Types of Agriculture Practices in India - FeraxFarm

India, with its diverse agricultural landscape, showcases a multitude of farming practices integral to its rich heritage. Exploring the types of agriculture practices in India reveals a tapestry woven with traditional wisdom and modern innovations.

From deeply rooted cultural practices to contemporary, sustainable approaches, the nation’s agriculture reflects adaptability to diverse landscapes and climates.

This exploration into agriculture types in India delves into nuances of farming methods, cultivation techniques, and the unique blend of traditional and contemporary approaches shaping the country’s agrarian tapestry.

Unraveling the threads of India’s agricultural practices provides insights into the dynamic strategies employed by farmers to navigate challenges and contribute to the nation’s robust food production.

Types of Agricultural Practices in India

India boasts a rich agricultural history, spanning around ten thousand years. Presently, it holds the distinction of being the world’s second-largest producer of crops. The country strategically employs various farming systems, selecting those most suited to specific locations.

The key contributors to India’s agriculture include subsistence farming, organic farming, and commercial farming. Different regions adopt diverse farming approaches like horticulture, ley farming, and agroforestry. India’s varied geography leads to distinct climates, impacting agricultural productivity across regions.

Types of agriculture in India heavily relies on the monsoon cycle for substantial crop yields. Farmers in India practice different farming types, guided by factors such as land nature, climate, and available irrigation facilities. 

The different types of farming practices in India are: 

Shifting Agriculture

Shifting agriculture, also known as slash-and-burn or swidden agriculture, is a traditional farming practice where farmers clear a piece of land, burn the vegetation, and use the ashes as fertilizer for crops.

After a few years, when soil fertility declines, farmers move to a new area and repeat the process. This method is common in parts of India, particularly in tribal regions.

In the northeastern states of India, such as Nagaland and Mizoram, shifting agriculture has been a traditional practice for generations. Local communities depend on this method to cultivate crops like rice, millet, and pulses.

While it allows for the regeneration of the forest and promotes biodiversity, the increasing population and land-use changes pose challenges to the sustainability of this practice.

Commercial Agriculture

Commercial agriculture involves large-scale cultivation of crops or raising livestock with the primary aim of selling the produce for profit. commercial agriculture one of the types of agriculture in India has become increasingly prevalent with the adoption of modern farming techniques and technology. Large farms, often managed by corporations, focus on maximizing yields and profitability.

For instance, Punjab and Haryana are known for their commercial agriculture practices, particularly in the cultivation of crops like wheat and rice. The Green Revolution in the 1960s further accelerated the shift towards commercial farming in these regions.

However, concerns about environmental sustainability, water usage, and soil health have prompted discussions about the need for more sustainable and diverse agriculture practices.

Subsistence Agriculture

Subsistence agriculture is a farming practice where farmers grow crops and raise livestock primarily for their family’s consumption, with little surplus for trade or sale. In many rural areas of India, especially in economically disadvantaged regions, subsistence agriculture remains a predominant livelihood.

In the hilly terrains of states like Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, subsistence agriculture is prevalent among smallholder farmers who cultivate crops like maize, millets, and pulses to meet their family’s basic food needs.

While it provides sustenance for the farming households, the limited surplus for market trade can often result in economic challenges for these communities. Efforts to enhance productivity and diversify income sources are crucial for improving the livelihoods of subsistence farmers in India.

Also Read: Different Types of Farm Irrigation Systems

Intensive Farming

One of the types of agriculture practices in India is intensive farming, the farming is a method of agriculture that involves maximizing the output per unit of land through high inputs of labor, capital, and technology. In India, intensive farming is practiced in regions with high population density and limited arable land.

This approach aims to achieve high yields and productivity by employing advanced irrigation systems, fertilizers, and modern machinery.

In the fertile plains of Punjab and Haryana, intensive farming techniques are commonly used for the cultivation of crops like wheat and rice. These regions witness the adoption of technologies such as drip irrigation and the application of chemical fertilizers to optimize crop production.

While intensive farming can lead to increased yields, concerns about environmental sustainability and long-term soil health have been raised, prompting a need for more balanced and sustainable agricultural practices.

Extensive Farming

Extensive farming is a type of agriculture that involves large land areas with lower inputs per unit of land, often relying on natural fertility and minimal labor.

In India, extensive farming is typically practiced in regions with abundant land resources and lower population density. This method allows for the cultivation of crops or grazing of livestock over vast expanses of land.

In the northeastern states of India, such as Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, extensive farming is common in the form of shifting agriculture. Local communities clear small patches of land for cultivation and then move to new areas, allowing the previously used land to regenerate.

While this approach may promote biodiversity and conservation, the challenge lies in balancing the need for agricultural productivity with sustainable land use.

