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Old Wednesday, November 21, 2007
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Default Geography Two - CROPS



Coffee is the leading tropical commodity in international trade and is the chief export crop of Latin America and Caribbean countries. Coffee drink has become universal but not like tea. Though coffee is not universally grown, but its importance as a beverage can be measured by the number of coffee houses established all over the world. It is estimated that now coffee is consumed to the extent of 3 million pounds daily throughout the world.


It is generally agreed that coffee originally belonged to Abyssinia and was brought to Arabia in about the 13th century. At that time, Coffee became a universal drink among the Arabs. Its use and cultivation in other countries spread like wild fire. By the mid of the 16th century, the pilgrims to Mecca expanded its market and everywhere its cultivation was experimented somewhere it was succeeded and somewhere it was failed. Dutch brought coffee from Arabia which was experimented in the botanical gardens of Amsterdam. The experiment was successful and its cultivation was practised in Dutch East Indies at Batavia (Djakarta). France experimented its cultivation in 1669 and from here its cultivation spread to South America where it thrived well in Brazil. Now coffee drink has become universal, but not like tea. Coffee houses sprang up in the countries all over the world, providing secured market for coffee.


The coffee tree requires heat, humidity, abundant rainfall, and rich and well-drained soil. Continued high temperature throughout the year, and frost are intolerable. So it neither flourishes outside the tropics like tea nor near the Equator like Cocoa. A temperature of 18o C to 27o C, and a rainfall above 1150 mm (26 inches) during the period of growth, and a temperature hovering around 15o C with a few showers in harvesting time are the climatic requirement.

Coffee thrives best where the climate is warm and moderately moist. Moderate heat and an equable temperature are desirable. The heat must not be excessive because the plant is delicate and cannot tolerate sunshine. Coffee trees cannot stand continued frost. Yet it cannot stand too much, direct sun 65 to 80o F of temperature during the period of growth and 60o F at the harvesting time is an ideal temperature.

Protection from Sunshine

When coffee plants are young, protection from the direct rays of sun is necessary. Due to this fact, cultivation under the cover or shelter of the trees is required to lessen the heat from the direct rays of the sun. strong winds are also harmful, so protection from the wind is also necessary. It is commonly found that coffee plants are associated with other plants to provide shelter and protection against sunshine and wind to the former. Bananas, corn and peas are grown to provide shade. Bananas and Erythrinas are frequently grown between the rows of coffee plant to protect the delicate plant from both the burning of heat of the direct sun, and strong force of the wind. In Brazil, a tall, coarse pea is planted to afford protection. This coarse pea plant also manure the soil, when it dies down.
Shade is not necessary for south Brazilian production, near the tropic of Capricorn; but essential on Colombian plantations, much closer to the Equator.

Coffee plants thrive well in regions which have annual rainfall between 1350-1400 mm (54”-56”). It should be well distributed. Heavy rainfall is required during the period of growth but during harvesting time a few light showers improve the quality and yield of the plant. stagnant water injures the roots of the crop, so good drainage system for free movement of water is necessary.

The best soils for growing coffee is the virgin forest land, rich in vegetable remains. Red volcanic soil, rich and well drained, favors the growth of tea plants. Soil should be neither too acidic nor too alkaline. Hills and high lands with good drainage system are desirable for coffee plantation. It exhausts the soil, so the application of green manure is necessary. Soil need both nitrogen and potash.

Coffee is produced almost as a mercantile commodity. Its preparation undergoes large processes and each process needs handwork. So its large output depends largely on the supply of abundant and cheap labor.

Other Factors
Among other factors price, coffee disease and government support may be mentioned. Production is restricted if the production is uneconomical. This happened in Brazil in 1897, when there was heavy fall of prices due to over production. In Sri Lanka and southern India, coffee plantation has been abandoned due to the ravages of insects and Fungi. In Yemen, inspite of favorable soil and climatic conditions, production suffers due to heavy taxes and bad governance.

Coffee is centered in the tropical regions of Latin America, Africa and Indonesia. About 90% of the world’s coffee is grown at elevations ranging from 305 to 1830 meters.

South America

Coffee, a native of Abyssinia or probably Arabia, has migrated and appears to have finally settled in Brazil, which produces about 20% of the world’s output. Coffee plantation called Fazendas, are located on the southeastern highlands in the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. The bulk of the coffee is grown also in the states of Paraná, and Mallo Grasso. Sao Paulo region of Brazil is the heart of coffee production in South American countries.
Coffee is mostly grown on the leeward hill slopes between 300-800 m. Above 800m, the temperature remains too low for coffee plantation. The valley bottoms are also abandoned as inversion of temperature is a common phenomenon. The summer is extending from October to April and coincides with the rainy season and thus become an ideal growing period. The dry and sunny winter from May to August is not only helpful for ripening and harvesting but also for drying and transporting.
The Terra Roxa soil of Sao Paula, derived from Basalt, is permeable and rich in iron. The coffee grown there fetches more prize than the coffee of the northern provinces. The use of fertilizer can multiply the yield several times. The problem of labor is solved by the Italian immigrants. The Fazendas are covered with a network railways which converge at the ports of Rio de Janeiro and Santos.

No where is the coffee grown so near the equator as in Colombia. Nearness to the Equator as in Colombia. Nearness to the Equator is offset by the great height of the plantations. Its lowest height is as high as the highest one of Brazil and continues upto 2000 m. Colombia, with a crop nearly 1/3rd of Brazil, is the second largest producer. The coffee is brought down by mules and coolies and exported to USA and Europe. The economy of mountainous Colombia is based upon coffee, more than any other thing.
About 3/4th of Colombia coffee is grown west of the Magdalena River and south of Medellin, chiefly on the slopes of the Central Cordillera in the departments of Caldas and Antioquia. Coffee is also grown on the western slopes of eastern cordillera around Bucaramanga and Bogota.

Other Countries
A considerable amount of coffee is grown in Venezuela. Here oil is of greater importance than coffee. Peru and Ecuador also produce small amount of coffee on the mountain slopes. In Venezuela and Ecuador the coffee growing areas lie much nearer to the coastal areas.

North and Central America

Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica are important producers of this region.

With increasing distance from the equator coffee come down from a height of 2000 to 4000 meters in Mexico. It is still the darling of the rugged lands which provide excellent drainage. The red soil sand the decomposed lava ensure high yield. The hot rainy season is followed by the cool dry season. Transportation is difficult and men and beasts carry the coffee down. At times, a small railway, as in Costa Rica, is also used. Mexico is the forth largest producer of coffee in the world. Coffee is cultivated in the southern portion of Sierra Madre oriental (mountain system in Mexico) and in the highlands of Chiapas to the south Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Coffee is the most important crop of Guatemala, which is grown on the mountain slopes. Coffee is mostly grown for domestic consumption and for exports. Guatemala, with El Salvador, is an important coffee exporter of Central America.

West Indies
Many islands of the West Indies have the requisite conditions for coffee plantation, but the island of Hispaniola is the greatest exporter. Jamaica is the producer of “Blue Mountain Coffee” – the highest priced coffee in the world. Puerto Rico is also an important grower.


Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Yemen and South Vietnam are the coffee producers in Asia. The coffee plantations were completely wiped out from India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia by a pest. By the introduction of Coffee Robust, India and Indonesia have regained their lost position.

Arabian Region
Arabs are great coffee drinkers, but they export almost all the coffee they produce. The world famous “Mocha Coffee” of Arabia is noted for its flavor, and fetches high price. The Arabian coffee region is located on the highlands of Yemen in the southwestern part of the peninsula. The mist which rises from the hot Red Sea envelopes the coffee trees, protects them from the direct rays of the sun and supplies moisture to the plants. The production of coffee is very small.

India is the largest producer of coffee in the world. In India, coffee is grown on the leeward slopes of the Western Ghats. The production of coffee, which requires an altitude of 915 to 1200 meters above sea-level for its proper nurturing and a temperate climate in a tropical zone, is now mainly distributed in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while a small crop is harvested in Andhra Pradesh. Over 300,000 people – chiefly drawn from Kerala, parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu – are employed in coffee industry. many of the coffee estates are inter-planted with orange trees, Cardamom, and Pepper Vines. There are only two types of coffee grown on commercial scale in India, the one most extensively cultivated being Coffee Arabia and the best in quality, with Robusta coming next in importance. coffee plantation is now very popular in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Indonesia is the 3rd largest producer of coffee in the world. Coffee is grown in Java and Sumatra islands. In Java and Sumatra coffee occupies highland slopes above 600 meters. Java coffee is noted for its quality.


Coffee plantations has been extending lately to its original home Ethiopia. Other important coffee-growing African countries are Kenya, Uganda, Zaire, Cameroon and Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast is the 5th and Uganda is 9th and Ethiopia is 8th in world coffee production.



USA, Canada and European Countries are the major consumers of coffee. USA is the leading importer followed by West Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada and Britain. Japan is also an important importer.

Almost all coffee growing regions export coffee. Brazil, the leader in production, also leads in export. Colombia, the second largest producer, is also the second largest exporter of coffee. Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica are other important American exporters. From Africa; Ivory Coast, Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia have the lion’s share in coffee export. Indonesia is the only country from Asia, which has a substantial share in world’s coffee export.
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Tea is the world’s most popular beverage, being favored by atleast half of the population of the world. It is the national drink of China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Great Britain and the former Soviet Union. Many African and near eastern countries also prefer tea to coffee, its nearest rival. Because un-brewed (to prepare a hot drink specially tea or coffee) tea leaves contain over twice the amount of coffee found in an equal weight of coffee beans, they are the major source of base product for medicinal caffeine. Tea is grown exclusively in tropical and sub-tropical regions, but consumed in all parts of the world.


Tea is native to subtropics of Asia. It is asserted that tea plant was first found in the province of Assam in India. But some writers do not agree. They are of the opinion that tea originated in China. Its use was first discovered in China so it is known as “China Tea” in England. It became a popular drink into England from the 16th century. Before 1838 the tea in Europe had come from China. It is only a little over 150 years since tea, which today is one of India’s most valuable exports, was first shipped from India to Europe. The first recorded shipment was in 1834.


Tea is an evergreen plant- actually a tree crop pruned to form bushes- that grows best where temperature range between 55 and 95o F. few plants require as much moisture as tea. Over 100 inches of precipitation, well distributed throughout the year, is desirable. Humidity must also be high to assure abundant leaf formation. Also, tea cultivation is sensitive to soil quality. Some specialists claim that characteristic tea flavors, like those of wine, are the result of differences in types of soils.

Tea crop grows best in a warm and humid climate. The tea plant requires high temperature and regular supply of moisture in summer. A temperature of 80o F favors the growth of tea plant.

Plenty of rain is required so the Monsoon districts of southern Asia enjoy an ideal climate for the growth of tea. Water requirements have been established at 80-100 inches of rainfall annually. Minimum requirement of rainfall is 60 inches. But heavy rainfall and high temperature favor the rich growth of tree plant as well as guarantee picking at the year around. Distribution of rainfall over the year should be such as to give a reasonable supply of even during the drier months.

