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The Agro Climatic zone strategy is meant for adequate economic and agricultural development. Not only agriculture but allied activities such as poultry, animal husbandry, the practice of crop diversification, rotation are to be given adequate priority. Similarly, area-specific agro-processing clusters and Agro-based industries must be promoted to augment the farmer’s income and socio-economic development.

Agro-climatic classification is based on various scientific principles taking into consideration several constituent variables. Therefore, it is necessary that agriculture and farming should be tuned to the needs and available resources. Integrated farming, agroforestry, sustainable agriculture, hydroponics are the emerging revolutionary practices that must be prompted along with policy directives.

Concerted efforts are required to overcome these challenges and mainstreaming millets by diversifying production technologies, building forward and backward linkages, nurturing the start-up eco-system and bringing millets to the food plates of all.

Agro-climatic regions by the erstwhile Planning Commission

The Planning Commission, as a result of the mid-term appraisal of the planning targets of the Seventh Plan, has divided the country into fifteen broad agro-climatic zones based on physiography, soils, geological formation, Climate, cropping patterns, and development of irrigation and mineral resources for broad agricultural planning and developing future strategies. These are further divided into more homogeneous 72 sub-zones. Fourteen regions were in the main land and the remaining one in the islands of Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

The main objective was to integrate plans of the agro-climatic regions with the state and national plans to enable policy development based on techno-agro-climatic considerations. In the agro-climatic regional planning, further sub-regionalization was possible based on agro-ecological parameters.

What are the Primary Objectives of Agro Climatic Zone Classification?

  • To optimise agricultural production.
  • To increase farm income.
  • To generate more rural employment.
  • To make judicious use of the available irrigation water.
  • To reduce the regional inequalities in the development of agriculture.

What are the Climatic Zones?

The geographical area of India is divided into 15 agro-climatic regions. These are further divided into more homogeneous 72 sub-zones. The 15 agro-climatic zones are:

  • Zone 1 – Western Himalayan Region: Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh
  • Zone 2 – Eastern Himalayan Region: Assam, Sikkim, West Bengal and all North-Eastern states
  • Zone 3 – Lower Gangetic Plains Region: West Bengal
  • Zone 4 – Middle Gangetic Plains Region: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
  • Zone 5 – Upper Gangetic Plains Region: Uttar Pradesh
  • Zone 6 – Trans-Gangetic Plains Region: Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan
  • Zone 7 – Eastern Plateau and Hills Region: Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal
  • Zone 8 – Central Plateau and Hills Region: MP, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
  • Zone 9 – Western Plateau and Hills Region: Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan
  • Zone 10 – Southern Plateau and Hills Region: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
  • Zone 11 – East Coast Plains and Hills Region: Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry
  • Zone 12 – West Coast Plains and Ghat Region: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra
  • Zone 13 – Gujarat Plains and Hills Region: Gujarat
  • Zone 14 – Western Dry Region: Rajasthan
  • Zone 15 – The Islands Region: Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep

Today people refer Chilly as a spice that adds flavour and aroma to the dish but do you know that in early civilizations, chillies were actually used as a currency and considered more valuable than gold.

There are many such interesting facts about Chilly and here are 5 amazing ones for our readers.

  • India is the largest Producer, Consumers and Exporter of Chilly in the world. In the Financial Year 2016-17, India exported 4,00,250 tonnes of Chilly amounting to Rs. 5,070 Crores, registering an increase of 15 per cent in volume and 27 per cent in value.
  • There is abundant misperception in the spelling of the chilly. In USA, it is referred to chile or chile pepper; in UK, it is called as chilly or chili; and in India, it is known as chilly or mirchi (Hindi).
  • Chilly have nearly double the amount of Vitamin C as compared to Orange.
  • ‘Naga Jolokia’ is the hottest Chilly in the world and is found in Tezpur, India.

