Agriculture and Irrigation


Irrigation is the artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall. Additionally, irrigation also has a few other uses in crop production, which include protecting plants against frost, suppressing weed growing in grain fields and helping in preventing soil consolidation. In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dryland farming. Irrigation systems are also used for dust suppression, disposal of sewage, and in mining. Irrigation is often studied together with drainage, which is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from a given area.

  • Surface
  • Localized
    • Drip
  • Sprinkler
    • Center pivot
    • Lateral move (side roll, wheel line)
  • Sub-irrigation
  • Manual using buckets or watering cans
  • Automatic, non-electric using buckets and ropes
  • Using water condensed from humid airfield
Irrigation in India:

Irrigation in India refers to the supply of water from Indian rivers, tanks, wells, canals and other artificial projects for the purpose of cultivation and agricultural activities. In country such as India, 64% of cultivated land is dependent on monsoons. The economic significance of irrigation in India is namely, to reduce over dependence on monsoons, advanced agricultural productivity, bringing more land under cultivation, reducing instability in output levels, creation of job opportunities, electricity and transport facilities, control of floods and prevention of droughts.

Project classification Irrigation Projects in India are classified on three major aspects into:

  • Minor Irrigation Projects
  • Medium Irrigation Projects
  • Major Irrigation Projects

Agriculture, also called farming or husbandry, is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinals and other products used to sustain and enhance human life. Agriculture, for decades, had been associated with the production of basic food crops. Agriculture and farming were synonymous so long as farming was not commercialized. But as the process of economic development accelerated, many more other occupations allied to farming came to be recognized as a part of agriculture.

At present, agriculture besides farming includes forestry, fruit cultivation, dairy, poultry, mushroom, bee keeping, arbitrary, etc. Today, marketing, processing, distribution of agricultural products etc. are all accepted as a part of modern agriculture. Thus, agriculture may be defined as the production, processing, marketing and distribution of crops and livestock products. According to Webster's Dictionary, "agriculture is the art or science of production of crops and livestock on farm."

Importance of Agriculture

Agriculture plays a crucial role in the life of an economy. It is the backbone of Indian economic system. Agriculture not only provides food and raw material but also employment opportunities to a very large proportion of population. The following facts clearly highlight the importance of agriculture in this country.

  • Source of Livelihood
  • Contribution to National Income
  • Supply of Food and Fodder
  • Importance in International Trade
  • Marketable Surplus
  • Source of Raw Material
  • Importance in Transport
  • Contribution to Foreign Exchange Resources
  • Vast Employment Opportunities
  • Overall Economic Development
  • Source of Saving
  • Source of Government Income
  • Basis of Economic Development