Ideal Land

An ideal land for the growth of tea plant is an elevated land varying with the altitude. Excess of moisture around its roots is injurious so the ground on which it is grown must be well-drained and therefore tea is best grown on the slopes of the mountains within the tropics or in sub-tropics regions. It also flourishes on valley surface which has good drainage system. Tea is planted on hill sides because it provide good drainage and are not suitable for the other crops.

Tea requires a deep fertile soil containing organic matter with an element of iron. The soil should contain plenty of decayed animal and vegetable matter. The ideal soil for tea plant is virgin forest soil, a light rich, friable loam containing humus and iron. The presence of iron either in the soil or sub-soil is suitable for rich growth of tea and hence the red soil is excellent for tea plant. Too much time in soil is not suitable for the tea plantation.


An economic factor that checks tea plantation is the requirement of a plentiful supply of cheap labor with a certain manual skill. For this reason tea plantation is confined in the areas where cheap labor is found in abundance. Its cultivation is uneconomical in the regions where labor charges are high.


The tea plants are raised from seeds and not from cuttings. Young tea plants are started in nurseries under protective conditions and are transplanted in the fields when they are a year old. Plucking leaves begins usually when plants are 3 years old. The highest yields are achieved at 6 years.
Pruning of the plant is an essential part of tea cultivation. It is done annually during the period when the plant growth has stopped. Tea bushes are constantly pruned to generate tender new leaf growth., which is the only part of the plant that is harvested. The aim of the pruning is to have new shoots bearing soft leaves in plenty. It also keep the tea bush low enough to facilitate the plucking of leaves from the ground.
In order to help the plant to grow plenty of leaves, considerable attention is paid by the tea planter to maintain it in good health. Frequent tilling of this soil to eradicate weeds, and the use of several kinds of manure is generally practised. Once tea leaves are plucked, they must be protected quickly at a nearby factory.


Depending on how complete the process is, two types of “made” tea are manufactured. The leaves that are completely processed (i.e., withered, fermented and fixed) more black tea, the major product in world trade. Green tea is produced when withered leaves undergo a steaming or scolding to stop fermentation from occurring. Green tea is extremely popular in Japan and China, where it is almost completely produced by small-scale farmers.


Tea is grown in small gardens as in China and Japan and also in huge plantations as in India and Sri Lanka. The former is organized on the family basis but the plantation is a huge organization, requiring great skill in the management and capital.
The preparation of tea garden is a laborious task done by hand as the hill slopes cannot be ploughed by heavy machinery. After plantation, weeding, pruning and picking are all done by hand. Picking is the greatest consumer of labor. Assam gardens recruit labor from all over the India. Sir Lanka has to depend upon Tamils of southern India. Fortunately, women and children can also do the job, otherwise the problem of labor would have been at the more acute.
Preparations of tea leaves is no less a tedious work. If tea is to black, it is piled in heaps and allowed to ferment. If it is to be green, it goes to the fire-pan straight from the garden. Next it is rolled in balls and the sap is squeezed. It is then dried by the rays of the sun. Further drying is done in copper pans over a fire before it is ready to be assorted, blended, packed, and dispatched. Labor requirement is thus heavy.


Several of the world’s largest tea-growing nations are located largely, if not entirely, outside the Tropics. Most tea cultivation occurs in Asia, with India, China and Sri Lanka being the most important producers. The total world production of ‘made’ tea in 1989 amounted to 2.475 million metric tons. India, China and Sri Lanka are the largest growing nations, but tea has also become a major cash crop in Kenya, and small quantities are now cultivated in West Africa.

China is the 2nd largest producer of tea in the world. Tea cultivation is traditional in China. Tea grows most between the 32nd and the 24th parallels, but is generally distributed over most of western and southern China. The principal tea-producing provinces are Honan, Hupeh, Kiangsi, Anhwei, Chekiang, Fukien, and Kwangtung. It is also grown in southern Yunnan, near Mengtsz, and Xiamen (Amoy). Finally there is a flourishing tea-growing industry in western Szechwan.
The Yangtze-Kiang Valley and the Szechwan Basin forms the northern limit of tea cultivation. Yangtze Basin forms the northern limit of tea cultivation. To its south, tea is grown in all areas where topographic and climatic conditions permit. The low-lying lands are given to food crops and the hill slopes, where rainfall is at least 1250 mm (50”), are under tea cultivation. Three pickings are possible in a year. The best leaves are picked in April.

Tea is grown in all the four islands. The hilly beck-cone of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, with 1500 to 2000 mm (60” to 80”) of rain mostly falling in summer and the volcanic soils rich in iron the humus, are best suited for tea cultivation. The dense population supply the labor force. Pacific slopes, on account of milder winter, have greater concentration of tea gardens. The tea for export mostly comes from Shizuoka prefecture, which accounts for half of Japan’s output. Tea gardens are partially situated on the alluvial lowlands of river terraces of Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures. Central Honshu also supplies half the crop of Green tea, chiefly in the hinterland of Shizuoka which is exported to the USA, USSR (former) and Canada. Tea is also cultivated on the southern of Fujiyama mountains.
There to four pickings are possible. Japanese farmer take great labor and care for maintaining the high quality of tea. The consequence is that though tea is grown in small gardens uniformly high grade tea is available for export.

Taiwan with a rainfall of 2000 mm (80”) produces the world’s famous Oolong tea, mostly in the northwestern part of the island.


Large tea gardens are located on the terraced slopes of the volcanic mountains of Java, particularly on the western part of the island. The soils are fertile and rainfalls throughout the year; the average being 3750 mm (150”) annually. The temperature in the tea gardens varies between 19o C and 21o C. the population is dense and the Javanese are industrious workers. In short, all favorable conditions for tea cultivation are available. But the quality of the Javanese tea is inferior on account of its mixture with the low quality tea grown in small gardens by primitive method. Tea plantation on a small but promising scale has been introduced in northeastern Sumatra. Tea estates have recently been established is Sarawak and some other islands of the Pacific.
India is the leading produce of tea in the world and accounts for about 40% of the world’s output. Tea is the important cash crop in India.
The largest production of tea in India comes from the following areas:-

The Brahmaputra Valley of Assam
The Brahmaputra Valley of Assam produces more than 50% of the country’s output. The temperature here remains high and 2500 mm (100”) of rainfall takes place in summer. Unlike other tea growing regions, tea is also planted in the valley bottoms. Ditches are dug to drain water from the roots of the plants. Picking is done every 9 to 15 days and continues for 9 months from March. The plant takes rest in the 3 dry months.
The most intensive cultivation of the tea here is found on the red alluvium which forms small plateau in the districts of Tejpur and Bishnath.

The Surma Valley
This valley comprised mainly of Chachar district. There are many low hillocks all over the district. These hillocks are surrounded by low-lying flat lands, locally known as Bed, which was formerly a swamp. These swamps have now been drained, and in many cases black soil highly charged with organic matter has been uncovered. On these soils tea flourished exceedingly well. In addition to these flat lands, tea has been planted also plateau lands similar to that in the Brahmaputra valley.

The Duars

There is a strip about 16 km broad lying at the foot of the Himalayas, south of Sikkim and Bhutan. The most characteristic feature of this strip is a bank of hard but porous red soil on which tea has been extensively planted.

Darjeeling is famed for the high quality tea produced at an elevation of 1000 to 1400 meters. The flavor is imparted by the moderate temperature. The July temperature is 16.5o C.

Western Ghats
The tea gardens of southern India are located on the hills and slopes of Western Ghats. On Nilgiri hills, north of Palghat gap is an important tea area. The Nilgiri Wynand and Malabar tea gardens are situated on the strip between the Nilgiri and Malabar coast at an elevation of about 95 meters above sea level. The tea gardens of Kanara and Davans are at an elevation of 1524 meters.
The southern part of the Western Ghats attract 2500 to 3750 mm (100 to 150 inches) of rainfall, while 3 months in a year are dry. The red clay is rich in iron. Picking continues for 10 months. But the quality is not good as that of Assam.

Other Areas
The Chota Nagpur plateau and Kangra valley produces small quantities of tea. The Kangra valley tea gardens lie in the valleys on the foot hills of Himalayas in the Himachal Pradesh, but the climate is not very favorable. A small area of tea is also cultivated in Mandi.
In UP, tea is also cultivated in Kumaon and Uttarakhand division, Dehra Dun. Tea is also grown in Ranchi. Ranchi tea gardens are situated in the Chota Nagpur Plateau.

Tea plantation was first established in Bangladesh area in the middle of the 19th century. Today tea plantations cover an area of 90,000 acres. The tea plantations occupy the hillocks and hills capped with laterite (a dense, porous, iron-bearing soil that can be quarried like stone) soils. Most of the plantations are located in southern and northeastern parts of Sylhet districts and a few are in Chittagong districts.

With a production of about 10% of the world’s tea, Sri Lanka is the third largest tea producer. Tea replaced coffee in India after it was wiped by an insect pest. The climatic conditions are very similar to Java. The best tea gardens attain a height of 1000 meters on laboriously terraced slopes. Organizational skill comes from England and the field workers from India.
The cool but humid highland of Central Sri Lanka provide ideal geographical conditions for successful tea growing. North of Ratnapura is an important tea area of Sri Lanka. The tea gardens of Kandy and Gompola are at an elevation of 700 meters above sea level.


Tea is grown here only in wetter parts of the African highlands. Important tea growing states are Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Congo, Zimbabwe, and Malawi (Nyasa land). Tea plantations are rapidly expanding in Kenya and Malawi. Kenya is the forth largest producer of the world.

There are three islands in the western Indian Ocean worth mentioning in connection with tea cultivation. One is Mahe which is the largest of the Seychelles group of islands.
Second island is the Mauritius. Tea cultivation and production take second place after sugar cane in the island’s economy, although tea occupies only 4% of the total cultivated area in Mauritius. The tea industry in Mauritius is now firmly established as a supplement to the sugarcane industry.
The third island is Reunion, which is formerly known as Ile Bourbon. It is also of volcanic origin. Tea is also grown on the volcanic slope of this island. Tea has become the base for the livelihood of a significant sector of the economy.


Tea is grown in Brazil and Argentina. These are emerging nations of South America, which have embarked on major expansion schemes for tea plantations for which land is available in plenty. Currently these South American producers are hoping that the continuing price advantage of tea over coffee will encourage more tea drinking in North America and Europe where tea imports have been considerably increased over last few years.


Former USSR has emerged as a great tea producer. It was the 5th largest producer in the world in 1989. Tea is grown in the Trans-Caucasus Region.
Turkey is another country which produces large quantity of tea.


India, Sri Lanka and Kenya dominate world export trade in tea and account for about 60% of total export. The share of India is slightly more than that of Sri Lanka. Kenya occupies 3rd place in export. Indonesia, Bangladesh and Malawi are other important exporters.


