Agro climatic zones in India

What is Agro climatic zone?

An “Agro-climatic zone” is a land unit in terms of major climates, suitable for a certain range of crops and cultivars. The planning aims at scientific management of regional resources to meet the food, fiber, fodder and fuel wood without adversely affecting the status of natural resources and environment. Agro-climatic conditions mainly refer to soil types, rainfall, temperature and water availability which influence the type of vegetations. An agro-ecological zone is the land unit carved out of agro-climatic zone superimposed on landform which acts as modifier to climate and length of growing period.

Planning of Agro climatic zones of India

With the 329 million hectares of the geographical area the country presents a large number of complex agro-climatic situations.

Several attempts have been made to describe major agro-ecological regions in respect to soils, climate, physiographic and natural vegetation for macro-level planning on a more scientific basis. They are as follows.

  1. Agro-climatic regions by the erstwhile Planning Commission
  2. Agro-climatic zones under National Agricultural Research Project (NARP)
  3. Agro-ecological regions by the National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP)
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.

Basis of Agro Climatic Zone Division:

The Planning Commission after examining the earlier studies on the regionalisation of the agricultural economy has recommended that agricultural planning be done on the basis of agroclimatic regions. For resource development, the country has been broadly divided into fifteen agricultural regions based on agro climatic features, particularly soil type, climate including temperature and rainfall and its variation and water resources availability as under:

  • Western Himalayan division
  • Eastern Himalayan division
  • Lower Gangetic plain region
  • Middle Gangetic plain region
  • Upper Gangetic plain region
  • Trans-Gangetic plain region
  • Eastern plateau and hill region
  • Central plateau and hill region
  • Western plateau and hill region
  • Southern plateau and hill region
  • East coast plain and hill region
  • West coast plain and hill region
  • Gujarat plain and hill region
  • Western plain and hill region
  • Island region
Agro Climatic Zone By ICAR and Planning Commission
Agro Climatic Zone By ICAR and Planning Commission

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.

Agro-climatic zones under National Agricultural Research Project (NARP):

National Agricultural Research Project (NARP) was launched by ICAR for initiating agricultural research in the agro-climatic zones of the country. The objective was to set up or upgrade a zonal research station in each agro-climatic zone for generating location specific, need based research targeted for specific agro-ecological situations. The focus was on analyzing agro-ecological conditions and cropping patterns and come out with a programme directly targeted to solve the major bottlenecks of agricultural growth in a zone based on natural resources, major crops, farming systems, production constraints and socio-economic conditions prevalent in that zone. Stress was on technology generation. In NARP, the country was divided into 127 agro-climatic zones.

Agro Climatic Zone division  by National Agricultural Research Project
Agro Climatic Zone division by National Agricultural Research Project
Agro-ecological regions by the National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP):

The National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning (NBSS&LUP) came up with twenty agro-ecological zones based on the growing period as an integrated criteria of effective rainfall, soil groups, delineated boundaries adjusted to district boundaries with a minimal number of regions. Subsequently, these twenty agro-ecological zones were sub- divided into 60 sub-zones.

Agro-ecological regions by the National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP)
Agro-ecological regions by the National Bureau of Soil Survey & Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP)
  1. Western Himalayas
  2. Western Plain, Kachchh, and part of Kathiwara Peninsula
  3. Deccan Plateau
  4. Northern Plain and Central Highlands including Aravallis
  5. Central Malwa Highlands, Gujarat Plains, and Kathiawar Peninsula
  6. Deccan Plateau, hot semi-arid ecoregion
  7. Deccan (Telengana) Plateau and Eastern Ghats
  8. Eastern Ghats, Tamil Nadu Plateau and Deccan (Karnataka)
  9. Northern Plain, hot sub-humid (dry) ecoregion
  10. Central Highlands (Malwas, Budelkhand, and Eastern Satpura)
  11. Eastern Plateau (Chattisgarh), hot sub-humid ecoregion
  12. Eastern (Chotanagpur) Plateau and Eastern Ghats
  13. Eastern Plain
  14. Western Himalayas
  15. Bengal and Assam plains
  16. Eastern Himalayas
  17. North Eastern Hills (Purvanchal)
  18. Eastern Coastal Plain
  19. Western Ghats and Coastal Plain
  20. Island of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep

Source of Article: Ministry of Jal Shakti, Govt. of India

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