i. Shifting Agriculture:
It is mostly practised in the backward forested areas with heavy rainfall. The farmers clear patches of ground by cutting and burning trees and bushes.
The cleared land is cultivated for two or three years with primitive tools. Manures are not used at all. The soil gets leached and becomes unproductive. Weeds and unwanted vegetation encroach upon such lands. The farmer shifts to another part of the forest and follows the same pattern. Shifting cultivation is still practised on a small scale in the forested areas of northeastern states, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala. It is known by different names such as Jhum in Assam, Podu in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, Bewar in Madhya Pradesh and Ponam in Kerala.
It is mostly practised for the maintenance of one’s family. The farmer produces a variety of crops, and the total production is just enough to meet the requirements of the family. The farms are small and the yield is low. The farmers are poor. They generally use primitive methods and tools. All types of manures, such as household waste, animal droppings, green manures, night soil and a little of chemical fertilizers are used. This type of agriculture is generally practised in the tribal areas of Assam and in the Himalayan region.
The standard of living is low and the bulk of population is ill-fed and undernourished. Rice is the main crop grown in such areas.
iii. Intensive Agriculture:
This type of agriculture is practised in regions where the density of population is high and the cultivable land is limited. The farmer tries to get the maximum possible output from the small piece of land. He raises more than one crop in a year.
Intensive agriculture is widely practised in the irrigated areas of the northern plains and the coastal plains of India. It has the following characteristics: 1. Small land holdings. 2. Water supply is mostly through irrigation. 3. High-yielding varieties of seeds are used. 4.
Green manures and chemical fertilizers are used. 5. Insecticides and pesticides are used to protect the crops. 6. New technology and scientific methods are applied.
This type of agriculture is practised in areas with low population density and the cultivable land is abundant. The farmer specializes in one or two commercial crops. In India, extensive cultivation is widely practised in the Terai region of the Himalayas and the north-western states. It has the following characteristics: 1. Big land holdings and the farming operations are done by machines. 2. No extra care is needed to maintain soil’s fertility. 3.
Total output is large, but the yield is low. 4. The farmers raise bumper crops with large surplus for sale. 5. Storage facilities are needed due to increased production.
v. Plantation Agriculture:
This type of agriculture was introduced by the Europeans in the tropical and the subtropical regions. Plantations are generally large tracts of agricultural land owned mostly by the companies.
In India the main crops produced on plantations are tea, coffee, spices, coconut and rubber. The success of plantation agriculture depends on accessibility, availability of labour and adequate means of transport. It has the following characteristics: 1. Big land holdings. 2. Scientific methods of farming are used.
3. Cheap and skilled labour is needed. 4. Needs high managerial ability. 5.
Annual crops are less suited than perennial crops. 6. Farming is done with the help of special machines.
7. The aim is higher yield and a superior quality product. 8. Crops are processed on the plantation. 9. Plantations are managed like industrial units.
vi. Commercial Agriculture:
The main aim of commercial farming is to produce those crops which can be sold in the market.
It can be either intensive or extensive. To keep the cost of production low, most modern methods of cultivation are employed. It is generally practised in areas of sparse population. In India, commercial farming is not very common due to heavy pressure of population on land.
Recently, due to various land reforms, commercial agriculture has developed in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, and other parts of India. The main crops are wheat, sugar cane, cotton, jute, oilseeds, etc.
vii. Mixed Farming:
In this type of farming, livestock is reared along with crop farming. Cattle rearing and rotation of crops are important. It is practised in thickly populated areas. The yields are generally high. Efficient methods of cultivation, quick means of transport and ready markets in the nearby areas ensure good returns for the farmers.
viii. Dairy Farming:
This type of farming has been developed to meet the needs of the industrial cities. Milk cattle are reared near big cities to provide dairy products for the people living and working in the urban areas. It has the following characteristics: 1. It is market oriented. 2.
It needs a large labour force to look after the cattle. 3. It needs heavy capital investments. 4. Machines are used only on large dairy farms. 5. As the products are perishable, refrigeration facilities are needed.