British are great tea drinkers and they are the main importers of tea. USA, Australia, Canada, Egypt and Iraq are other important importers.
Pakistan’s Imports
Pakistan consumes quite a large quantity of tea. In 1995-96, Rs. 4,115 million were spent on its import.
Year Quantity Imported (Tons) Money Spent (Million Rs.)

(kindly use updated and fresh data from any economic geography book)
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Sugarcanes belong to the family Gramineae. The common sugarcane is classified as Saccharum officinarum.
Sugarcane is the most important commercial crop of tropical countries. Sugarcane is certainly one of the most profitable crops. There is always a ready market for the manufactured sugar. The bulk of sugar that enters the world trade, however, is refined from sugarcane.
Sugarcane is a perennial crop. But generally only one or two crops are obtained and then fresh planting is done. The first crop is called the plant cane and the succeeding crops are called ratoon crops. Generally, good yields from ratoon crop are obtained only for one or two years. Depending upon climatic conditions, sugarcane takes 10 to 24 months to ripen.


The home of sugarcane is the Ganges Valley. By 800 AD, the Arabs had introduced sugarcane in the Mediterranean lands. From there, it was carried to the Americas during the days of Columbus. It was, however, in 17th century that it began to replace honey for sweetening purpose in Europe. But in the 19th century, cane was itself faced with a competitor, the beet. The extraction of sugar from beet is a costly affair. The yield of sugarcane is 10 times more than beet. Therefore, in an open market, beet cannot compete with cane. Under governmental protection, beet-sugar industry flourishes in a number of countries. On the average, 65% of the world’s sugar production consists of cane-sugar and 35% of beet-sugar.


Sugarcane is a product of tropical countries requiring high temperature, abundance of water and rich soil. It also flourishes in sub-tropical countries. High temperature ranging between 18o and 30o C throughout the year, and a rainfall of 1500 mm (60”) annually with a dry ripening and harvesting season are the ideal climatic conditions. Sea breezes give further nourishment to the sugarcane and increase sucrose content.


Sugarcane does not flourish in low temperature. Temperature should be suitable throughout the year. At the same time, high temperature should not continue for the longer period. It requires high temperature during the first stage of vegetative growth. But in the later period of its growth and during its ripening season, temperature should be comparatively lower to ensure higher yield and higher sucrose content. In the regions where the growing season of sugarcane is 8 months, low temperature for its growth is also suitable. Plenty of sunshine and absence of frost give better yield. Temperature varying from 65o F to 68o F is suitable.


A considerable amount of moisture and absence of drought conditions are necessary during its growing period. Under drought conditions, the cane does not get its usual diameter, the inter-nodes are shortened, and also superfluous fibers grow in large number. The combine effects of all these decrease the sucrose content. The cane gets moisture either by rain or by irrigation when there is not enough rainfall. Rainfall ranging between 40” and 70” contributes much to the healthy growth of sugarcane. But ripening and harvesting season should be dry to ensure much juice. Frequent heavy showers in absence of proper irrigation system are necessary. Sunny irrigated areas provide an ideal factor for sugarcane production. Heavy rainfall and high humidity throughout the year stunt the growth of the cane. In dry regions, the moisture is supplied entirely by the irrigation, such as coastal valley of Peru, and some parts of India and Pakistan. Cane grown in dry regions under irrigation system gives better results because the moisture through this system is controlled.


Rich soils are very suitable for sugarcane. A moist soil adopted for rice produces better cane. It thrives best on rich and well-drained soils, rich in phosphates. The soil must contain lime and salt. Loamy and slightly alkaline soils give better yield. Red soils, which develop under forest vegetation, are preferable. In many cane producing regions alluvial soils are preferred. It is an exhaustive crop, so application of manure is necessary to maintain the fertility of the soil. The land should be leveled with proper drainage system.

Other Factors

a. Sugar production in all its stages requires a large labor supply therefore labor must be cheap and abundant.
b. Sugar industry is located close to the sugarcane plantations, because of several factors:
a. Sugarcane is a bulky thing. The sugar content does not exceed 14-15%. So the cost of transportation is heavy.
b. Sugarcane begins to loose weight and reduction of sucrose content starts as soon as it is cut.
c. Sugarcane rots easily.
d. Sugarcane bagasse (fiber of sugarcane) is enough to run the mill. No coal or other means of power are required.
c. Sugar industry is not possible without huge investment of capital. So huge capital is also one of the necessary factors in this connection.
d. Effective government support is also necessary for the cane cultivation. It is the only cheap source of sugar and at the same time the source of governmental revenue. Sugar industry provides huge employment to the people, thus employment is also mitigated.


Hundreds of varieties of sugarcane are found and different varieties are developed in various cane producing countries. Broadly, it has been classified into;
a. the tropical varieties; and,
b. the Indian varieties.
The Indian varieties are poor in sucrose content and rich in fiber content and just reverse is the case with tropical varieties. Many varieties have been developed by crossing Saccharum officinarum with the other species and these varieties yield high crops and contain high sucrose content. In Java, a variety known as P.O.B. 2878 has been developed through a long series of thousands of crossings. This variety has high yielding capacity and is resistant to the Serch disease.




India is the leading producer of sugarcane in Asia and second in the world. The entire Ganges Valley with its deep alluvium is producing sugarcane. Madras and Bombay are two notable provinces outside northern plains which grew cane. Irrigation is practised almost everywhere. Canals, tube wells and wells are utilized in northern India and tanks in southern India. The cane is of inferior variety and the yield per acre is low.
Sugarcane is grown in almost all the states of India, but its cultivation is mostly concentrated in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka etc.
In UP, the most important district producing sugarcane are Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Namital, Bhabar, Azamgarh, Ballia, Varanasi (Benares), Gorakhpur, Jaunpur, Pilibhit etc. UP accounts for 50% of the total production of India.
In Bihar, the important sugarcane growing districts are Champaran, Gopalganj, Siswan, Muzaffarpur, Buddh Gaya, Saran, Samastipur, Palamau etc.
In Punjab, sugarcane is mostly cultivated in the districts of Jullundhur, Gurdaspur, Sangrur, Rupanagar, Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur.
In Haryana; Ambala, Rohtak, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Tind Sonepat are important sugarcane districts.
During the last 35 years or so, a spatial change has taken place in the sugarcane states. The hitherto major sugarcane producing states like UP and Bihar are facing intense competition from Maharashtra, Karnataka and other southern states. Assured irrigation and attractive sugarcane prices have contributed to the expansion of area in Maharashtra and southern states.
In Maharashtra, the cultivation of sugarcane is concentrated in Ahmadnagar, Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Pune, Nasik, Sholapur, Aurangabad etc. Maharashtra ranks second in area and production in Indian Union.
Although sugarcane is grown in the whole state of Andhra Pradesh, but the districts of west Godavari, Nizamabad, Chittor, east Godavari and Vishkhapatnam have a commercial production.
Even though sugarcane is grown all over Gujrat, in favorable localities to some extent or the other because of its great yield, its greatest concentration occurs in Surat, Rajkot, Bulsar, Junagadh etc.
Sugarcane cultivation is also done in Madhya Pradesh, specially in Betul, Ratlam, Gwalior, Indore, Sohore; in Orissa specially in Puri, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Ganjam etc.; in Kerala state specially in Iddiki, Alleppey, Palghat, and Quilon districts; and in Assam state specially Sibsagar, Nowgong, Cachar, Mikir Hill etc.


Sugarcane is an important cash and industrial crop of Pakistan and accounts for about 5% of total cropped area in the country. It serves as the major raw material for the production of white sugar and Gur. In Pakistan, sugarcane is grown under intensive subsistence type of agriculture. Yield per hectare is very low – 46.94 ton/hectare in 1995-96. The upper Indus Valley is the main region of sugarcane cultivation in Pakistan. Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and Sialkot are important districts of sugarcane. Sindh and NWFP are other important areas.

Year-------Area(000 hec.)--Production(000 ton)--Yield (ton/hec.)

1993-94 -------963----------------44,427------------46.14
1994-95 ------1,009---------------47,168------------46.70
1995-96 -------963----------------45,230------------46.94


Sugar needs both heat and moisture and, therefore, is limited to the southern provinces, but it can be grown either as a perennial, when the necessary conditions prevail all the year round, or as an annual in regions of hot moist summer. The principal provinces concerned in this cultivation are Kwangtung, Kwangsi-Chuang, and Fukien, and to a limited extent, southern Chekiang and Hunan. In the west, sugarcane is grown in Szechwan, and in Yunnan. In southeastern China, 1 to 2 crops are harvested each year. The fields of sugarcane are largely unaffected by seasonal changes, these lie mainly near the east river and round Punyu, Shuntak and Tangshan, Suchow, where there are sugar mills.
China ranks 5th in sugarcane hectareage and 4th in production in the world. China produces about 6% of the world’s output of sugar. China is endeavoring hard to increase its sugar production.


Indonesian sugarcane production has steadily been declined since 1930, when it produced 3 million metric tonnes. Within 5 years it declined to 1 million metric tonnes. A further set back was caused by the World War II. Thereafter it has been steadily increasing and stood at 25 million tonnes. This fall in sugarcane hectareage is by no means unusual in Indonesia. It has been steadily decreasing for last two decades.
Java is the main producer of Indonesian sugarcane. It is a small island with dense population. Labor is cheap and efficient. The application of heavy fertilizer, irrigation, careful tillage, selection of cane and rotation of crop assure high yield per acre. Being in the equatorial region, it gets plenty of heat and sunshine. It comes under the influence of monsoons which assure heavy rainfall.
The sugarcane crop is the 3rd most important crop of Indonesia after plantation crops. For most farmers, mainly those of eastern Java, sugarcane cultivation offers little attraction, specially in the light of better returns in switching over plantation crops. Southeast Asia is the main market of Javanese sugar. A small quantity is also taken by Britain.

The Philippines

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines is now the leading producer of sugarcane. Most of the soils are volcanic and fertile. The temperature is reduced in most parts by elevation, and modified by oceanic winds. All regions experience a fairly heavy rainfall in summer, which is excessive on the southwestern slopes of Philippines. The Philippines have excellent climatic and soil conditions for sugarcane growing on the low plains of the western sides. The Philippines were the first to reconstruct their sugar industry after the war.
Sugarcane is a commercial crop and occupies the largest hectareage. Sugarcane is widely grown all over the islands, but the commercial production is largely confined to Panay, Negros, Luzon, Cebu, and north of Manila. Philippines ranks 6th in area and 10th in sugarcane production. Sugar is the chief export. Its main markets are the US and Japan, both of which import crystal sugar from the Philippines.

South America


Brazil is the leading producer of South America. Brazil ranks 2nd in area and first in production in the worlds. Brazil ranks 1st in South American countries in area and production. Sugarcane is grown mainly on the southeastern coastal region of Brazil. Sao Paulo and adjacent regions produce more than 50% of the Brazil’s sugarcane. Northeastern coastal strip and east central rolling plateau are the sugarcane regions.


