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How should land be used

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How should land be used - Lesson Summary

Hectare is the standard unit for measuring land, and is equal to 10,000 square metres. Farm production is measured as yield, which is the total quantity of crop produced on a piece of land in one year. There are two ways of increasing farm production. One way to increase farm production is to increase the land area under cultivation. The other way is to adopt methods that allow you to grow more crops on the same land.

Land is a limited resource. The only way to increase land under cultivation is to convert wastelands into cultivable land. As wasteland is also limited, so this method can only increase the farmland marginally.

Hectare is the standard unit of measuring land area, and is equal to the area of a square having a side of one hundred metres. Thus, one hectare is equal to ten thousand square metres. The two ways grow more crops on the same land to increase farm production are: multiple cropping and use modern farming methods.

The method of growing two or more crops on the same land in a year is called multiple cropping. Farmers in villages grow jowar and bajra during the monsoon or kharif season. These crops are used as cattle feed.

Farmers can grow multiple crops in a year as they have access to electric-powered tube wells to irrigate their fields. Less than 40% of the cultivated area in India is irrigated, and is primarily in the northern and coastal plains. Traditional farming is less expensive, but produces lower crop yield. Farm production is measured as yield, which is the total quantity of crop produced on a piece of land in one year.

Till the 1960s, crops were grown using traditional seeds that required less irrigation and grew well with natural manure made from cattle dung. Traditional farming is less expensive as the farmer does not have to buy too many things, but it produces a lower yield of crop.

The Green Revolution in the 1960s introduced modern farming methods that used high yielding varieties (HYV) of seeds that required a lot of water, and the application of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Modern farming is expensive as the farmer has to purchase HYV seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, and has to pay for electricity and for the installation of tube wells for irrigation. However, the crop yield is very high as compared to traditional farming.

Farmers in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh were the first to adopt modern farming methods in India, and their yield got more than doubled.

The Green Revolution in India was more successful for some crops than the others. However, the adverse effects of modern farming include: Prolonged use of large quantities of chemical fertilisers and pesticides kills useful bacteria in the soil, leading to soil degradation and a decrease in the natural fertility of soil.

Chemical fertilisers and pesticides percolate through the ground to pollute the precious groundwater resources. Excessive use of groundwater for irrigation through tube wells has reduced the water table in many areas.

With decreasing soil fertility, farmers are forced to use more and more fertilisers to maintain their production levels. This is increasing the cost of production for farmers and decreasing their income. Across India, 80% of the farmers are small farmers who cultivate only 36% of the total cultivable land in the country. In comparison, 20% of medium and large farmers own 64% of the total cultivable land in India.

Division of land through succession and inheritance is another reason for many farmers having smaller fields. Small farmers work in their own fields with the help of their families. Medium and large farmers hire landless workers or small farmers to work in their fields in exchange for small wages or a small share of the crop. They may be employed on daily wages or for a whole year. With farm machines taking over most of the manual work done in the fields, farm labourers find increasingly difficult to find jobs.

Small farmers are forced to borrow money from big farmers or local money lenders to arrange for farming capital. The large farmers produce a lot more than their own requirement and sell their surplus at a good profit, lend money to small farmers.

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