Agro-Climatic Regions of India

Agro-Climatic Regions of India
Posted on 20-08-2023

Climate is a pivotal determinant impacting a region's agricultural landscape. It molds the ecological context for crops and accounts for regional disparities in farming. The influence of climatic factors can be seen in planting schedules, crop yields, and cultivation patterns across diverse parts of a nation. In 1989, the Planning Commission of India, collaborating with the National Remote Sensing Agency, partitioned India into Agro-climatic regions based on factors like soil type, rainfall, temperature, and water resources. This typology also considered environmental aspects and land productivity, including the stress on land resources.

India was categorized into 15 primary agro-climatic regions, each with unique characteristics and agricultural potential:

  1. The Western Himalayas: This area spans Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. The region showcases diverse topography, with towering mountains, deep valleys, and steep slopes. Temperatures range from 5°C to -40°C, while rainfall varies from 30cm to 150cm. Notably, terraced fields on hill slopes cultivate rice, maize, wheat, barley, and vegetables. Fruits like apples, peaches, pears, almonds, and walnuts thrive, and alpine pastures above 2000m serve as grazing grounds for livestock.

  2. The Eastern Himalayas: Covering Sikkim, Darjeeling, Assam Hills, and more, this region boasts rugged terrain, abundant forests, and swift rivers. With sub-humid climate and rainfall exceeding 200cm, rice, maize, and potatoes are staples. Shifting cultivation poses challenges like soil and forest resource damage, urging soil erosion prevention and diversified income streams for farmers.

  3. The Lower Gangetic Plains: Encompassing Bihar, West Bengal, and Assam's Brahmaputra valley, this area features fertile alluvial soil. Humid conditions with rainfall ranging from 100cm to 200cm suit rice and jute cultivation. The Green Revolution led to wheat's popularity, while improvements in rice farming, horticulture, and fisheries are essential for progress.

  4. The Middle Gangetic Plains: Stretching across Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, this gently sloping plain boasts rich alluvial soil nurtured by the Ganga. Humid climate with 100cm to 150cm rainfall fosters rice, maize, millets, and wheat cultivation. Diversification and activities like dairying and agroforestry could augment farmers' incomes.

  5. The Upper Gangetic Plains: Encompassing parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and beyond, this region experiences sub-humid continental climate. Adequate irrigation facilities support intensive agriculture, yielding wheat, rice, sugarcane, millets, pulses, and more. To tackle issues like waterlogging and soil degradation, strategies include mixed cropping, horticulture, and saline soil improvement.

  6. The Trans-Ganga Plain: This region covers Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and parts of Rajasthan, characterized by semi-arid conditions and alluvial soil. Challenges like waterlogging and soil degradation stem from excessive irrigation. Wheat, rice, sugarcane, and cotton dominate cultivation, but the region needs sustainable practices and groundwater management.

  7. The Eastern Plateaus and Hills: Encompassing Chotanagpur Plateau, Chhattisgarh plains, and more, this region struggles with deficient surface water due to hard rocks. Rain-fed agriculture prevails, with rice, maize, millets, oilseeds, and more as main crops. Introducing high-yield seeds and water harvesting can promote growth.

  8. The Central Plateaus and Hills: Covering parts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, this semi-arid region relies on crops like millets, wheat, pulses, and cotton. Water scarcity necessitates conservation methods, dry farming, and diversification for enhanced productivity.

  9. The Western Plateaus and Hills: Stretched over Maharashtra's Deccan plateau, this region contends with semi-arid climate and black soil. Rainfall between 25cm and 75cm fuels hardy crops like jowar, cotton, and sugarcane. Water-saving devices and smarter irrigation can boost agricultural output.

  10. The Southern Plateaus and Hills: Encompassing parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, this semi-arid region suits millets, pulses, oilseeds, and more. Focusing on dry farming, dairy, and horticulture can improve the region's prospects.

  11. The East Coastal Plains and Hills: Spanning from Odisha to Tamil Nadu, deltas dominate this region, ideal for rice, jute, tobacco, and more. Encouraging crop diversification is vital for sustainable growth, given the coastal climate and alluvial soils.

  12. The Western Coastal Plains and Western Ghats: From Maharashtra to Kerala, this region receives substantial rainfall supporting crops like rice, coconut, and spices. Focus on high-value crops and improved infrastructure can drive growth.

  13. The Gujarat Plains and Hills: Encompassing Kathiawar and fertile valleys, this arid to semi-arid region has a rich crop profile. Water management, rainwater harvesting, and dryland farming are critical for development.

  14. The Western Dry Region: Covering the arid part of Rajasthan, this region relies on Indira Gandhi Canal for irrigation. Crops like bajra and jowar thrive, and water management is a key development strategy.

  15. The Island Region: Including Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, this equatorial climate region banks on rice, millets, and coconut. Crop improvement and fisheries are key developmental avenues.

Overall, these agro-climatic regions highlight the interplay between climate and agriculture, necessitating tailored development strategies to ensure sustainable growth and resilience.

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