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Indian Soil and Agriculture

Indian Soil and Agriculture

In this article we will discuss about the India soil and types of agriculture performed in India. This topic covers one or two marks questions in SSC CGL or other competitive exam.


  • Soil is our prime and natural resources as India is an Agrarian country, soil plays a vital role in the economy of India.
  • About 50 to 55% of the total population of the country is depended on agriculture .
  • Our industry are mainly Agro-based industry.

Generally there are six types of soil found in India

  • Alluvial soil
  • Regur or Black soil
  • Red soil
  • Laterite soil
  • Desert Soil
  • Mountain soil

Alluvial Soil:

  • Deposition of materials by sea and river is called alluvium and the soil formed due to deposition of alluvium is called as alluvial soil.
  • This type of soil mainly found in the Indo-Ganga and Brahamputra plain i.e. the whole northern plain and in some parts of river basin in south and some plateau region.
  • This soil is also  found in the deltas of the Mahanadi, Godavari,  Cauveri and Krishna.
  • Alluvial soil can be broadly categorised in two types i.e. New alluvial soil and old alluvial soil.
  • Old alluvial soils are found in slightly elevated areas far away from river and are clayey and sticky.
  • New alluvial soil is found in the flood plain of the river and is much fertile in comparison to the old alluvial soil.
  • Crops Grown : alluvial soil is suitable for the rabi and kharif crop like cereals, cottons, oilseeds  and sugarcane.

Regur or Black soil:

  • The regur or black soils have developed extensively upon the Lava Plateaus of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh mainly Malwa and  are formed due to volcanic activities.
  • These soils are very fertile and contain a high percentage of lime and a moderate amount of potash.
  • The type of soil is especially suited for the cultivation of cotton and hence sometimes called ‘black cotton soil.’
    Crops Grown: Cotton, Jowar, Wheat, Linsead, Gram, Fruit and Vegetable.

Red Soils:

  •  Red soils develop on granite and geneses rocks under low rainfall condition i.e. due to weathering of the metamorphic rocks.
  • These soils are red in colour due to high concentration of Iron Oxide.
  •  These soils are friable and medium fertile and found mainly in almost whole of Tamil Nadu, South-eastern Karnataka, North-eastern and South-eastern Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand the major parts of Orissa, and the Hills and Plateaus of North-east India.
  • These soils are deficient in Phosphoric acid, organic matter and nitrogenous material.
  • Crops Grown: Wheat, Rice, Millet's, Pulses.

Laterite Soils:

  •  Laterite is a kind of clayey rock or soil formed under high temperature and high rainfall and with alternate dry and wet period,.
  • Laterite and lateritic soils are found in South Maharashtra, the Western Ghats in Kerala and Karnataka, at places in Odisha, small parts of Chottanagpur and  in some parts of Assam, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and in western West Bengal (particularly in Birbhum district).
  • Crops Grown:
  • This type of soil is unsuitable for agriculture due to high content of acidity and inability to retain moisture.

Desert soil:

  • This type of soils found in Rajasthan, Haryana and the South Punjab, and are sandy.
  • In the absence of sufficient wash by rain water soils have become saline and rather unfit for cultivation.
  •  In spite of that cultivation can be carried on with the help of modern irrigation.
  • Wheat, bajra, groundnut, etc. can be grown in this soil.
  • This type of soil is rich in Phosphates and Calcium but deficient in Nitrogen and humus.

Mountain Soil:

  • Soil found in higher altitude on mountain is called as Mountain soil.
  • The characteristics of this type of soil are changed according to the altitudes.
  • This type of soil is suitable for the cultivation of potatoes, fruits, tea coffee and spices and wheat.

Types of Agriculture in India:

There are different types of farming activities performed in India which are as follows:

Subsistence Farming:

  • Subsistence farming is a type of farming in which nearly all the crops or livestock raised are used to maintain the farmer and farmer’s family leaving little.
  • Subsistence farms usually consist of no more than a few acres, and farm technology tends to be primitive and of low yield.

Mixed farming:

  • Mixed farming is an agricultural system in which a farmer conducts different agricultural practice together, such as cash crops and livestock
  • The aim is to increase income through different sources and to complement land and labour demands across the year.

Shifting cultivation:

  • Shifting cultivation means migratory shifting agriculture.
  •  Under this system, a plot of land is cultivated for a few years and then, when the crop yield declines because of soil exhaustion and the effects of pests and weeds, is deserted for another area.
  • Here the ground is again cleared by slash-and-burn methods, and the procedure is repeated.
  • Shifting cultivation is predominant in the forest areas of Assam (Known as jhum), Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunchal Predesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh (Podu).

Extensive Farming:

  • This is a system of farming in which the farmer uses the limited amount of labour and capital on relatively large area.
  • This type of agriculture is practiced in countries where population size is small and land is enough.
  • Per acre yield is low but the overall production is in surplus due to less population.
  • Here machines and technology is used in farming.

Intensive Farming:

  • This is a system of farming in which the cultivator uses larger amount of labour and capital on a relatively small area.
  • This type of farming is performed in countries where the population to land ratio is high i.e. population is big and land is small.
  • Annually two or three types of crops are grown over the land.
  • Manual labour is used.

Plantation Agriculture

  • In this type of agriculture cash crops are mainly cultivated.
  • A single crop like rubber, sugarcane, coffee, tea is grown.
  • These crops are major items of  export.