Farming is the act or process of working the ground, planting seeds, and growing edible plants.

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Farming is a great way to describe the lifestyle and work of people whose jobs are in the agriculture industry. People often have a romantic idea of what farming is like — roosters crowing, farmers driving tractors— although farming can be very hard work, dependent on food prices and weather.


Types of Farming in India

Subsistence and Commercial farming –

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Subsistence Farming is one of the first types of farming systems ever developed where farming is done on a small-scale for direct consumption by individuals, families or small communities. This is the commonest kind of farming as farmers earn a livelihood by farming and providing for themselves and their families. There is little or none of the produce left for sales to other areas or markets, as it is all consumed by the farmers. Subsistence farming is a type of farming where land holdings are small and fragmented. Since farmers are farming on their own, the methods and tools used for farming are primitive. Subsistence Farming was practiced because land holdings are small and scattered, scarcity of resources, poverty, large families to feed, lack of knowledge and infrastructure to scale to commercial levels.

Organic farming –

Oshadhi Farming

Organic farming is an innovative and popular sort of farming where the use of synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, additives, etc. are avoided or rarely used. Organic Farming relies on Crop Rotation, which is a method of farming where different crops are grown in the same area in sequenced seasons. This helps maintain the soil fertility as compared to one crop being grown for many years in the same place causing soil erosion over time. Organic farming also relies on the use of crop residues, animal manures, legumes, organic wastes, bio-fertilizers, etc. to tackle pests. This kind of farming is gaining immense popularity worldwide and consumers prefer organic fruits and vegetables, for instance, instead pesticide laden ones. The health aspect is main attraction toward organic farming and organic products obtained from this mode of farming. Another benefit of organic farming is that the natural resources such as water and soil are better preserved due to lack of chemical usage, which is environmentally beneficial too.

Organic Farming in India
Shifting Cultivation in India

Shifting Cultivation –

Herbal Leaf

This method of agriculture is one where a land is cultivated for a few years and after the crop production declines, the land is cleared up by slash and burn methods and the farmers move elsewhere to cultivate other lands. This is a primitive and unproductive method of farming but is still practiced in the North-eastern parts of India, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra. This is practiced mostly in hilly areas. Farmers sometimes return to the land that they cleared to re-cultivate at a later period. The number of years between two consecutive Jhum operations is called a Jhum cycle. Some of the crops grown by the Jhummias are vegetables, food grains and cash crops. Shifting cultivation causes heavy soil erosion and deforestation and hence is not the ideal method of agriculture to be followed.

Plantation agriculture –

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In Plantation farming, a single cash crop is grown for sale and production. Examples of Plantation agriculture are tea, coffee, rubber, cotton, coconut, cashew, fruits, hemp, sugarcane, jute, spices, etc. Huge plantations situated in tropical or subtropical regions are cultivated by farmers and is found to be one of the oldest forms of cultivation. The crops are grown on large estates usually around 100 acres. The farming in these estates is scientifically managed for large-scale production of crops. Most of the plantation agriculture produce is exported internationally. The plantations are well-planned and provide facilities such as housing, transport etc to the farmers who work on them. India is a leading producer of Tea in the world with Tea being majorly grown in Assam, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The ideal temperature to grow tea is 20 – 30 degrees Celsius.

Plantation Agriculture
Intensive Extensive

Intensive and Extensive agriculture –


Intensive Agriculture uses large amounts of capital and labor compared to the land area being cultivated. Hence resources need to be optimally used to produce greater yields. The yield per unit area is high in Intensive farming systems. Crops grown are rice, wheat and sugarcane. Extensive farming uses small amounts of labor and capital compared to the land size. In this case, the crop yield depends on the natural fertility of the soil, terrain, climate and availability of water. Extensive farming produces a lower yield per unit of land and hence large areas of land need to be used to be commercially profitable. The yield per unit area is higher in Intensive farming and seems more viable. Sometimes a combination of the two types of farming and the land close to markets is cultivated. Crops grown in this method are rice, wheat and sugarcane.

Dry and wetland farming –

Green Leafes

Dryland farming is done in areas where the rainfall is less than 9 inches in a year. Crops grown in this method are wheat, ragi, bajra, moong, gram, corn, beans, sunflower and watermelon. Wetland farming is done in the land that is saturated with water. They provide flood protection, enhanced water quality, food chain support and carbon sequestration. Sometimes the wetlands are drained to convert them into agricultural land. The Ramsar Convention, which is a Convention on Wetlands, was formed to design framework for wise use of wetlands and their resources. To know more about conservation of wetlands, please visit – Some wetland crops grown in India are rice, jute and sugarcane.

Dry Wetland
Mixed agriculture in India

Mixed agriculture –

Herbal Leaf

It is a system of raising crops and rearing animals simultaneously. Farmers engaged in mixed farming are economically better off than others. Crops such as millet and cowpea, millet and sorghum, etc. are a form of mixed farming. Mixing has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, farmers in mixed systems divide their resources leading to reduced economies of scale. Advantages include spreading labor and re-utilizing resources. Mixed farming exists in many forms depending on external and internal factors. External factors are weather patterns, market prices, political stability, technological developments, etc. Internal factors are soil characteristics, the composition of the family and farmers’ ingenuity. Farmers opt for mixed enterprises when they want to save resources as these permit wider crop rotations and reduce dependence on chemicals.

Terrace agriculture –

Herbal Leaf

In this method of agriculture, hills or mountains are cut out like terraces along the slopes and land is cultivated. The hills look like steps and the crops grown in this method are pulses, paddy, potatoes, quinoa, oilseeds, millets, vegetables, fruits, saffron, buckwheat, black cumin, maize, wheat, etc. This method of farming is labor-intensive but has been found to be effective. Rice is best suited for terrace farming. Terraces are created to prevent soil erosion and soil runoff. Terraces make a hillside more productive as long as you care well for the soil. Tea is also grown beautifully using terrace farming. Terrace farming is popular in north-eastern India and parts of the Himalayas and other hilly regions. Terrace farming is beneficial in preventing floods as water goes down the slopes gradually. Soil degradation is also prevented as the natural nutrients of soil are restored. Machinery cannot be used on mountain and hill slopes, so this could be a setback.

Terrace Agriculture in India