Although Colombia ranks 3rd in sugarcane area, but 2nd in production in South America and 10th in the world. The multiplication program of new varieties is in progress. The cane growers are persuaded to adopt new cost technology, trash mulching, and removal of old leaves. From the plant and application of potash fertilizers before closure of irrigation to minimize the yield loss. Proper ratoon management which includes stubble shaving, and maintaining plant protection is given emphasis. Special programs are being launched by the State Agriculture Department to boost sugarcane production.


Argentina ranks 2nd in area and 3rd in sugar production in South American countries and 14th in the world. Argentina gets enough sugar for home consumption from its only sugarcane region in the province of San Miguel de Tucumán. The plains of Paraná and Salado provide very ideal climatic conditions for the growth of sugarcane. In this region whenever natural rainfall lacks, water from local canals is resorted and the water requirements are fulfilled.


Peru ranks first in per hectare yield in the world and 4th area and production in South American countries. Peru produces about 1.2% of the world’s output of sugar. Peru with its alluvial soils, plenty of sunshine high temperature, irrigation facilities, produces commercial sugar in its 15 coastal valleys.

North America


Mexico ranks 7th in sugarcane and 5th in sugar production in the world. Sugarcane cultivation is mostly concentrated in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Veracruz etc. The sugar industry in Mexico is expanding and sugar has emerged as a main item of export. The need is only to produce more sugar of better quality. So Mexico may continue to enjoy the confidence of the buyers in the sugar market. Mexico produce 4.4% of the world’s output.


USA ranks 9th in area and 7th in production. USA produces about 3% of the world’s output of sugar. The main sugarcane area of the USA is in Hawaii. Hawaiian sugarcane plantation is based upon the virgin volcanic soils and the vast market of the USA. sugarcane is also cultivated in southern states of the USA specially in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. California valley is also important for sugarcane production. The winter frost has confined cane in few favored areas of the USA like southern Louisiana, coastal strip in eastern Texas, and a few localities in Florida. There, too, its life is not out of danger.
The exceptionally fertile soils ensures highest yield per acre in the world and makes possible 5 or 6 ratoon crops. Ratooning is a great boon for those thinly populated regions. The vast home market has made sugar plantation a profitable industry inspite of the great labor involved and huge capital invested over irrigation, fertilizer, and machinery. The utilization of sugarcane for sugar production by factories has a direct relationship with the prevailing prices of sugar products and hence there is always a wide variation in the area and yield of sugarcane.


About 1600 km of eastern coastal regions of Australia from Queensland to New South Wales, produce sugarcane. Most of the sugar is consumed at home, while a small amount is exported to foreign countries specially to Japan. Human labor is available at hand. High labor costs raise production costs, so sugarcane cultivation is subsidized by the government. Australia produces about 2.5% of the world’s output.

West Indies


Cuba’s economy is dependent upon a single commodity – the sugarcane. Cuba was the leading exporter and producer of cane-sugar in the world for quite a few years. Still it is 3rd largest producer of sugarcane in the world. This has become possible owing to the assembling of a number of favorable factors.
Half of the Cuban land, with gently rolling topography and flat valley floors, is fit for the cane plantation. Rich calcareous soils are covered with grass, which become a source of humus. The climate is ideal. Rainfall ranges between 1000-2000 mm and occurs in summer – the growing period. The period from December to April remains comparatively dry and cool when the cane ripens and harvesting is done. Dry ripening season increases the sucrose content and makes possible the transportation of cane in ox wagons which would have been otherwise difficult in muddy wet season. Cuba is a long narrow island, so the cane fields are not very far from the coast. It has one disadvantage that it is sparsely populated. So the labor is imported and the wage remains high. This is offset by the proximity of the market, short haulage to the coast and 4 to 8 ratoon crops.
Sugarcane is grown in all the island but the main producing regions are North of Holguin, Camagüey, Arch de Camagüey etc. Cuba produces about 10% of the world’s output of sugar.

Other Caribbean Areas

Puerto Rico turned its primitive subsistence agriculture to plantation farming after its sugar get a free access to the USA. Its economy is now based on sugarcane like Cuba’s. many other Caribbean islands, like Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad, have favorable climatic and soil conditions. Sugarcane plantation is expanding in these islands.


Sugarcane farming in Africa is no more an art but an industry. The prospects for sugarcane in African countries are very bright. The increase in supply is mainly because larger areas are brought under sugarcane cultivation. The farmers in the Tropical states of Africa, guided by better price realization have diverted more land for sugarcane. The area under sugarcane in the continent fluctuated depending upon the price realization by the farmers. There is a scope for improving the productivity of sugarcane from the present level of 80 tons/hectare. Attempts are being made to increase production in Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, and West African countries. Sufficient cane is also grown in Natal, Mauritius and Reunion. The islands of Mauritius and Reunion engage imported labor from China and India and export almost all the sugar they produce. The Union of South Africa produces the largest amount of sugarcane in Africa.


Sugar is an unique commodity in which tropical and temperature producers compete. Temperate countries being the main consumers and importers can protect their home sugar industry by tariff wall. The tropical producers have the advantage of producing sugar at a cheaper cost.
The world sugar trade was faced with the problem of low prices and surplus production in 1920. In 1930, Chardbourne Agreement was signed by several countries to restrict production, but increased production in countries caused its failure. In 1937, the International Sugar Agreement was signed by 22 producing and consuming countries. But the World War II, which followed, did not give sufficient time to the Agreement to works. However, on the basis of this, a fresh agreement was signed in 1953, which has been renewed several times.


The total world production of sugarcane is more than 1 billion metric tonne. Only 4-5% of refined sugar enters the world trade market, nearly ½ of it from the Americas. The major produce of sugarcane is Brazil, followed by India and Cuba. Despite being 3rd in overall production, Cuba leads all countries in the export of sugar. Until 1960, its chief market was the USA. After that former USSR, China and the East European countries have become its chief market.
Australia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Mauritius, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Peru and Poland are other important exporters.


The USA is the leading importer of sugar in the world, followed by the former USSR, Britain, Japan, Canada and France.

Trade of Pakistan

Pakistan achieved self-sufficiency in sugar throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. due to increase in sugar consumption and decline in the consumption of Gur in rural areas, Pakistan has been importing sugar since 1984-85. The imports bill of sugar reached Rs. 551 million in 1994-95, and Rs. 35 million till March 1995-96.
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Rice makes up the genus Oryza, of the family Gramineae. Common rice is classified as Oryza sativa. Rice is an annual crop with stalks from 3 to 6 ft. high. The number of grain in the head varies from 30-100 and in some cases upto 400, each enclosed in a hull. About 40% of the world’s population depend upon rice as their staple diet, and in this respect rice is equaled only by wheat. In production, rice is second only to wheat among the agricultural products. Rice is largely carbohydrate but is low in protein and fat. Thus it forms an unbalanced diet.


All authorities accept monsoon Asia as the home of rice, but the exact place of its origin is not known. Most of research works give this credit to either Southeast Asia or India. Ancient records reveal that this grain crop was being cultivated in India and China in 3000 BC. The Greeks, during the reign of Alexander-the great, brought the seed from India to their home. In China, rice was used in a royal ceremony as early as 2800 BC. The Arabs introduced it in the Mediterranean lands, and the Malayans in Madagascar. In Egypt and other parts of northern Africa, rice was grown in early times, but was not in common use. In west Africa, Asian varieties of rice were introduced by the Portuguese. Before that west Africa used to grow indigenous varieties. After 1468, it was introduced at Pisa in Italy from where its cultivation spread to many other countries of Europe providing favorable conditions. In USA cultivation began in 1694. Rice was taken to the Americas from the Iberian Peninsula.


There thousands of varieties of rice but generally speaking, there are two main types;

Upland Rice

The upland rice is grown on hills and high lands with heavy rainfall. Upland is rice sown without irrigation in the months of March and April and becomes mature within 5.5 to 6 months. Hence its harvesting taking place in September – October. This is a draught resisting type of rice. It is usually grown in the higher elevation and rugged topography. This variety of rice totally depends on natural rains for its water requirements.
It is generally grown in the system of Shifting Cultivation. The forest on the hill slopes are cleared and rice is sown. In a year or two, the land becomes depleted and a new forest is cleared. The yield is low and the quality inferior. That is why upland accounts for only 5% of the rice acreage. Its use is also confined totally to local consumption and does not enter into any sort of trade.

Lowland Rice

Lowland rice occupy 95% of the total rice acreage. Lowland rice requires a lot of irrigation water during its sowing and harvesting season. This variety of seed is firstly sown in small seed beds, entirely covered with water. When the plant becomes 12-13 cm in height, it is transplanted from the seed beds to larger fields. The transplantation is done mainly by women and children and the practice is referred to as Ropai. Rice is largely produced in the low, hot and heavy rainfall regions of southern China, Kampuchea, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan, Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sir Lanka and India. Heavy rainfall and high temperature throughout the growing season is essential for rice growth.
In monsoon Asia, small rice fields are found with low ridges to impound the rain or irrigation water. Hill slopes have been laboriously terraced and embankments have been built at their outer edges to hold water. In the USA, where the fields are large, contour levees have been built for the purpose. A special variety of rice, called Floating Rice, is grown in deeply flooded areas. It attains a height of 8-16 ft. and grows with the rising level of water.
Another variety is the post flood rice, e.g., Boro rice of Bangladesh. It is grown during the winter season in marshy areas. This rice is laboriously transplanted and irrigated.


Yield of rice varies greatly. In Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, yield is low (2000-2500 kg/hectare). On the other hand, China, Korea, USA and Japan produce more than 5000 kg/hectare.

----------------YIELD (Kg/Hectares)




Rice a cereal grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions. It requires high temperature. During the growing season, temperature should not be less than 70 oF. In regions, having less than 40” of rainfall, even more temperature is required. During ripening season, a temperature of 80 oF is required, but for a brief period.


