Rice: Rice is the staple diet of people in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. Rice needs high temperature, high humidity and rainfall. Alluvial soil is the best for rice cultivation because it can retain water. China is the leading producer of rice. India, Japan, Sri Lanka and Egypt are also among the leading producers.
Wheat: Wheat needs moderate temperature and rainfall during growing season. It needs bright sunshine during harvest season. Well drained loamy soil is ideal for wheat cultivation. Wheat is grown mainly in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Russia, Ukraine, Australia and India.
Millets: Millets grow on less fertile and sandy soil. Millet is a hardy crop and needs low rainfall and high to moderate temperature. Jowar, bajra and ragi are the millets grown in India. Millet is also grown in Nigeria, China and Niger.
Maize: Maize needs moderate temperature, rainfall and plenty of sunshine. Well drained fertile soil is required for maize cultivation. Maize is mainly grown in North America, Brazil, China, Russia, Canada, India and Mexico.
Cotton: Cotton needs high temperature, light rainfall and bright sunshine. It also needs two hundred and ten frost-free days. Black soil is ideal for growing cotton. China, USA, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Egypt are the leading producers of cotton.
Jute: Jute needs high temperature, heavy rainfall and high humidity. It is also known as the “Golden Fibre”. India and Bangladesh are the leading producers of jute.
Coffee: Coffee needs warm and humid climate with well-drained loamy soil. Brazil is the leading producer of coffee; followed by Columbia and India.
Tea: Tea needs cool climate and well distributed high rainfall throughout the year. Tea plants need well-drained loamy soil and gentle slope. Processing of tea leaves is highly labour intensive. India is the leading producer of tea; followed by Sri Lanka, China and Kenya.
Efforts to increase farm production mean agricultural development. Agricultural development can be attained by various methods; like increasing the area under cultivation, increasing the number of crops grown. Improvement in irrigation facilities, use of fertilisers and high yielding variety of seeds are also done for agricultural development. Moreover, use of modern farm equipments is also encouraged for agricultural development.
The plot size is usually smaller in India. The Indian farmer usually lives in the main village. He buys high yielding varieties of seeds and chemical fertilisers from shops which sell them at subsidized rates. As the land is fertile in a major part of the country, most of the farmers grow at least two crops in a year. Rice, wheat and pulses are the main crops.
An Indian farmer takes advice from his friends and elders. He also takes advice from government agricultural officers. Some farmers use bullocks for ploughing, while some others hire a tractor. Irrigation is done by tube-well or with the help of canals.
Many Indian farmers are also engage in animal husbandry to support their income. Some of the farmers also rear poultry. The government veterinary hospitals provide facilities for artificial insemination of cattle.
A small farmer is usually helped by his family members when he needs the services of manual labour. Storage facilities are not proper in most of the villages. Hence, most of the farmers are forced to sell their produce when the market may not be favourable to them.
A typical farm size in the USA is about 250 hectares and it can go in thousands as well. The farmer usually lives in the farm itself. Corn, soyabean, wheat, cotton and sugarbeet are the major crops. Ploughing is done by huge cultivators. Combine harvester is used during the harvest. Pesticides and fertilisers are spread from airplanes. Soil samples are taken to the soil laboratory from time to time. Soil testing helps the farmer to scientifically plan his farming activities. The farmers in the USA often use computers to access latest information from satellites.
Storage facilities are highly developed and huge silos are used for storing grains. Well developed cold storage facilities ensure that fruits and vegetables do not go waste.
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