When an area has homogeneity in crop association, grown crops, farming practices, climatic conditions and soil type, it becomes an agricultural region. In a massive country like India, various geographical conditions lead to regional variations in farming. Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has classified agricultural regionalisation into six types. Agricultural regionalisation is a popular field for several scholars. It does not only mean the division of a region or country into different territorial units. Regionalisation is also a technique to understand the agricultural pattern across the country.
Different methods have been employed to delimit agricultural regions, including empirical, single-element, multi-element and quantitative-cum-qualitative techniques. The empirical technique focused on the cropping pattern to divide regions. In the single-element approach, one element of an agricultural area is considered. The multi-element method considers closely related features. It is an improved version of the single element and empirical methods. Lastly, the quantitative-cum-qualitative approach considers a region’s economic, social and physical factors. Indian agricultural regions are mainly classified per agrarian productivity, crop combination, farming practices, water supply, land use pattern, climatic conditions and topography.
Dr M.S. Randhawa was a famous agricultural scientist who gave out five Indian agricultural regions based on livestock animals, crops and climate.
- Temperate Himalayan: Upper Assam, Arunanchal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir are covered in this region. The subdivision of the eastern part includes upper Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Heavy rainfall is observed in these regions, and thick forests are found here. The main crops include tea and rice. On the other hand, walnut, apricot, almond, peach, pears, cherries and apples are grown in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir.
- Northern Dry (Wheat): Northwestern Madhya Pradesh, western UP, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab make up this region. In this agricultural region, the rainfall is below 75 cm. Irrigation is done with the help of tube wells and canals. Millets, sugarcane, gram, mustard, cotton, maise and wheat are cultivated in this region.
- Eastern Wet (Rice): Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, eastern UP, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Assam make up this region. The rainfall in this region is over 150 cm. Sugarcane, tea, oilseeds, pulses, jute and rice are mainly cultivated in this region.
- Western Wet (Malabar): Starting from Maharashtra, this agricultural region of India extends to Kerala. It receives rainfall of more than 200 cm. The primary food crop is rice in this region. However, plantation crops like cashew nuts, spices, coffee and rubber are also grown here.
- Southern Coarse( Cereals): Western Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, western Andhra Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra, southern UP, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat make up this region. The rainfall is recorded in the range of 50 cm to 100 cm. The primary crops grown in this region include pulses, oilseeds, groundnut, cotton, bajra and millets.
ICAR has used a simple approach to regionalise India. This classification has been made based on the dominance of crop associations and crops. Modern farmers who use specialised equipment and tractors and mini tractors must have information about these regions. If you do not know about these six regions, go through this section thoroughly.
- Rice-Jute-Tea Region
This region includes river deltas, valleys and lowlands of Orissa, West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, the Tarai region of UP and Arunanchal Pradesh. You can expect rainfall of 180-250 cm in this region. Because of high summer temperatures, high rainfall and fertile soil, rice is the main crop grown. In addition, jute is cultivated in the Hugli region of West Bengal. Certain areas of Orissa, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam have also started jute cultivation. Darjeeling and Assam are known for their tea, while Bihar produces tobacco and sugarcane. Coastal areas are known for the cultivation of coconut. The important fruit crops include oranges, jackfruits, bananas, betel leaves, pineapple and mango.
- Cotton Region
The Deccan Plateau has black cotton soil, also known as regur in India. The rainfall is in the range of 75-100 cm. Without a doubt, the main crop of this region is cotton. However, wheat, sugarcane, gram, bajra and jowar are also grown in the cotton region.
- Wheat & Sugarcane Region
This agricultural region includes the states of Haryana, Punjab, UP, Bihar, northeastern Rajasthan, and western Madhya Pradesh. These areas are famous for their rich and fertile alluvial soil. Red and black soils are also found in certain parts. There is moderate rainfall that is mainly dependent on the southwest monsoon. In winter, western disturbances can cause rain. As the areas are dry, irrigation becomes a big concern for farmers. The main crops of this region include sugarcane and wheat. The Indian wheat belt covers northeastern Rajasthan, Ganga-Jamuna doab, Haryana and Punjab. In UP and Bihar, one of the main crops is sugarcane. Example of other crops includes maise, pulses and rice.
- Millets & Oilseeds Region
This agricultural region covers the lands of eastern Kerala, south Andhra Pradesh, areas of Tamil Nadu, broken topography, and poor soils of the Karnataka plateau. You can witness rainfall in the range of 75-125 cm. Jowar, ragi and bajra are considered millets. Caster and groundnut are categorised as oilseeds. Other important crops of this agricultural region include bananas, mangoes and pulses.
- Maize & Coarse Crops Region
This agricultural region covers the lands of northern Gujarat and western Rajasthan. There is not much rainfall that is usually less than 50 cm. Irrigation is the basic need for agriculture in this region. The Mewar plateau is known for growing maise along with ragi and wheat. Sugarcane, cotton and rice cultivation is observed in the southern part. This agricultural region is also popular for its pulses and bajra.
- Fruits & Vegetable Region
In the east, Assam extends this agricultural region to Kashmir in the west. The east sees a rainfall of 200 cm, while the west experiences a rainfall of 60 cm. Some crucial crops of this agricultural region include apricot, plum, cherries, peach and apples in the west. On the other hand, the east predominantly grows oranges. This region is also famous for vegetables, chillies, potatoes, ragi, maise and rice.