It requires a large amount of moisture. Therefore, swampy places with abundant water, either of rain or river, are suitable for rice growth. The supply of moisture must be plentiful. It hardly thrives in areas where the rainfall is below 40” (1000 mm), except where irrigation is practised. The annual rainfall should not be less than 40”. Enough water is necessary during the growing season of 4-6 months. Before the crops begin to ripen, light and frequent showers of rain increase the yield of the crops. Rice is best grown in the fields where water can stay at certain stages of its growth. The quantity of water in the field should vary with its different stages of growth. During the germination of seeds, 2” are enough but when it grows to some height and the stem becomes strong, the field must have about 6” water. For 75 days, the rice fields should have 6” (150 mm) of slow moving water. The rice plants keep their heads bathing in the sun and their feet submerged in water. Experiments reveal that during floods, rice crop grows very rapidly and it is recorded that within 24 hours there is a further addition of 9” to the height of the stalk. It is also necessary that the flow of water should not be rough at any early stage, otherwise there is very possibility that tiny rice crops will be uprooted.
When the crops mature, less water is required, and during ripening season the field is almost dry to facilitate harvesting. In low lying areas of Bangladesh, it is generally seen that the field is flooded with water, even at the time of harvesting and it is done through small crude boats. There is a significant fall in yield of rice when matured rice crops are under water and ready reaping.
Rice is the crop of the region where rain comes in summer, but is not grown in the savanna lands where rainy season is too short. Neither it is produced in the equatorial region, where there is no dry season for harvesting. The monsoon presents the ideal conditions as summer hot and rainy season long.
The root of rice crop should remain submerged in water for a long time, therefore it is a crop of the level lands, like the river valleys and coastal plains. To secure this, hill slopes are laboriously terraced in China, Taiwan, Java, and other countries.


Rice is grown on different soils but alluvial soils are suitable for the rich growth of rice. Heavy, clayey sub-soil with water retaining capacity gives better result. An impervious sub-soil to allow free development of roots is very productive. The river plains with fertile silt at the tops and impervious clay bed blow are recognized as the best rice fields.


Economic conditions have combined with physical conditions to make Asia’s monsoon lands the main rice growing regions in the world. The majority of world’s population inhabits this area. The thick population is a boon for rice cultivation. In all stages of its cultivation – ploughing, sowing, weeding, harvesting, threshing and winnowing – a large number of labor is required as most of the work is done by hands. No tropical grain yields so large an amount of food as rice. Rice feeds more persons from one acre of land, so the Asian countries adopted to this crop to feed the thick population. Sowing is either done by broadcast or by transportation. The second method is most prevailing as it ensures higher yields. It involves the growing of small rice plants in nursery beds and their transplantation by hands to the fields. Two and even three harvests are possible from the same field in one season, if the conditions are favorable. In some parts of Bangladesh, rice is harvested thrice in a year to meet the local requirements of population.


The cultivators of Asia are indolent and conservative. They honor their past traditions and practices and rice cultivation being firmly entrenched in them, it is difficult to pursued them to change to any other profitable crop. They grow rice without intelligent selection of other profitable crops. They grow rice because this is the practice of the others now living and of many generation gone before. The argument with them for practicing other profitable crops is just like extracting sugar from a dried sugarcane. They have carried the practice of rice cultivation to far off lands whenever they have migrated, e.g., Mauritius, Madagascar, Trinidad, Jamaica, Guiana etc.



The bulk of rice is grown in the lands of Asia. All the river valleys from the Yangtze-Kiang to the Indus, and the coastal plains, from Korea to India are given to rice. Even the hill slopes have been utilized. They have been laboriously terraced and intelligently irrigated. The Yangtze-Kiang, Sikang, Mekong river, Menam, Irrawaddy (river in Myanmar), Salween (river in Tibet), Ganges and Indus have led down rich alluvium and also renew the soils every year. They are in many parts underlain by a clayey sub-soil and have thus attracted the rice cultivators. The rice production has made these valleys the most densely populated areas. But the best rice fields are located in the regions where the rivers meet the coastal plains.

Monsoon Lands of Asia

Monsoon Asia is the largest producer of rice in the world. Almost in every country of monsoon Asia rice accounts for more than 40% of the sown area. Important rice growing areas are China, Japan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The deltas of the mighty rivers of monsoon Asia specially noted for rice production. More than 75% of the cultivated lands of Bangladesh and 50% of Japan are given to rice cultivation.


China leads the world in the production of rice. Its production has been increased by 70% from 1948-52 to 1971-75 and by another 25% from 1980 to 1989. Rice is by far the most important, but wheat is increasing in its distribution and is the staple food of the north. Rice crop in China does not extend beyond 32o or 31o north latitude, and in general terms it is true that the rice belt of China extends south of this limit.
Rice is grown in most parts of China but the main rice growing area lies to the south of the Chinting Shan (Tsingting Shan) mountain range, which coincides well with 30 oC January isotherm and 750 mm (30”) annual isohyet. Within this region rice is the predominant crop and is grown on terraced hill slopes, undulating plateaus and flood plains.
There are, however, four principal areas of rice cultivation:
1. The Yangtze delta and central Yangtze lake plain;
2. The Szechwan Basin, particularly in the Chengdu plain;
3. The southern Kwangtung or Guangdong coastal plain, particularly in delta areas around Canton (Kwangchow or Guangzhou , new name); and,
4. South central Yunnan
Among the rice bearing regions, the first is the great valley of the Yangtze and its tributaries. In the upper it reaches in Szechwan the plain, Chengdu is favored in rice growing as in other commodities, and lower down the river, the valley bottom of Hwang Ho is largely devoted to the rice culture.
In China, about 95% of the total rice area is given to low land rice (Shui-Tao), and 5% to upland rice (Han-Tao) . a third type, Tsai-Sheng Tao, has the unique characteristic of producing two crops yearly from the same plant. It is a lowland rice which is sown in April and harvested in August. The land is then hoed and the second crop comes up from the same plant which is harvested in October.
The Yangtze valley is a crop region, where rice is grown in April and harvested in August or September. In the Kwangtung coastal region two crops are obtained. The first is sown in March and harvested in June or July; and the second is sown in late June or July and harvested in November or early December.
In many sections of central China where short growing season or deficient water supply permits only one crop, a second crop is obtained by inter-planting a late variety between rows of an early variety at the same time.


Rice is the chief crop and occupies about 50% of the tilled land in Japan. Japan is the only country in the world which eradicates wheat from its main islands. Rice is grown in all the prefectures (highest degree of excellence) of Japan. This underscores the pervasive nature of rice cultivation and its importance in the farm economy. Paddy is primarily a wet crop and is cultivated mainly in irrigated areas of areas with assured rainfall. Irrigated rice dominates the low alluvial filled valleys and coastal plains, and occupies 42% of the all arable land. Rice is grown on most of the coastal lowlands, river valleys and on the slopes wherever terracing is possible.
One seventh of the rice in Japan is grown in Kwanto-Hokkaido plain. Hokkaido is the northern most island where the rice is grown. The area of rice fields in Hokkaido is rapidly increased after 1900. The Northeast coast of Honshu has little rice because of unfavorable temperature in August, but on the pacific side, Kyushu and Shikoku produce two crops.
The industrial Japanese farmer takes great care of his rice fields. Elaborate irrigation arrangements, application of heavy doses of fertilizers at regular intervals, transportation and weeding have made rice culture a type of garden farming. Therefore, some of the highest yield of rice is obtained in Japan.


Bangladesh is only next to China, India and Indonesia in production of rice. Most of the rice is grown in the lowlands of Bangladesh, though a small quantity is also produced in the uplands of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Rice cultivation in Bangladesh is almost done without any manuring of the fields. It is only recently that green manuring or chemicals and fertilizers are being advocated. However, large areas of Bangladesh are subjected to annual river flood, resulting in considerable deposits of silt which help the land to regain fertility.
In Bangladesh three main types of rice are grown:
• Aus; sown in March-April and harvested in July-August;
• Aman; sown in June and harvested in Novembers-December; and,
• Boro; sown in January and harvested in April-May.
Aman is the chief crop and Boro has the least importance. Boro is mainly grown in Bil (marshy) areas and Aus on river levees. The methods of cultivation are primitive but new techniques are being introduced.


India is the second largest producer of rice in the world. Rice is by far the most important crop in India, from the point of hectareage and the number of people it supports. Except China, India produces and, perhaps, consumes also the larget amount of rice in the world. 40” (1000 mm) annual isohyet demarcates the western boundary of the main rice growing area.
The Ganges-Brahmapatra Valley and the coastal plains are the principal rice regions. Most of the Indian supplied from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Orissa, Madhy Pradesh and Karanatka. Generally speaking, about 1/3rd of the total crop is contributed by the two states, Bengal and Tamil Nadu; while Bihar and Orissa contribute about another 1/3rd.
Lowland rice constitutes the bulk of Indian production. Upland variety is grown mostly in the Chota Nagpur Plateau and Assam. Rice is transported and also sown broadcast.
Rice is considered generally as a winter crop in India as over whole of the country it is harvested mainly from November to January. The sowing lasts from April to August for most of the varieties grown in India. But in the main rice producing areas of Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Orissa and Tamil Nadu, there are autumn and summer crops of rice as well. The rice season in Tamil Nadu varies greatly. The first crop is sown between May and December and gathered from September to April. The second crop is sown between October and March and harvested between January and June. While the greater part of the crop is wet rice, dry rice is grown in plateau and Himalayan slopes, and in recent years this crop has shown a tendency to increase.
Although India ranks 2nd among the rice producing countries, the yield per hectare is low. The methods of rice cultivation are some of the most primitive in the world and hence the yield is very low.


Rice is the second principal food crop of the people. It is an important food as well as commercial crop. It occupies about 10% of total cropped area. Pakistan produces considerable quantity of rice. On an average, 1/3rd of the production is exported every year. The rice areas are located in the Indus valley.
The government of Pakistan is taking effective steps to increase the yield production, quality and export of rice. Research efforts are continuing on developing high yielding Basmati and Irri varieties. Emphasis is also being laid on agronomic research, as well as on improved extension services, fertilizer use, direct seeding etc. The flow of inputs and credits is also being substantially increased. Spray is also provided to the rice cultivators at subsidized rates.


-------------(000 Hec.)---(000 Tons)----(Kg/Hec.)

1955-56-------1275-------270.00-------- 212.00

Southeast Asia

Rice is an important crop of southeast Asia, though its relative importance varies from country to country. Rice is cultivated in Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. In Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines, rice comes in competition with plantation crops like rubber, tea, sugarcane, coconut and others. The rice industry is the second most important economic activity in terms of labor employment and land utilization. Burma is an important producer. In Tenasserim Coast (Burma) and many other parts, two crops of rice are raised. In the rich alluvial valleys of the Irrawaddy River in Burma, the Menam in Thailand and the Mekong in Indonesia, natural conditions favor rice production.
In most areas of Southeast Asia, rice is a summer crop, but in Red River delta, a winter crop is also harvested because of rains in the winter season. In Java and some other islands of Indonesia, two crops are grown in a year taking advantage of both southwest and northeast monsoons.
The chief areas of rice concentration southeast Asia are the coastal plains, river valleys and deltas. In Java, terraced rice fields are found on slopes upto an altitude of 3500 to 4000 ft. Irrigation is widely practised for rice cultivation in Southeast Asia, but mostly the flood water is utilized for the purpose. In the valleys of Menam, Mekong and Red River (Vietnam), canal irrigation is also practised.


Asian migrants have carried rice to far off lands, such as Madagascar and Mauritius. The Arabs introduced it in the Mediterranean lands and the Europeans into the Americas.



