, for which there is a great demand in rural India.
  • Plantation Crops :-Tea, coffee, cocoa, rubber, coconut, arecanut, cashew, cardamom, black pepper and related spices are grown on a plantation scale, and their produce has a good demand both within and outside our country. Our scientists have developed technologies for multi-tier cropping to make a more profitable use of the available space in plantations and orchards.
  • Potato and other Tuber Crops :- Potato is propagated by seed-tubers, which should be disease-free to raise a healthy crop. Till recently, healthy seed-tubers could be raised only in the hilly regions that are free from aphid pests which spread virus diseases. Through detailed monitoring studies, our scientists have identified different periods of the year when different regions of our country are free from the disease-spreading aphids. With the development of suitable varieties, all the potato growing regions of the country can now raise healthy seed-tubers during the aphid-free time.
  •  Fruits and Vegetables :-Annually, we produce about 15 million tonnes of fruits from about 2 million hectare land and 9 million tonnes of vegetables from about 1 million hectawJand. Our per head daily consumption is only 6 grams of fruits and 75 grams of vegetables, much.below the minimum recommendation of 85 grams and 200 grams respectively. However, after the initial emphasis on self-sufficiency in food grains, research was intensified in horticulture, and the past two decades have witnessed considerable development of high-yielding horticultural crops with better quality produce.
  • Agroforestry :- As a result of clearing forests so as to put the land to other uses, or of cutting trees to sell wood for construction or other purposes like making packing cases, our forest cover has diminished at an alarming rate. Presently, forests occupy a precarious 22% of our geographical area against the recommended minimum of 33%. Shrub jungles and fuelwood trees are vanishing so rapidly that one wonders whether a day would come soon when common people may have enough food but not enough fuel. Between 1960 and 1984, the prices of fuelwood shot up by 65%.This concern has prompted planners to think of large scale painting of fast growing trees with some suitable crops in between. But, not all trees and crops are compatible with each other, and even the best of the combinations have an adverse effect on each other's maximum potential. However, a certain sacrifice in productivity is considered inevitable to partly meet the shortage of tree cover.

AGRO TECHNIQUES :-

  •  Cropping Systems
  •  Input of Fertilisers
  •  Crop Protection

LIVESTOCK :-

Livestock provide us milk, meat, eggs, wool and skins, and other by-products. All these contribute about Rs. 20,000 million a year to our national economy. Practically every family in the village is involved with domestic animals, which are an important source of livelihood and employment to the villagers. The number of cows, oxen, buffaloes, bulls, sheep, goats, pigs or poultry is often an indication of the economic status of the rural family. livestock are our mainstay for providing power needed for agricultural operations and transport. Machines provide marginal power because of the small and scattered farms in our villages. Still, inadequacy of power is a basic cause of our inability to improve the efficiency of agriculture through timely operations.

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