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Agricultural intensity UPSC | Agriculture | Geography of India

Table of Contents:

  • Agricultural intensity
  • Why Agricultural Intensity is very much needed in India
  • How to increase the agricultural intensity
  • Regional Distribution of agricultural intensity

UPSC Questions:

  •  Define agricultural intensity and bring out its regional distribution in India. ( 2016)

What is Agricultural Intensity?

Agricultural intensity means net sown areas are used to grow crops more than once in one agriculture year.

The agricultural intensity in percentage = (Gross cropping areas/Net sown areas)*100

Gross cropping Areas= Net sown areas * number of crops grown in one agriculture year

In India;

  • Gross crop areas=194.4 Million hectares
  • Net Sown areas=139.9 Million hectares

Agriculture intensity of India in percentage=(194.4/139.9)*100= 138.9 %

Why Agricultural Intensity is very much needed in India?

The following table shows the land availability over time;

Land Categories



Net Sown Area


46.24 %

Culturable wasteland

6.23 %


Current Fallow land

3.73 %


Fallow other than current fallow

3.50 %


Total Cultivable land



India population

45.96 crores

121.77 crores

From the above table it is clear:

  • We have limited cultivated land and total cultivable land decreased from 1960 to 2009 due to growing secondary and tertiary activities in India.
  • The population has increased approx 5 times from 1960 to 2009.
  • Food demand is increasing due to the growing population

The following fact is very much true;

  • Agriculture is a purely land-based activity unlike secondary and tertiary industries 
  • Lack of access to land is directly related to poverty in rural India
  • Quality of land is directly related to the productivity of agriculture
  • Land ownership has social values

As we can not increase the net sown areas of the country due to limited land resources, modern agriculture  technology is needed to increase food grains production; It can be used in two ways:

  • Raise the productivity of crops per unit area.
  • Total output is increased by intense farming technology

The second one is a good choice as India is a labor surplus country with limited land. It will serve two purposes:

  • Increase production
  • Reduce unemployment in rural areas.
How to increase agricultural intensity?
  • The way to increase agricultural intensity:
  • Increase the irrigation infrastructure to assured irrigation
  • Increase the fertilizer infrastructure
  • Use of drip and sprinkle irrigation method to save water and increase productivity
  • Use different cropping patterns such as mixed cropping, intercropping, relay cropping, and crop rotation in order to increase productivity and intensity.

Intensive agriculture is done in the following regions:
  • Punjab and Haryana
  • Ganga and Assam Plains
  • Coastal Plains
  • Peninsular river Valley
Try to solve the following questions:
  • Define agricultural intensity and bring out its regional distribution in India. ( UPSC 2016, 150 words, 10 marks)
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