Land Use and Agriculture-Cattle Rearing, Fishing, Major Crops in India

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Cattle Rearing

  • A cattle rearing is an important economic activity in India. Milk and milk products (butter, ghee etc.), meat, eggs, leather, and silk are raw materials for industries. Animals provide a large proportion of energy required in the farm sector. The bullocks, buffaloes, horses, ponies, camel etc. are used as draught animals. They are used in agricultural activities like ploughing of fields, drawing of water from wells, and for carrying loads. With rise in mechanized farming, the use of animal power for farm operations is on gradual decline. Hides and skins of animals are used as raw material for leather industries. Sheep, goats and camels provide wool. Their dung is used for biomass gas production and for making manure.

  • India is the leading producer of milk in the world. It is due to initiative taken by government through Operation Flood. Under this program good breeds of cows and buffaloes which yield more milk, have been introduced. Co-operative societies in this field were encouraged. The modern dairy farms produced milk powder, butter and cheese; condense milk, cream, and ghee along with milk.

  • The largest number of livestock is found in Uttar Pradesh followed by the states of Rajasthan, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh. These four states account for 44% of total livestock of India. The density of animals in India is the highest in the world. It is about 130 heads of livestock per 100 hectares of land. The percentage of area under permanent pasture is very low in comparison to the density of animal population. Cattles, Buffaloes, sheep, and goats are important livestock in India.

Distribution of Animal Resources in India

  • Cattle rearing in India are an important economic activity. The cattle population accounts for 43.5% of the total livestock in the country. The largest number of cattle in the country is found in Uttar Pradesh. Except Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan, in other states of India the number of cattle is greater among livestock. The yield of milk from Indian cows is the lowest in the world. It is only 188 litres per animals per annum in India while in Netherland it is 4200 litres differing by about twenty-three times. Buffaloes account for 18% of total livestock in India. They outnumber other animals in the states of Haryana and Punjab. From the point of view of milk, buffaloes are important as they account for about 53% of total milk production in India.

  • Sheep are found mostly in the cold and dry regions of the country. They are very few in areas which are very hot and receive heavy rain during monsoon. They develop hoof diseases in hot and humid climate. Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are major states where sheep are in large numbers.

  • Among the other animals, goats, camels, horses, yaks, and mithuns are important. The goats reared mainly for meat and milk. In Rajasthan goats are greater in number than other animals. Camels are reared in western Rajasthan and adjoining areas of Gujarat, Haryana, and Punjab. Horse and ponies are distributed all over India specially in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab. Yaks are found in mountainous areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. Mithuns are found in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

  • The general condition of animals in India is very poor due to the lack of nutritious fodder, and harsh hot and humid weather conditions. Also, there is a lack of artificial insemination centres, and veterinary hospitals and doctors.


  • Fishing has been an important occupation of the people in the coastal areas. However, in spite of having a long coastline and broad continental shelf, India’s fishing industry is still largely in a developing stage. Modernization on limited scale has started recently. Fisheries are of two types- the inland and the open sea. The inland fishing is done in rivers, tanks, ponds, and canals. The major rivers like Brahmaputra, Ganga, Sutlej, Narmada, Mahanadi, and Godavari and numerous tanks and ponds are tapped for fishing. Inland fish production is accounted for 2/5th or 40 % of total fish production in India during 1995-96.

  • Open sea fishing or marine fishing done in sea water is caught in shallow water in our country. More than 2/3rd of marine fish is landed on western coast of India. While remaining 1/3rd on the eastern coast. India caught 5.6 lakhs tonnes of fish during 2000-01.

  • Though, India has huge potential for fishing but the actual catch is very small. The main factors responsible for poor performance in fishing are traditional methods, wooden loge made boats, driven by human energy, and poor socio-economic conditions of the fishermen.

  • In order to increase fish production and trade, the Government has taken a number of steps including financial assistance to fishermen, introduction of large vessels, better harbours and breathing facilities, provision of refrigerated wagons and road transport facility, introduction of accident insurance scheme, and marketing of fish on co-operative basis.

  • The rapid increase in the production of fish in the country is called Blue Revolution. This is synonymous with shrimp farming or Aquaplosion.

Major Crops in India

The crops grown in the country may be categorised as under:

image of major crops in india

Image of Major Crops in India

image of major crops in india

Types of Crops


  • Paddy is basically a tropical crop. India is one of the major producers of rice in the world, accounting for 1/5th of the world production, ranking next only to China. About 23 % of the total cropped area in the country is under this crop. Paddy is grown in Kharif season.

  • Paddy is ideally grown in rainfed areas where annual rainfall is more than 125 cm. It requires high temperature (20o-25oC). However, it is also grown in areas of less than 125 cm rainfall with the help of irrigation. At present, 51 % of rice producing area is under irrigation.

  • Deep fertile loamy or clayey soils are considered ideal for this crop. It requires considerable manual labour for sowing and transplantation. Although paddy crop is grown in almost all states of India, the leading producing states are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Orissa, and Assam. Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of rice in India but consumption of rice being large, it has to import from other states. Against this, Punjab is the biggest contributor of rice to control public distribution system. In some states, three crops of paddy in a year are grown. For example, in West Bengal three crops are known as Aman, Boro and Aus.

Rice and Wheat Cropped Area In India

Rice and Wheat Cropped Area in India

Rice and Wheat Cropped Area In India


  • Wheat is basically subtropical crop grown in the winter season in India. It is grown in rabi crop season, while paddy is sown in kharif season. Wheat ranks second after Paddy crop, having about 13 % of total cropped area under it. Wheat requires cool weather with moderate rainfall. It grows well in the northern plains of India during winter season when the mean temperature is between 10 and 15oC. Well drained loamy soil is ideal for wheat cultivation.

  • Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana are major wheat producing states in India. They accounted for 60 % of total area under wheat and 73 % of total wheat production in the country in 2000-2001. Other important wheat growing states are Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The wheat production in the country showed maximum increase after Green Revolution introduced in 1966. During 2000-01 the total production was 688 lakh tonnes. India is an important producer of wheat in the world. It is followed by China and USA. Although productivity per hectare has increased rapidly from 815 kg in 1950-51 to 2743 kg in 2000-01 per hectare. The yield of wheat in India is lower in comparison with other major wheat producing countries.


India is the leading producer and consumer of tea in the world. The country earns a sizable amount of foreign exchange through export of tea. Tea grows best on the mountain slopes receiving large amount of rains (above 150 cm). Well drained deep loamy soils rich in humus are ideal for tea plantation. Most of the tea producing areas is on the hilly slopes of Surma and Brahmaputra valleys in Assam, Darjeeling, and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal. In south India, tea cultivation is confined mainly to the Annamalai and the Nilgiri hills. A small quantity of tea is also produced in the Kumaon hill in Uttarakhand and in the Kangra valley of Himanchal Pradesh. India produced 8.5 lakh tonnes in 1999. An amount of Rs. 2000 crores were earned in foreign exchange from the export of tea in 2000-01 despite huge demand in the domestic market.

Tea and Coffee, Cotton and Jute Growing Areas India

Tea and Coffee, Cotton and Jute Growing Areas India

Tea and Coffee, Cotton and Jute Growing Areas India

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