In Madagascar, rice occupies 3/4th of the cultivated acreage. Two rice crops are grown in the irrigated lowlands during winter, and in the highlands during the rainy summer season. The yield is low. The highland is self-sufficient in rice and exports a small quantity of quality rice.


After wheat and maize, rice is the 3rd major cereal crop of Egypt. Its production is confined in the delta region, particularly in the newly reclaimed marshy lands. Because of the great demand of water, rice acreage is strictly controlled by the government. Egypt is noted for high yields of rice about 6,000 kg/hectare.


Italy and Spain are the major European countries where rice cultivation is carried on. In Spain, the chief areas of production are the coastal plains along the Mediterranean and the delta of the Ebro River. In Italy, the Po Valley is the chief region. Irrigation is extensively practised. The yields of rice in the Mediterranean Europe are high. Rice is also grown in Portugal, and Greece. It is also cultivated in the Danubian Plain of Hungary and in some areas of France.



In USA, rice cultivation was introduced in South Carolina towards the close of 17th century. From there it migrated southward, and westward, and today it is well-established in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and California. Louisiana is leading state in rice production.
Like other grain crops, rice cultivation is a mechanized operation in USA. Rice grows in large fields. Sowing and spreading of fertilizer and chemicals for weed control by aeroplanes is now a common feature, otherwise grain drill or broadcast seeder is used. For harvesting and threshing, combines are generally used. In most areas, power driven pumps lift water from streams into irrigation canals, while in some areas, artesian wells are used.

Latin America

In Latin America, rice is produced in many countries namely Mexico, Cuba, Columbia, Peru, Brazil and others. Of them, Brazil is the leading producer. Rice is produced in many parts of Brazil, particularly in Sao Paulo, and Rio Grande de Sul.

North America

North America grow about 5% of the world’s rice. In North America, the tropical states and the Piedmount regions are the chief producers of rice. Rice is, however, cultivated to some extent in the canal irrigated areas of Sacramento Valley.


The bulk of rice is produced in Asian countries of subsistence economy. Therefore, international trade in rice is limited to about 5% of the total production.


Before World War II, India, Japan, China and Indonesia, which formed the species of rice growing triangle in Asia were the main importers. Burma, Thailand and Vietnam, which formed the heart of that triangle were the main exporters. The exporting countries were not large producers of rice but had considerable surplus because they were relatively, thinly populated. During 1936-40, they accounted for 64% of the world rice export, but produced only 12% of the world rice.
The World War II completely disrupted the pattern of world trade in rice. Japan over-ran the surplus areas of Southeast Asia. There production became so low that it was difficult for them to meet their own needs. In the vacuum, thus created, Brazil and Egypt stepped in. Soon after the war, the reconstruction started. Conditions since then have improved considerably. Burma regained the leading position in rice export and continued to hold their position since 1963. After that it exports registered a steady decline. Thailand commanded leading position in rice export for a short period (1964-66) and then settled down to the second position. It has again emerged as the leading exporter. Vietnam, Pakistan and China are other important exporter in Asia.
USA is the world leader in rice export outside Asia. It acquired this position in 1967. Rice in the USA is primarily produced for export. Egypt, Italy, America and Brazil are other important exporters outside Asia.


Asia not only leads in production and export of rice, but in its imports also. Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong are heavy importers. In these countries rice is a staple food. Rice production in these countries except in Hong Kong, is considerable but it is not sufficient to feed their large population.
Former USSR, UK and Cuba are other important importers. Recently the Gulf states have emerged as importers to meet the needs of rice eating migrants.

Pakistan’s Trade

Rice is an important export of Pakistan and an important source of foreign earnings. Pakistan exports a huge quantity of rice. In 1995-96, 1,015,347 tons export of rice amounted to 334.8 million dollars. The important importers of Pakistani rice are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Brazil and Iran.
Pakistan has virtually monopoly in the trade of Basmati rice. The major market for Basmati rice is the Middle East. The Irri rice has a less export potential. Sir Lanka and Bangladesh, the main importers of Irri rice, are now becoming self sufficient in rice production.

Year-------Value (million Rs.)-------Quantity (million tons)
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Wheat is the most valuable of all the grains and is the main foodstuff of the white-races. Different varieties exist according to local conditions. Broadly speaking, it is a product of the Temperate Zone. Wheat is the most important commercial grain in temperate lands of the world. Most people prefer it as a staple (essential) food. Wheat is very important as a human food because it provides daily bread to large population.
Wheat has been derived from a number of species of Triticum. The home of major wheat species is Northwest Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Anatolian Plateau and Abyssinia. The common bread wheat (Triticum Vulgare) probably originated in northwestern part of Pakistan and southern Afghanistan and from there it has spread over other parts of the world. In Americas and Australia, wheat was carried by the Europeans in the 16th century.
Except the humid lands of monsoon Asia, wheat forms the major foodstuff of the rest of the world. It has better food value than rice. Wheat cultivation demonstrates different types and methods of farming. It is an item of;
1. intensive farming in Northwest Europe;
2. extensive farming in temperate grasslands;
3. subsistence farming in India;
4. modern and highly mechanized farming in USA, Canada and Australia;
5. dry farming in semi-arid lands of North America and Soviet Asia; and,
6. by irrigation in Pakistan and Egypt.


Wheat is grown under varies conditions. It is produced in hot Arabia and cold Siberia. But this does not mean that it can resist extremes of heat, cold and drought alike.


During the period of vegetative growth, it requires a cool climate. Places having temperature of 15 oC or more in the coolest month are generally unsuited for the production of wheat. So wheat is essentially a temperate crop and is absent from the equatorial lands. At the time of ripening and harvesting, the temperature should be above 14 oC, the poleward limit of wheat cultivation is set by 15 oC isotherm from the warmest month. That is why, wheat cultivation is not carried on in Canada – north of Lake Winnipeg - and in the Arctic regions of Siberia.


Wheat does not thrive in moist lands. Places where the annual rainfall exceeds 1125 mm (45 inches) are not suitable for its cultivation. This explains that why wheat cultivation is not common in Southeast Asia. The minimum rainfall required during growing period is 500 mm (20 inches) in warm lands like Pakistan and 250 mm (10 inches) in cool lands like Canada. But the rains must come during the period of growth and sunny conditions should prevail at the time of ripening and harvesting. If rain comes late, fungus diseases develop, pests attack the grain and water rots the crop. Hence regions enjoining the Mediterranean type of climate can be said to have ideal conditions for wheat cultivation. The climatic requirements have made wheat a winter crop in warm lands. It is sown in winter and harvested in spring or early summer. In lands where winter is very severe, it is a spring crop, sown in spring and harvested in late summer.


Wheat is known to grow on poor sandy soils, but it does best in the well-drained clayey loam having plenty of humus. Hence the dark colored, Chernozems of the temperate grass lands are the most suitable soils. It also gives a good return in adjoining chestnut brown soils. The volcanic soils and the wind carried Loess are other suitable soils.


Wheat production is also regulated by economic factors:

Price pressure affects the cultivators’ choice the in producing the particular type of crop. Wheat production in Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium is ousted by price consideration of many other crops. For example, it is more profitable for the cultivator of these regions to grow rye, barley and oats to feed the cattle, maintained for dairy products. Dairy products are more profitable than the wheat.
In semi-arid lands, it is comparatively cheaper to grow wheat. Vast stretches of flat to rolling are available on which the tractors and combines can be used. Agriculture has been so highly mechanized that the giant machines cut, thresh, clean, sack, and weigh the wheat, untouched by the human hands. The soil being rich, requires little fertilizer. These lands situated at some distance from the densely populated regions, produce crops which can be easily transported.
Wheat fortunately is the easiest grain to be handled and has good keeping qualities. It can be shipped months after its harvest. All these factors have combined together to make wheat the main crop of temperate grasslands of Canada, Argentina, Australia and the USSR. Though the yield/hectare is low in these lands, ranging between 1,500 to 2,500 kg. UK, Germany, France and Netherlands have comparatively much higher yield.



Four wheat growing/producing regions are important in Europe.

Northwest Europe

The 15 oC July isotherm marks the northern limit of wheat in Northwest Europe. In the south, it merges into other wheat growing regions. In western Britain, 1000 mm (40 inches) of annual rainfall sets the western limit. Mixed farming is practised because the pressure on land is heavy. Wheat is grown in rotation with other crops. Heavy machinery is not used, yet agricultural methods are not primitive. Price of land is high and fertilizers are used extensively. Population is dense and industrial centers are many. Therefore, much of the land is given to vegetable growing and growing of feed and pasture for cattle. Hence non of the countries in northwest Europe except France is self sufficient in wheat, which forms the main diet.
France is the leading producer of wheat in northwestern Europe followed by UK and West Germany. France is the 6th largest producer of wheat in the world.

Mediterranean Lands

The Mediterranean lands have an ideal climate for wheat with rains falling in winter, the growing season, and dry season permitting ripening and harvesting. But the amount of rainfall is variable. So the yield fluctuates from year to year. Most of the Mediterranean are rugged and eroded. Hence large areas cannot be given to wheat cultivation. Italy is the main producer with Po Valley as the principal region. Former Yugoslavia and Spain are next in importance. In Spain, wheat is grown in the interior plateau. Greece is another important producer.

Southeastern Europe

Southeastern Europe is a winter-wheat regions and embraces parts of former Czechoslovakia and Austria, and all of Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Wheat is produced mainly in major plains, which have deep alluvial and often loessial (wind blown) soils. The climate is continental as compared to northwestern Europe. Annual precipitation varies from 500 to 625 mm (20-25 inches) but the variability is considerable. The yield of wheat also varies from year to year and is generally low. The protein content of wheat is, however, high. These strong wheat are, therefore, in good demand in Western Europe.


The wheat belt of former USSR extends from the Ukraine to Central Siberia. Winter wheat is grown in the Ukraine in North Caucasus area and spring wheat Volga Siberian region. Rainfall in wheat belt is dangerously low highly variably. Draught, as those of 1921, 1936 and 1946, causes considerable damage. Major irrigation projects around the Caspian and Black Sea have been taken up recently.
The former USSR wheat belt is a vast plain with deep Chernozem or Chestnut brown soils. Large scale machine agriculture is possible in areas like this. Under collective farming, large wheat farms called Kolkhozey have been created after 1929. Wheat farming has been mechanized with tractors, harrows, drills and combines.
With a production of over 90 million tons, the former USSR, the world’s second leading wheat producing nation after China, grew about 16% of total world population in 1989. Even at the level of production the country has a growing wheat deficit that requires greater quantities of imports. The yield per hectare is, however, low but the wheat is excellent with a high protein content.
Wheat accounts for about half of the total grain production in the USSR, and about 90% of food grain production. Winter wheat predominates in the Ukraine, but farther east spring wheat must be grown because of the severe winters. Nearly all of the Soviet crop is hard wheat.


The wheat growing areas of Asia stretch outward from the rice belt. Several areas are particularly important.

