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Rajasthan Agriculture

Rajasthan Agriculture

 Though there are vast tracts of the desert in western Rajasthan, the ecological environment is semi-arid; in eastern Rajasthan, where rivers and a lush green cover are present, there is more rain, and the seasonal crops are plentiful. In these harsh climatic conditions, women tend to the cattle and their milking, while the elderly or the young take them out to pastures for grazing. In the past, when agriculture was a risky affair, it became necessary to raise cattle for survival, a tradition that has continued to grow, turning Rajasthan into one of the states that have benefitted from the 'white revolution'. It is the men who work in the fields. Since most have land holdings that are not too large, the use of mechanized farming methods is still not in prevalence, though tractors are sometimes hired at the time of sowing. For most part, the farmers use a method of ploughing that dates back thousands of years to the Indus Valley Civilization. Camels, and sometimes buffaloes, are used for pulling the plough.

While the majority of the farmers still wait for the rains to water their fields, a few have tube wells that provide the water, turning the desert into a lush oasis. Rajasthan's settlements don't have oasis that are typical of their counterparts around the world. Water is trapped into man-made ponds, but this is intended for daily use, and cannot be used for farming: it would not be enough, to begin with.

Three important crops grown here are wheat, corn grown here are wheat, corn and millets, with the last being used for baking breads in the villages, while those in larger towns show a preference for wheat flour. Pulses are another important crop, since this forms the basis of the lentils required for cooking meals. Sesame and groundnut are grown and are important sources of cooking oil. The land is still not used for growing vegetables other than crops of potatoes, and more recently, tomatoes. However, the waters of the Indira Gandhi Canal (Rajasthan Canal) is now helping in the cultivation of a handsome crop of citrus fruits, including tangerines, oranges and lemons. Fresh vegetables have not formed a part of the traditional cuisine of the state, therefore it is still not being grown. Dehydrated vegetables - sangri and gwarphali from the bean families, and kakri from the cucumber family - can be eaten when fresh, or stored for use in later months, and village diets still consume these. However, in recent years, with transport communications between towns, the availability of fresh vegetables in towns and cities has increased. Thorny bushes with ber fruits require little water, and these are plentiful. The state also has a large cultivations of watermelons, which is the perfect way of quenching one's thirst.

 

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