Dry Land Farming

One of the the types of agriculture in India is dry land farming it is also known as rainfed agriculture, is a method of cultivation that relies solely on natural precipitation without the use of irrigation. This type of farming is prevalent in arid and semi-arid regions of India where water resources are limited.

Farmers in these areas cultivate crops that are well-suited to the local climate and require minimal water.

In the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, where water scarcity is a significant challenge, dry land farming is commonly practiced. Crops such as millets, pulses, and oilseeds are cultivated in rainfed conditions.

While dry land farming is essential for food production in these regions, unpredictable rainfall patterns and climate change pose challenges, emphasizing the need for sustainable water management and drought-resistant crops.

Wet Land Farming

Wet land farming, also known as irrigated agriculture, involves the controlled supply of water to crops through artificial irrigation systems. This method is employed in regions where natural rainfall is insufficient for optimal crop growth.

In India, wet land farming is widespread, especially in the fertile plains and river basins where irrigation infrastructure is well-developed.

In the Gangetic plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, wet land farming is practiced extensively for crops like rice, wheat, and sugarcane. Farmers rely on canal irrigation, tube wells, and other modern irrigation methods to ensure consistent water supply throughout the year.

While wet land farming enhances agricultural productivity, concerns about water scarcity, over-extraction of groundwater, and the environmental impact of large dams have been raised, emphasizing the need for sustainable water management practices.

Terrace Agriculture

Terrace agriculture is a method of cultivation where sloping terrain is transformed into a series of flat platforms or terraces, preventing soil erosion and optimizing land use. This practice is commonly employed in hilly and mountainous regions of India, where flat land for cultivation is limited.

Terracing helps retain water, prevents runoff, and provides level surfaces for planting crops.

In the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh, terrace agriculture is prevalent in areas like the Kangra Valley. Farmers cultivate a variety of crops such as rice, maize, and fruits on these terraced fields. The construction of these terraces is often a community effort, showcasing a sustainable approach to utilizing challenging landscapes for agriculture.

However, the maintenance of terrace walls and sustainable land management practices are essential for the long-term success of terrace agriculture.

Mixed Farming

Among the types of agriculture practices in India is mixed farming, it is a traditional agricultural practice in which farmers engage in both crop cultivation and animal husbandry on the same piece of land. This integrated approach allows for a more diverse and sustainable agricultural system.

In parts of India, particularly in states like Punjab and Haryana, mixed farming is common, with farmers cultivating crops like wheat and rice alongside raising livestock such as cows and buffaloes. The synergy between crop residues and animal waste contributes to soil fertility, providing a balanced and resilient farming model.

Pastoral Farming

Pastoral farming involves the rearing of livestock, such as sheep, goats, and cattle, with a primary focus on grazing rather than crop cultivation. In certain regions of India, particularly in the arid and semi-arid zones of states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, and parts of Maharashtra, pastoral farming is prevalent.

Nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoral communities move their herds in search of suitable grazing land and water sources. The animals provide essential products like milk, meat, and wool, supporting the livelihoods of these communities.

Sedentary Farming

Sedentary farming refers to a settled agricultural lifestyle where farmers establish permanent dwellings and cultivate crops on a fixed plot of land. This form of farming contrasts with nomadic or shifting cultivation practices.

In the fertile plains of India, sedentary farming is widely practiced, with farmers growing crops such as rice, wheat, and pulses in fixed fields. The establishment of permanent settlements allows for more intensive and planned agricultural practices, contributing to food security and stable communities.

Nomadic Farming

Nomadic farming, also known as nomadic herding or transhumance, involves moving herds of animals to different grazing lands in search of fresh pasture. In some regions of India, particularly in the hilly terrains of states like Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, nomadic farming is practiced by communities like the Gujjars and Bakarwals.

These pastoral communities follow a seasonal migration pattern, adapting to the availability of grazing resources and climate conditions. While this form of farming is sustainable and well-suited to certain landscapes, challenges such as land encroachment and changing land use patterns impact the traditional nomadic way of life.


The diverse types of agriculture in India reflect the nation’s rich agricultural heritage and its ability to adapt to varied geographical and climatic conditions.

From the terraced fields of Himachal Pradesh to the arid landscapes of Rajasthan, farmers employ a range of techniques such as mixed farming, pastoral farming, and sedentary farming.

These practices are deeply intertwined with local cultures and have sustained communities for generations. However, the agricultural landscape is evolving, with challenges such as water scarcity, environmental concerns, and changing climate patterns.

Balancing traditional wisdom with sustainable practices is crucial to ensuring food security and preserving the unique farming traditions that have shaped India’s rural life for centuries.


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