East Asia

China, the leading producer of wheat in Asia, became the largest producer in the world in 1987. In the Yangtze Valley, both rice and wheat are grown and to its north wheat becomes the dominant crop, 1250 mm (50 inches) annual isohyet is generally taken to be the southern limit of wheat cultivation in China. Both spring and winter wheat are grown. The north China plain, the Loessial Highlands of northwest China, the Yangtze Delta and the Szechwan Basin are the areas of concentration.
Wheat, although only a subsidiary crop in the south is grown all over China. Chinese regions are divided as follows:

Winter Wheat-Kaoliang Region

Most of the wheat areas in China lie in northern China between Kokonor, Tsinghai, and Honan. The shorter winter and longer growing season have made the northern plain of China, the traditional area of winter wheat and kaoliang (sorghum). Winter wheat is sown in October, often inter-planted with rapeseed, and harvested in June.

Winter Wheat-Millet Region

Loess plateau (soil type) is important for winter wheat and millet crops. The area of farming without irrigation, extending to east Kansu, narrows to the northeast as rainfall decreases and the season grows shorter. In the valleys and basins, wheat is grown in winter and kaoliang and maze in summer.

Spring Wheat Region

This is the marginal belt extending from east to west and following the Mongolian border. The January mean temperature is below –10 oC. Precipitation does not reach 500 mm (20 inches) except in the marginal areas, and it decreases and highly unpredictable as one goes westwards. Spring wheat is sown in early May and reaped in September. Wheat accounts for no more than 1/10th of the total grain crop. Sesame, rapeseed and millets are also grown.

Yangtze Rice and Wheat Region

This is the southern most wheat growing region. The growing season lasts for 12 months and wheat is favorite winter crop. The rainfall is mostly over 1000 mm (40 inches) and is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, though still with summer maxima. Wheat is winter crop in Yangtze Valley. Winter wheat, barley, rapeseed, soybean, sesame are sown in October and generally need some irrigation.
Japan and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are other producers of wheat in East Asia.

South Asia

Pakistan and India are the major producers of wheat in South Asia. Wheat is a winter crop in Pakistan and India. It is generally sown in November and harvesting in early spring. Wheat is mostly grown outside the hot humid areas of rice production.


Wheat is the second most important crop in India and comes only next to rice. India is the forth largest producer of wheat in the world and second in Asia. Indian share to the world wheat production is around 10%, while the area under cultivation is 11% of the total area of the world under wheat cultivation. Punjab, Haryana, western UP, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujrat and Bihar states are chief producers of wheat in India. The Sutlej-Ganga plain with its fertile, alluvium-loamy soil, its moderate rainfall; its cool winter and abundant irrigation facilities easily occupy an important place in wheat producing areas.
It is only in western Bihar that both rice and wheat are important crops. East of this area, rice dominates and west of it, wheat is predominant. The upper Ganges Valley, Indus Valley and northwestern Deccan are the main areas of wheat production. In the first two regions, extensive canal irrigation is practised. In the foothills of Himalayas, the winter rainfall is enough to raise the a crop without irrigation. In northwestern Deccan, the average annual rainfall varies from 500-1000 mm (20-40 inches) mostly coming in summer. But in regur soils, which are retentive of moisture, wheat is grown without irrigation.


Pakistan is the 4th largest producer of wheat in Asia and 8th in the world. The bulk of wheat is grown in the Indus plains.
The wheat is the principal food crop of the people. It occupies an important position in farming policies. The share of wheat in total cropped area is about 40%. The area under wheat crop was 8,367,000 hectares and wheat output 17.5 million tons in 1995-96.
The area and yield of wheat has gradually increased in Pakistan due to introduction of new wheat varieties, improved agronomic practices, increased water availability and improved water use efficiently, greater use of fertilizers, wide spread use of mechanical implements, better storage facilities, and a supporting price policy.

Year-------Area (000 hec.)---Production (000 ton)--Yield (kg/hec.)
1998-99 ------15500.00-----------------------------Expected

Southwest Asia

Southwest Asia and the adjoining parts of Pakistan are the home of wheat. It is still the main crop of the area and chief diet of the people. Wheat is a winter crop in plain areas and a spring crop in some higher lands like, the high valleys of Zagros (southwestern Iran) and Elburz (northern Iran), and the Anatolian Plateau.
Large area of southwest Asia are either too rugged or too dry for crop production. Wherever agriculture is possible, first preference among the cereals is given to wheat and in areas too dry for wheat, barley is the chief crop.
Turkey (3rd in Asia, 7th in world) leads the region in wheat production, where it is grown mostly in scattered areas on plateaus and valleys of central Anatolia. Substantial amount of irrigated wheat is grown in the valleys of Tigris (Kurdistan) and Euphrates (Kurdistan). The wheat fields of Jordan, Israel and Syria are located in the central plain and largely depend upon winter rainfall.
In Iran, the wheat regions are scattered in areas where irrigation is possible. The important areas are the Meshed Region of Khorasan province, the valleys of northwest and central Zagros and better water parts of Khuzistan.

North America

North America, with its fertile soils, its moderate rainfall, its cool winters, and abundant irrigation facilities, easily occupied the largest share in the world wheat heritage. Today, the Great Plains produce a large wheat crop every year.
Wheat production in North America dates back from the 17th century in the Atlantic Sea board of the USA. From there, it began to migrate westward with the opening of the new frontiers. It had crossed the Mississippi River by 1840, and by 1859 California was the leading state in wheat production. Today wheat in America has reached the physical features and is grown in areas best suited from physical and economical point of view. Climate limits the area of wheat production and soils, topography and economic factors determine the distribution within these limits.
The northern boundary of wheat cultivation in North America is the 90 days frost-free line, and the southern boundary is the 20 oC isotherm for the spring season. Within the broad belt, determined by temperature, wheat is grown in areas with minimum annual precipitation of 250 mm (10 inches) in the north and 375 mm (15 inches) in the south.
The wheat area of North America can be broadly grouped into the following regions according to the productivity and types of wheat:

Spring Wheat Belt

The spring wheat belt extends from the northern states of USA, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota to the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The regions comprising Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montana, north and South Dakota, Nebraska and Minnesota, have only one single spring crop of wheat, which can be grown from March-April to September-October. It is the single largest commercial wheat producing region. Its importance can be judged from the fact that it called the “Bread Basket” of the world.
It is a monotonous (dull) flat plain carved by the filling up of the old lake Agassiz. The soil is rich Chernozem, the best for wheat. The rainfall ranges between 375 to 510 mm, and fortunately it falls in spring and early summer when it is needed the most. The water derived from the melted snow also compensates for the low rainfall. As the winter is severe, spring wheat is grown. The growing season in northern parts is short, only 90 days. Long summer days are 15 to 18 hours and planting of varieties requiring a short growing season have greatly over come this handicap. Agriculture is highly mechanized. The area is well-served with transportation facilities for sending wheat outside. Spring wheat of red variety is most important but other crops are also grown. The Red Valley of Canada and Dakotas of USA are the most productive areas of this belt.

Hard Winter Wheat Belt

To the south of the spring wheat belt, there is a narrow belt in which there is no wheat cultivation as the summer is too hot for the spring wheat, and the winter is too cold for the winter wheat. Moving south of this belt, one enters into the Winter Wheat Belt which continue upto the northern part of Texas.
The hard winter wheat belt in Western Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska portion of the corn, and winter wheat climate region and extend well into the regions of temperate grassland climates. Its eastern limit is set by the Flint Hills and western limit by 375 mm (15 inches) annual isohyet. About 20% land is under plough.
Except that the wheat is a winter crop here, other agricultural conditions are similar to the spring wheat belt. Corn, barley, sorghum, oat and hay are also grown.

Soft Winter Wheat Belt

Soft winter wheat extends from the east of the Flint Hills and culminates at the Appalachian Mountains. To south lies Cotton Belt where wheat looses its importance owing to the high summer rainfall. This is not so rich as that of the spring wheat belt. Corn competes with wheat.
This wheat belt is found in northeastern US and extends into the eastern plains of Canada. Wheat is grown in almost all the states of this but its cultivation is mostly concentrated in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia to southward upto Georgia. Wheat grown there is of inferior quality. For good bread, hard wheat is required.

Columbia Plateau Wheat Region

Columbia plateau is an area with rainfall below 250 mm (10 inches), so it is well adopted to Dry Farming Methods. The water absorbs in the soils, for two to three consecutive years, is used in the subsequent year. The moderate temperature also compensates for the scanty rainfall. The greater advantage enjoyed by the region is the presence of wind blown fertile soils (loessial). The plateau was once covered with grass, so the soil is rich in humus. Heavy machinery is used and the railway carry the grain to Seattle or Portland on the western coast.
This area comprises Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Western Alberta and Columbia Plateau. Palouse Area is most important producer.

California Wheat Belt

Wheat is grown in almost all the northern regions of California but its cultivation is mostly concentrated in Sacramento river valley, deltas and low lying coastal areas of northwestern and southern California. White variety of wheat is popular in this belt.

Canadian Wheat Belt

The three Canadian Prairie Provinces; Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta account for the 3/4th of Canadian farmland and for most of the wheat production. This producing area represents the extension of the US spring wheat belt. Saskatchewan is by far Canada’s bread basket, accounting for 2/3rd of total wheat output; Alberta is the second. Canadian wheat production occurs in a more isolated setting than that of the USA or any other major exporting nation, such as France, Australia or Argentina.

South America

South America normally stands 4th among the world producers of wheat. Argentina is the largest producer of wheat in South America. Here are the world’s largest surplus wheat growing region. Situated between Pampas and Grand Chaco.
The wheat crescent of the Pampas (Argentina) accounts for over 50% of South American wheat. An annual rainfall 400 mm (16 inches) marks its western boundary while the eastern limit is set by heavy summer rainfall and swampy ground conditions. Within the wheat belt, rainfall ranges between 400-900 mm (16-36 inches), most of which falls in the growing period. Harvesting season is warm, sunny and dry. The loess-like soils of the region are very fertile, rich in humus and easily worked. The extensive use of farm machinery on the flat lands makes possible the production of cheap wheat, though the yield is low, 1176 lbs./acre. The area is covered with network of railways which lead to the ports of Buenos Aires, Bahia Blanca, and Rosario (eastern Argentina). Most of the wheat lands are within 200 miles from the shipping ports.
The other notable regions in South America are south Brazil and central Chile. The cool wet winter and dry warm summer is ideally suited for wheat production. But the small areas of level land restrict the expansion of wheat cultivation.


