Agro-Climatic Regions of India

Agro-climatic conditions mainly refer to soil types, rainfall, temperature and water availability which influence the type of vegetation. An agro ecological zone is the land unit carved out of agro-climatic zone superimposed on landform which acts as modifier to climate and length of growing period. The Planning Commission has categorized 15 agro-climatic zones in India, taking into account the physical attributes and socio-economic conditions prevailing in the regions.

1) Western Himalayan Region 

The Western Himalayan Region covers Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the hill region of Uttarakhand. Topography and temperatures show great variation. Average temperature in July ranges between 5°C and 30°C, while in January it ranges between 5°C and -5°C. Mean annual rainfall varies between 75 - 150 cm; in Ladakh, however, it is less than 30 cm. There is alluvial soil in the valleys of Kashmir, Kullu and Dun, and brown soil in the hills. 
The valley floors grow rice, while the hilly tracts grow maize in the kharif season. Winter crops are barley, oats, and wheat. The region supports horticulture, especially apple orchards and other temperate fruits such as peaches, apricot, pears, cherry, almond, litchis, walnut etc. Saffron is grown in this region. The main problems of this region are poor accessibility, soil erosion, landslides, inclement weather, inadequacy of marketing and storage facilities. The population is generally rural-based and poor.

2) Eastern Himalayan Region 

The Eastern Himalayan Region includes Arunachal Pradesh, the hills of Assam, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, and the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The topography is rugged. Temperature variation is between 25°C and 30°C in July and between 10°C and 20°C in January. Average rainfall is between 200 - 400 cm. The red-brown soil is not highly productive Jhuming (shifting cultivation) prevails in the hilly areas. 
The main crops are rice, maize, potato and tea. There are orchards of pineapple, litchi, oranges and lime. Infrastructural facilities in the region need to be improved and shifting cultivation controlled by developing terrace farming. 

3) Lower Gangetic Plain Region 

West Bengal (except the hilly areas), eastern Bihar and the Brahmaputra valley lie in this region. Average annual rainfall lies between 100 - 200 cm. Temperature in July varies from 26°C to 41°C and for January from 9°C to 24°C. 
The region has adequate storage of ground water with high water table. Rice is the main crop which at times yields three successive crops (Aman, Aus and Boro) in a year. Jute, maize, potato, and pulses are other important crops. Planning strategies include improvement in rice farming, horticulture (banana, mango and citrus fruits), pisciculture, poultry, livestock, forage production and seed supply. 

4) Middle Gangetic Plain Region 

The Middle Gangetic Plain region includes large parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The average temperature in July varies from 26°C to 41°C and that of January 9°C to 24°C average annual rainfall is between 100 - 200 cm. It is a fertile alluvial plain drained by the Ganga and its tributaries. Rice, maize, millets in kharif, wheat, gram, barley, peas, mustard and potato in rabi are important crops. 

5) Upper Gangetic Plains Region 

In the Upper Gangetic Plains region come the central and western parts of Uttar Pradesh and the Hardwar and Udham Nagar districts of Uttarakhand. The climate is sub-humid continental with temperature in July between 26°C to 41°C and temperature in January between 7°C to 23°C. 
Average annual rainfall is between 75 - 150 cm. The soil is sandy loam. Canal, tube-well and wells are the main source of irrigation. This is an intensive agricultural region wherein wheat, rice, sugarcane, millets, maize, gram, barley, oilseeds, pulses and cotton are the main crops. 

6) Trans-Ganga Plains Region 

This region (also called the Satluj-Yamuna Plains) extends over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and the Ganganagar district of Rajasthan. Semi-arid characteristics prevail over the region, with July’s mean monthly temperature between 25°C and 40°C and that of January between 10°C and 20°C. 
The average annual rainfall varies between 65 - 125 cm. The soil is alluvial which is highly productive. Canals and tube-wells and pumping sets have been installed by the cultivators and the governments. The intensity of agriculture is the highest in the country. Important crops include wheat, sugarcane, cotton, rice, gram, maize, millets, pulses and oilseeds etc. The region has the credit of introducing Green Revolution in the country and has adopted modern methods of farming with greater degree of mechanization. The region is also facing the menace of waterlogging, salinity, alkalinity, soil erosion and falling water table. 
Some steps that may be required to make agriculture in the region more sustainable and productive are: 
  •  Diversion of some rice-wheat area to other crops like maize, pulses, oilseeds and fodder 
  •  Development of genotypes of rice, maize and wheat with inbuilt resistance to pests and diseases 
  •  Promotion of horticulture besides pulses like tur and peas in upland conditions 
  •  Cultivation of vegetables in the vicinity of industrial clusters
  •  Supply of quality seeds of vegetables and planting material for horticulture crops 
  •  Development of infra-structure of transit go downs and processing to handle additional fruit and vegetable production 
  •  Implementation of policy and programmes to increase productivity of milk and wool 
  •  Development of high quality fodder crops and animal feed by stepping up area under fodder production

7) Eastern Plateau and Hills 

This region includes the Chhotanagpur Plateau, extending over Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Dandakaranya. The region enjoys 26°C to 34°C of temperature in July, 10°C to 27°C in January and 80 - 150 cm of annual rainfall. Soils are red and yellow with occasional patches of laterites and alluviums. The region is deficient in water resources due to plateau structure and non-perennial streams. Rain fed agriculture is practiced growing crops like rice, millets, maize, oilseeds, ragi, gram and potato. 

