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Different Types of Agriculture in India: Top Farming Methods

Agriculture has been long associated with India and its proceedings. However, are you aware of the types of agriculture in India? If it is not so, then let us discuss the methods of cultivation in India.

Since India is a diverse country, as it holds diversity in almost every sphere of society, we can say that just like other sectors, our agriculture sector, too, has diversity. The farming practices and techniques that are adopted by the farmers who come from various areas vary differently.

In India, there are more than enough opportunities for sustainable agriculture – from organic Farming based on natural processes to precision agriculture using the latest technologies. In this article, the farming methods in India are discussed, and essential recommendations on sustainable approaches that can shape future Indian agriculture are given.

9 Diverse Types of Agriculture in India

Here is the list of different types of agriculture in India:

Subsistence Farming

Smallholder families engage in subsistence farming as the mainstay of rural India. They cultivate mainly crops for self-consumption with no or minimal surplus for the market. Commonly are traditional tools, organic methods, and rain-fed agriculture. It provides food security for households but is not without its problems, including the allocation of small landholdings and dependence on weather.

Extensive Farming

Extensive agriculture depends on large territories with little or no help from inputs such as labor, fertilizers, and irrigation. Crops are commonly spaced wide apart, and little mechanization is done. It is dominant in arid and semi-arid areas that are characterized by water scarcity. Although it requires fewer resources, this practice can result in a reduced quantity of harvested products and erosion.

Plantation Farming

One of the most common methods of agriculture in India is plantation agriculture. It refers to the intensive cultivation of cash crops such as tea, coffee, rubber, and spices. Such crops demand a particular climate and are cultivated on exceptional estates. Monoculture prevails, and a hired workforce is frequently used. Although it produces significant revenue and exports, it causes deforestation; in its place, the clearing of forests increases pollution.

Commercial Farming

Commercial agriculture grows crops for sale and profit, mainly to the outside world. Some of the standard practices that are used include high-yielding varieties, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and advanced irrigation systems. This form of agriculture can promote higher outputs and income, but it also poses questions about ecological integrity and farmer vulnerability to outside sources.

Dry Land Farming

In areas with low rain, dryland farming is pursued using a form of water harvesting techniques and drought-tolerant cereals such as millets, sorghum, and bajra. The implementation of soil conservation strategies such as mulching and bunding is essential. Although it is suited to arid environments, it can be problematic because the erratic nature of rainfall results in lower yields.

Shifting Cultivation

This is one of the ancient Indian farming systems in India that are commonly referred to as Jhum and widely adopted in northeast India, including tribal areas. The farmers cut off a small area of forest, burn the litter for fertilizers, and plant crops such as peppers and maize. After a few years, the land becomes barren, and they go on clearing other areas but allow the previous site to rejuvenate itself. This is a natural practice used for centuries, but the fear of deforestation and soil erosion demands to initiate management.

Capitalist Farming

This type of Farming is motivated by profit and involves the mass production of cash crops such as cotton, sugarcane, and oilseeds. Intensive use is made of high-yielding varieties, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides, besides advanced machinery. Though it increases yields and incomes, environmental damage, associated soil exhaustion as well as issues regarding dependence on external inputs are raised. For this system, the key is to strike a balance between profitability and long-term sustainability.

Mixed Farming

Mixed Farming is another type of farming method practiced in India. This is an age-old and integrated practice where crop cultivation and animal husbandry are merged. The livestock business incorporates cattle, goats, and poultry in order to serve them with milk, eggs as well and manure while growing various crops such as grains, vegetables, and fruits. This creates a closed-loop system, recycling nutrients and reducing reliance on external inputs. It promotes biodiversity, resilience, and sustainable food production for local communities.

Mediterranean Farming

In India, it is not as expected, but this type of Farming is adapted for regions with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Olives, especially in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, are focused—they need little water but love rocks. This drought-tolerant crop also delivers high-quality olive oil that creates employment opportunities in areas with lower rains.

These are a few types of agriculture in India. Not to forget that farmers are still struggling with multiple causes of low productivity in Indian agriculture.  Every system has distinct benefits and limitations; thus, balancing the environmental as well as societal factors of sustainability is pivotal to future Indian agriculture.

Top Sustainable Agricultural Practices

Focus on Soil Health

Using practices such as rotation, interplanting soil-enrichment cover crops, spreading organic mulch layers, and compost supplementation helps to create a more sustainable organic structure that develops nutritional content – feeding vibrant microbe and fungal communities, which encourages healthy plants.

Water Conservation

Through efficient drip systems, regulated use of seasonal rains with check dams and farm reservoirs sustainably provides year-round irrigation. The precision water management approach with organized irrigation schedules, moisture monitors, and zonal supplies maximizes use by minimizing wastage. Water conservation is an essential factor in different types of agriculture in India.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

By adding biological controls like predatory insects, bacteria, and fungi as well as some carefully selected organic pesticides with crop selection along with modified farm ecology regulated against environmental consequences compared to the use of chemical pesticides.

Energy Efficiency

Solar panels can provide enough energy to satisfy the critical needs of lighting, heating, and running farm machinery in an environmentally friendly manner by removing carbon footprints through renewable resources such as wind power or solar.


Diversification is the requirement of alternative methods of agriculture in India. Diversifying cultivated plants and introducing multi-story field vegetation and animal farming increases biodiversity and soil enrichment, plus protection against market disruptions by diseases or variable weather – improving ecological as well as economic sustainability.


It is the time to change; farmers should attempt to blend traditional expertise and advanced technologies in agriculture. No single strategy can address India’s regional distinctions in soil, climate, and natural resources, as well as the socioeconomic differences among farmers.