Australia is the leading producer of wheat in Oceania. No country depends so much on wheat as Australia, where more than 2/3rd of the crop land is given to wheat. The average annual production of wheat in Australia is 14 million tons (1989 figure).
The main wheat region in Australia extends in a crescent form, from the back slopes of New South Wales, through the Murray-Darling Basin in southeastern Victoria to southeastern part of south Australia. A secondary center has been developed in Swanland, western Australia. This belt is 50-100 miles in land, and extends for about 450 miles from north to south and 30-120 miles from west to east.
The wheat belts are located in regions where the rainfall during growing season, October to April is 250-500 mm (10”-20”). Winter temperatures are not severe to cause moisture deficiency. The winter season is followed by a hot, dry summer, which helps quick ripening and an un-interrupted harvesting. Wheat lands have a rolling topography and productive soils, rich in potash and nitrogen. There is some deficiency of phosphate, which is made up artificially. Rolling topography and large size of wheat farms, some of them several thousand acres, permits the use of machinery. Low density of population makes their use a necessity. So the wheat farms are highly mechanized. On most farms, sheep are raised. The wheat lands are rotated with pasture.


Three regions are notable for wheat production in Africa:
The leading region of wheat production extends along the coastal plain of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Inland wheat acreage decreases with decreasing rainfall. Annual isohyet of 350 mm may be taken as the inland boundary of the wheat belt barley becomes important.
Egypt is the second important area of wheat production in Africa. The rainfall here becomes too low for crop production without irrigation. So irrigation is extensively practised. The main wheat area is in the delta, though some amount is also produced in upper and middle Egypt. Not only in area, but in wheat output also, Egypt ranked first in Africa. Its yield per hectare is comparatively low. After cotton, wheat is the most important crop grown in Egypt, which is sown in autumn and harvested in summer or spring.
Union of South Africa is the third region, which has been gaining importance since the last 2 decades. The wheat areas are located around the Cape and in the High Veldt. Rainfall is low and yields vary considerably from year to year. Some wheat is grown under irrigation. The agricultural practices are generally primitive but mechanization is in progress at a rapid pace.
Other areas of wheat production in Africa are Southwest Africa and Zimbabwe. Wheat is practically absent in tropical Africa. The least important states for wheat in Africa are those lying in tropical and sub-tropical climate in south of the equator.


Wheat is one of the important grains in international trade. Over a 5th of the total world production of wheat enters world market. Most of the wheat is exported from the granaries of the temperate grasslands and imported by the industrialized countries of northwestern Europe, except France and densely populated countries of Asia.


The USA, Canada, Australia, France and Argentina are the major exporters. In these countries, except France, yield per acre is low but the yield per man is high on account of low density of population.
The USA has become the leading exporting country in the world after World War II. The USA export trade is backed largely by expanding technology and foreign trade program. India,. Japan, Brazil and Pakistan are important importers.
Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of wheat in world. Its home consumption is low. The inland location of wheat land is compensated-for by the low production cost and the preference given by Britain. Wheat moves to Lushun (Port Arthur) and Thunder Bay (Fort Williams) and thence to New York for shipment. Churchill on the Hudson Bay has diverted some wheat trade. Montreal has not gained importance. Vancouver is Prince Rupert, the wheat ports on the western coasts are not very important. China, Britain and West Germany are its best consumers. In years of low production, the former USSR also imports heavily from Canada.
As compared to Canada and the USA, Australia and Argentina, wheat trade has the advantage of the shorter haulage to the sea ports. Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Fremantle handle the wheat exports in Australia; and Buenos Aires, Bahia Blanca and Rosario in Argentina. China has been the chief customer of Australian. Britain and Japan are the other major importers and the former USSR is an occasional importer of the Australian and Argentinean wheat.
Former USSR and France have emerged as the important exporters of wheat since 1951. The USSR largely exports to East Germany. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Cuba and Brazil. In years of bad crops, the USSR also imports heavily. The chief markets of French wheat are West Germany and Switzerland.


North Europe and some Asian countries are the chief importers of wheat. The densely populated, and highly industrialized and urbanized European countries are unable to produce enough wheat. Since World War I, nationalism and drive for self-sufficiency has considerably increased wheat production in this part of the world, particularly in France, Germany, UK and Italy. So much so that France is an exporter now.
China is the leading importer of wheat. India, Japan and Pakistan are the other importers of wheat in Asia. West Germany, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, East Germany, former Yugoslavia are important importers in Europe. Brazil is the chief importer in South America.

Pakistan Imports of Wheat

Year-------Import(000 tons)---Year-----Import (000 tons)
1984-85-------980.00-------1998-99-------5500.00 (Exp.)


Wheat has been classified into five kinds known as:
Drum Wheat; White Wheat; Hard Red Spring Wheat; Hard Red Winter Wheat; and Soft Red Winter Wheat.
Generally, winter wheat is known to be soft, and spring wheat is hard. Spring wheat is sown in the spring season and harvested in the months of July, August. It is rich in Gluten, which develops the body. Bread flour of the wheat is very nice. It is chiefly grown in the areas of extreme winter.
Drum wheat is very hard and is grown in the regions of small rainfall. Now it is becoming very popular due to its very high yield. It is largely used for making Macaroni because it is highly rich in gluten.
Winter wheat is rich in starch. It is highly used for pastry flour. It is a harvested in the months of June and July.
Color and quality of wheat differ from country to country. White wheat is found in Australia, red type is hard and found in American warm and dry lands; Mediterranean and Monsoon lands.


Under varying climatic conditions that the different countries enjoy, wheat is harvested at different times in different countries. Wheat is harvested throughout the year. It has been very nicely said that we have a perpetual wheat calendar.
1. India and Egypt – February to March
2. Japan, China, Iran, Mexico and Pakistan – April to May
3. Mediterranean Europe – June to July
4. Poland , USA and Canada – September to October
5. Sweden and Norway – September to October
6. Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa – November, December and January
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Rubber is the juice of latex of Hevea brasiliensis, a plant native of the Amazon Valley. Processed latex from wild South American trees first came into use in the 19th century as a water proofing subsistence and pencil eraser product. But rubber did not attain importance until the early 20th century when a huge demand was created by the automobile and bicycle tyre industries.
Rubber in the natural form is extracted from more than 300 varieties of trees, vine and shrubs, chiefly found in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The increasing use of rubber has increased its commercial value and its cultivation spread far and wide. Today more rubber is produced chemically than by agricultural methods.


Rubber is the juice or latex of Hevea brasiliensis a plant native of the Amazon Valley. It was discovered by Columbus in the form of elastic balls in the hands of American-Indian children. The Europeans learned that it can serve as eraser. But its real demand awaited the inventions of Mackintosh (1823) and Good Year (1839), which made possible the manufacture of rain-coats, boots and shoes. Later it was used as solid tyres on carriages and pneumatic tyres on bicycles. Today its most common use is in automobiles tyres and insular tubes.


The rubber tree is indigenous to Brazil. In the 19th century, the Brazilian government attempted to preserve its monopoly over the industry and banned the export of the plant. Nevertheless in 1886, an Englishman by the name of Henry Wickham successfully smuggled several thousand rubber seeds out of the country. He propagated the seeds first at Ken Gardens in London, and when he later planted them in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), he successfully launched the rubber industry in Asia. Within a short time, specially after N. H. Ridly (a botanist working in Singapore) discovered that prolonged tapping would not kill the plant, the rubber was introduced into Malaya and Indonesia.
In 1905, the year the first shipment of rubber was exported from Malaya, now called Malaysia, Brazil was producing 99% of the world supply. Today, Brazil accounts for less than 1%. Malaysia and Indonesia possessed a much efficient labor pool, easier access to ocean shipping and an environment for rubber growing that was equal to Brazil’s. It was only a matter of time before Southeast Asian countries came to dominate the industry.


Rubber is an equatorial plant and hence the ideal conditions are an uniformly high temperature and heavy rainfall throughout the year.
The primary rubber plant, Hevea brasiliensis, requires a hot, humid environment, where rainfall is no less than 70” and preferably atleast 100” and where average temperatures stay above 75o F. extremely high temperatures those above 95o F, usually desiccate the plant and discourage the flow of latex, the white liquid sap from which commercial rubber is made. The soil must be well drained, for rubber trees will trees will not grow with wet feet.


Rubber plantation thrives in the equatorial regions with an annual average temperature of 75o F. Higher temperature without high humidity is injurious. When temperature is high and humidity is less, the juice is dried up rapidly which results in the cessation of latex flow.


For high yield of latex, considerable rainfall is necessary. For optimum, annual rainfall should be about 2500 mm (100”) to ensure progressive growth of the rubber plants and constant flow of latex. Rainfall must be evenly distributed. Dry periods retard the growth of plants and reduce the juices, and wet periods are not desirable for harvesting of the crop.


Rubber trees may be grown on any type of soil, provided that the climate is favorable. But for optimum growth, fertile and loamy soil with the adequate provision of drainage is necessary because rubber plants do not grow with wet feet. Soils rich in nitrogen and phosphorus are ideal for rubber plantation. Shallow soils also give better results if provided with artificial fertilizers.


Rubber trees neither thrive on flat lands nor on steep slopes. The flat lands remain water soaked, so the trees suffer from foot rot and other fungus diseases. On steep slopes, owing to the rapid flow of waters the trees do not get sufficient moisture and the soil is washed away. So gentle slopes suits them the most. The windward slopes are always preferred as they attract moisture.

Disease Free Plantation

Rubber plants are victims of bacteria and fungal diseases. Young trees become easy victims of such diseases. Doth Idella is the most fatal disease in South America. Fungus disease affects the roots of rubber tree. It the trees are not treated, rubber production will be a problem and uneconomic.


Transportation, labor, capital, health, etc. seem to determine the location of rubber plantation within the Equatorial regions.
Rubber is grown in the tropics and sold in the temperate lands. A long distance exists between its place of production and market. Hence cheap and easy means of transportation are necessary. Equatorial lands being wet., swampy conditions prevail construction and maintenance of roads and railways are difficult. So river transportation is preferred which is easy and cheap. Location near the coast is preferred. One of the many reasons which has retarded the development of rubber plantation in the Amazon Valley and Congo Basin is their poor communication system. They also lie outside the main ocean routes.
Southeast Asia, which today dominates in the rubber plantation is visited by many ships from all parts of the world. Tropical South America is nearer to USA and Europe than Malaysia and Indonesia., yet it is cheaper to purchase rubber from Singapore than Taraguay, as the latter lies away from the busy ocean routes.


High density of population is another factor which has attracted the rubber planters to Southeast Asia. A large amount of labor is required to look after the young plants. Collect the latex and prepare rubber for shipment. The densely populated countries of China, India and Indonesia supply the bulk of labor. A few skilled engineers and administrators come from Europe.
Huge capital is required for the purchase and clearing of lands, and construction of houses, roads and railways. The return starts to come after 5 years. The capital comes from wealthy European countries an is invested in the tropical colonies.
Rubber is a thickened juice, known as latex, obtained from more than 300 kinds of plants. These different sources cause different varieties of rubber. Besides the different kinds of trees, the regions of the origin of rubber and methods of curing are also responsible for its several varieties.


Rubber is obtained from the juice of a variety of trees, vines and shrubs. The following plants are the main sources and of major variety:




South America




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