8) Central Plateau and Hills 

The region is spread over Bundelkhand, Baghelkhand, Bhander Plateau, Malwa Plateau, and Vindhyachal Hills. Semi-arid climatic conditions prevail over the region with temperature in July 26°C to 40°C, in January 7°C to 24°C and average annual rainfall from 50 - 100 cm. Soils are mixed red, yellow and black. 
There is scarcity of water. Crops grown are millets, wheat, gram, oilseeds, cotton and sunflower. In order to improve agricultural returns, measures to be adopted are water conservation through water saving devices like sprinklers and drip system; dairy development, crop diversification, ground water development, reclamation of ravine lands. 

9) Western Plateau and Hills 

Comprising southern part of Malwa plateau and Deccan plateau (Maharashtra), this is a region of the regur (black) soil with July temperature between 24°C and 41°C, January temperature between 6°C and 23°C and average annual rainfall of 25 - 75 cm. Wheat, gram, millets, cotton, pulses, groundnut and oilseeds are the main crops in the rain fed areas, while in the irrigated areas, sugarcane, rice and wheat, are cultivated. Also grown are oranges, grapes and bananas. 
Attention should be paid to increasing water efficiency by popularizing water saving devices like sprinklers and drip system. The lower value crops of jowar, bajra and rainfed wheat should give way to high value oilseeds. Improvement of milk production of cattle and buffalo through crossbreeding along with poultry development should be encouraged. 

10) Southern Plateau and Hills 

This region falls in interior Deccan and includes parts of southern Maharashtra, the greater parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu uplands from Adilabad District in the north to Madurai District in the south. The mean monthly temperature of July varies between 25°C to 40°C, and the mean January temperature is between 10°C to 20°C. Annual rainfall is between 50 - 100 cm.
It is an area of dry-zone agriculture where millets, oilseeds, and pulses are grown. Coffee, tea, cardamom and spices are grown along the hilly slopes of Karnataka plateau. Some of the area under coarse cereals may be diverted to pulses and oilseeds. Horticulture, dairy development and poultry farming should be encouraged. 

11) Eastern Coastal Plains and Hills 

In this region are the Coromandal and northern Circar coasts of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. The mean July temperature ranges between 25°C to 35°C and the mean January temperature varies between 20°C to 30°C. The mean annual rainfall varies between 75 - 150 cm. The soils are alluvial, loam and clay and are troubled by the problem of alkalinity. Main crops include rice, jute, tobacco, sugarcane, maize, millets, groundnut and oilseeds. Main agricultural strategies include improvement in the cultivation of spices (pepper and cardamom) and development of fisheries. 
These involve increasing cropping intensity using water efficient crops on residual moisture, discouraging growing of rice on marginal lands and bringing such lands under alternate crops like oilseeds and pulses; diversifying cropping and avoiding mono cropping; developing horticulture in upland areas, social forestry and dairy-farming. 

12) Western Coastal Plains and Ghats 

Extending over the Malabar and Konkan coastal plains and the Sahyadris, the region is humid with the mean July temperature varying between 25°C to 30°C and mean January temperatures between 18°C to 30°C. The mean annual rainfall is more than 200 cm. The soils are laterite and coastal alluvial. Rice, coconut, oilseeds, sugarcane, millets, pulses and cotton are the main crops. 
The region is also famous for plantation crops and spices which are raised along the hill slopes of the Western Ghats. The agricultural development must focus attention on raising of high value crops (pulses, spices and coconut). Development of infra structural facilities and promotion to prawn culture in brackish water should be encouraged. 

13) Gujarat Plains and Hills 

This region includes the hills and plains of Kathiawar and the fertile valleys of Mahi and Sabarmati rivers. It is an arid and semi-arid region with the mean July temperature reading 30°C and that of January about 25°C. The mean annual rainfall varies between 50 - 100 cm. 
Soils are regur in the plateau region, alluvium in the coastal plains, and red and yellow soils in Jamnagar area. Groundnut, cotton, rice, millets, oilseeds, wheat and tobacco are the main crops. It is an important oilseed producing region. The main strategy of development in this region should be canal and groundwater management, rain water harvesting and management, dry land farming, agro-forestry development, wasteland development and developing marine fishing and brackish/back water aquaculture development in coastal zones and river deltas. 

14) Western Dry Region 

Extending over Rajasthan, West of the Aravallis, this region has an erratic rainfall of an annual average of less than 25 cm. The desert climate further causes high evaporation and contrasting temperatures 28°C to 45°C in June and 5°C to 22°C in January. Bajra, jowar, and moth are main crops of kharif and wheat and gram in rabi. Livestock contributes greatly in desert ecology. 
The main areas needing a thrust for development are rainwater harvesting, increasing yield level of horticultural crops like water melon, guava and date palm, adopting high quality germ plasm in cattle to improve their breed; and adopting silvi-pastoral system over wastelands.

15) Island Region 

The island region includes Andaman-Nicobar and Lakshadweep which have typically equatorial climate (annual rainfall less than 300 cm; the mean July and January temperature of Port Blair being 30°C to 25°C respectively). The soils vary from sandy along the coast to clayey loam in valleys and lower slopes. 
The main crops are rice, maize, millets, pulses, arecanut, turmeric and cassava. Nearly half of the cropped area is under coconut. The area is covered with thick forests and agriculture is in backward stage. The main thrust in development should be on crop improvement, water management and fisheries. Improved variety of rice seeds should be popularized so as to enable farmers to take two crops of rice in place of one. For fisheries development multi-purpose fishing vessels for deep sea fishing should be introduced, suitable infrastructure for storage and processing of fish should be built up, and brackish water prawn culture should be promoted in the coastal areas. 


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