Mr PrasadK isa small farmer in Venkupalem village near Vinukonda, Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.The Vinukonda area is known for severe drought with water scarcity across the region. The farmer cultivates rose apple organically as a main crop for his earnings in his 4acres’ land. The yield levels of this crop at the adverse climatic conditions with organic practices are less when compared to other region. In addition, the marketing of this crop is also very difficult as his farm is situated away from towns. Since the returns from rose apple bothered Mr Prasad, he made his mind to do something with available farm resources to earn additional income.

Integrated Farming Approach:

Mr Prasad decided to raise poultry in his rose apple farm as an integrated approach after seeing some examples in television. He bought native chicks and started raising them in his farm. After initial trials, the farmer realised that this approach can be multiplied. Later he built a fencing around his farm as a protection for poultry and started raising poultry in large scale along with rose apple as an integrated farming approach which benefited both the chicks and plantations. Currently, his rose apple farm is having 500 chickens.

Impact:
  1. Mr Prasad grows 500 native chickens organically every year.
  2. He sells every year 750 kgs of chicken from his farm @ Rs 200/- per Kg.
  3. In addition to sales of rose apples, the poultry farming is giving an average net returns about Rs 1.5-2.0 lakhs per annum.

To become financially successful, a farmer needs to transform his cropping pattern to suit the current market trend. Health conscious consumers of today are turning their preferences to moreorganic, safe and nutritional foods, as a result demand for organic produce is on rise. Rohan Prakash, a 23 year old civil engineer from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh has made his name in organic mango farming.Organic farming system is not new in India. It has been followed in ancient times as well.India has the highest number of organic farmers globally, but most of them are struggling. Poor policy measures, rising input costs and limited market have been affecting growth of organic farming in the country. In such circumstances – Rohan’s decision to grow organic produce is truly laudable.

The success story of Rohan Prakash first appeared in ‘The Better India’.Speaking to The Better India, “Having grown up seeing both my grandfather and father taking up farming alongside their professions, I was definitely inclined towards taking up agriculture. After observing farmland and produce quality for a while, I began to think about organic farming seriously. The idea sprouted in my head somewhere during my second year in college, and together with my father, we decided to replace all chemical fertilisers and pesticides with an extract of neem oil.”
Now, Rohan is the sole certified organic mango producer in UP and earning in lakhs. What started as a passion – has today become full time occupation for this young farmer. He has branded his organic produce as ‘Sure Organics’ and aspires to take it to an international level. Overall productivity increased by 40 percent and after receiving organic certification, he managed to earn Rs 4 lakhs in a matter of two months. Apart from growing different varieties of mango, he also grows lychee, turmeric, paddy,guava and peach. Both son and father duo have also started producing bio-pesticides and bio-fertilizers. They have also provided employment to 15- 20 people from poor families of their village.
In a time when the younger generation in the country is visibly navigating away from the agricultural sector, hope this story inspires the youth and especially the educated ones, to take up organic farming.

Gaurav Vashisht of Nuh, Haryana is a successful Agripreneur now. He is a mushroom grower earning a net income of Rs 3.5 -4 lakhs per annum by selling his mushrooms in local Mandi and nearby markets. He is producing 3.5 tons of mushrooms from an area of 45×50 feet in 4 months (Nov- Feb). Three years back Gaurav had no vision about his future, when one fine day he landed up attending a training programme on mushroom cultivation organized and sponsored by KVK Shikohpur and State Horticulture Department. The fact that mushrooms can be produced in a large amount from a small space along with his confidence on the product which he was sure he could sell for a good price inspired him.

He started with 450 bags, compost and casing which were given to him by the department at the end of the training. He started with an area of 20 x 30 feet. Facing his share of challenges, inhis first crop he could make a profit of Rs 40,000 in a duration of four-five months.

Gaurav is now trying to establish compost unit and production unit for all season mushroom cultivation with the help of State Horticulture Department scheme. Idea is to grow mushrooms round the year so that he can supply and meet the perennial demand of hotel industry in his vicinity.
State Horticulture department and KVK Shikohpurhad played a key role in his success by encouraging him to go into mushroom cultivation and providing assistance. He is grateful to them and feelselated when other farmers in the area visit him to see his progress.