In this essay we will discuss about Dry-Land Farming in India. After reading this essay you will learn about: 1. Meaning of Dry-Land Farming 2. Characteristics of Dry-Land Farming 3. Importance in India.  


  1. Essay on the Meaning of Dry-Land Farming
  2. Essay on the Characteristics of Dry-Land Farming
  3. Essay on the Importance of Dry-Land Farming in India

Meaning of Dry-Land Farming:

The term dry-land farming indicates introduction of agricultural operation in the arid and semi-arid land, with continuous growth of population, the amount of cultivable land is gradually becoming insufficient. Therefore steps have been taken to start special type of agricultural operation in those dry lands which remained barren in the very beginning.

Dry-land farming in India is thus defined broadly to cover rainfed agricultural operation dominated by low water requiring crops in those arid and semi-arid tropical regions of the country. In order to start dry-land farming, requires alternate farm seasons of cropping and fallows which again need careful ploughing and harrowing during both the cropping season and fallow season.


In order to catch early showers, first the ploughing and harrowing operations are done. The second ploughing and harrowing operations are done during the rainy season in order to open the soil to the relatively heavier rain. The ploughing and harrowing operations are done for preventing loss of land moisture by evaporation.

The ploughing operation uproots weeds which absorb moisture from the soil and the harrowing operation usually prepares a dry, dusty soil on top level which will act as blanket for preventing evaporation. In this system of farming, special efforts are made by the farmers for conserving soil moisture and also for using limited rain water to a maximum extent.

Characteristics of Dry-Land Farming:

Some of the important characteristics of dry-land farming includes:

(a) Low agricultural productivity,


(b) High degree of vulnerability to vagaries of nature,

(c) Instability in output,

(d) Complete dependence on rains,

(e) Application of traditional agricultural methods and


(f) Requirements of low assets level.

Thus the dry-land farming is basically considered as a subsistence cultivation which has a total dependency on rains.

Importance of Dry-Land Farming in India:

In India, the importance of dry-land farming is increasing year by year. With the continuous growth in the size of population in India the gap between the requirements and the supply of agricultural output is increasing gradually leading to a crisis in respect of both food and non-food crops.

The World Bank in its recent study observes that at the turn of the century, the total requirements of food would increase to about 235 million tonnes which would again require an additional production of food grains to the force of 65 million tonnes over the present level of production.

With the present initiatives, the production of food grains would increase at best by another 35 million tonnes, leaving a gap of 30 million tonnes. Under this situation, the only way open to the country is to introduce and promote better dry-land farming which has a huge potential throughout the country.

Until recently, the development of technology for dry-land farming remained totally neglected. Considering the potential and also its importance, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) very recently evolved dry farming technology for its application in those areas which are experiencing inadequate rainfall even in the rainy season.

In India, a huge area of land remained fallow for want of assured water supply required for agriculture. Recently, the Planning Commission has made an estimate of such arid lands where dry land farming technology can be adopted.

As per this estimate, a total of about 37 million hectares of such arid lands, spread over 92 districts in different regions of the country can be brought under dry-land farming technology which could serve the twin purpose of controlling soil erosion, as well as increasing agriculture production and productivity.

In the mean time, the Eighth Plan has given much thrust on the improvement of dry-land farming more particularly for the production of pulses and oilseeds in which the country is deficient. Accordingly about 5,000 micro watersheds have been identified by the Government for adopting dry-farming technology.


In order to improve dry-land farming in the country, the Government proposed to follow an integrated and multi- disciplinary approach for the adoption and development of dry-land farming in the country. NABARD and co­operative banks have already expressed their willingness to extend financial help for running those viable dry­-land farming projects in the country.