Intensive Farming in India – Basics, Techniques

Introduction to Intensive Farming in India: Agriculture farming requires a proper agricultural process to get the maximum output. Different types of farming practices have emerged to increase the productivity of agricultural land. Two such farming practices in agriculture are intensive farming and extensive farming. In this article, we discuss Intensive farming.

Intensive farming uses higher inputs and advanced agricultural methods to increase the overall crop yield. Intensive farming is also known as Intensive agriculture (as opposed to extensive farming). It is a type of agriculture, both crop plants, and animals, with higher levels of input and output per unit of agricultural land area. It is mainly characterized by a low fallow ratio, higher use of inputs like capital and labor, and higher crop yields per unit of land area. Then, this is possible through the high-level use of inputs such as capital, labor, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, weedicides, etc., which results in increased crop yield per hectare. In this intensive system, the use of inputs is comparatively higher than the land area. It can be applied in animal husbandry, wherein a large number of cattle are reared in a small space and medication for livestock is adopted to increase their productivity.

The essence of intensive agriculture is that it depends on chemicals to accelerate growth and increase crop yield. It is characterized by the higher use of inputs and is designed to produce higher crop yields. By using specific farming techniques, intensive farming can produce higher yields and achieve economies of scale, and is thus synonymous with industrial agriculture.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Intensive Farming in India

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Guide to Intensive Farming in India (Image credit: pixabay)

What is Intensive Farming?

Intensive farming is categorized as the intensive use of pesticides, fertilizer, and other production inputs for crops and medication as well as concentrated feeding for the animal stock. For this reason, intensive farming has helped improve the production of agriculture. On the contrary, it has also led to increased pollution and several environmental concerns. Intensive farming is the latest technique that results in enhanced yield and productivity. It is an agricultural method that aims at maximizing the output from a particular land. The method of supplying livestock also incorporates intensive farming.

Difference between Intensive and Extensive Farming

Intensive farming – In this farming, small farms are cultivated intensively using large inputs of manual labor and fertilizers. Usually, intensive farming more than one crop is cultivated in the same field.

Extensive farming – It is cultivated on large size farms with the help of machines and the input of labor per unit area is low. The emphasis is laid on increased production.

 Intensive farmingExtensive farming
MeaningIt is a high-level use of labor, in comparison to the land area.These large farms are being cultivated, with relatively lower inputs, i.e. capital and labor.
PopulationIt is practiced in densely populated regions.It is practiced in a moderately populated regions.
CropsThe main crops grown are rice and wheat.  The main crops grown are rice, wheat, sugarcane, etc.  
LandholdingSmall and expensiveLarge and inexpensive
FarmlandNear to the marketRemotely located
Per hectare outputLarge  Small  

Where is Intensive Farming Practiced?

Intensive farming in agriculture is known for high production per unit of land. Intensive farming agriculture is common in Thailand, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia as well as India.

Intensive farming of agriculture is prevalent in the high population density regions of south-east Asia, for example, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), China, Sri Lanka, Indo­nesia, etc. Also, densely populated Western Europe practices an Intensive type of agriculture. Though common in developing nations it is also visible in some rich countries like Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, etc.

Practiced areas of Intensive Farming in India;

Kerala, West Bengal, the coastal Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu farmers provide intensive wet paddy agriculture in India.

Intensive agriculture records high production per unit of land. The best example of intensive cultivation is in Japan where the availability of land for cultivation is limited. A similar kind of situation can be observed in Kerala in India.

Features of Intensive Farming

  • HYV seeds and modern inputs are used to increase agriculture production.
  • More than one crop is cultivated during a year and it is practiced in thickly populated areas.
  • The per hectare yield is very high.
  • In intensive farming, lands are divided into small parts. Animals like bulls, cows, goats, etc are reared. Bulls play an important role in performing farming operations such as ploughing.
  • Due to the small size of land, the use of some machines like tractors cannot possible. Therefore, farming operations depend on animals and human efforts. Because of the dense population manpower is available. Being labor-based agriculture, people get employment. Therefore, a large number of people depend on this type of agriculture.
  • Foodgrains, fruits, vegetables, and oilseeds are mostly cultivated in intensive types of farming. Rice, Wheat, Jowar, Bajra, etc are the major crop in areas where the climate is hot and moist with heavy rainfall. Rice farming is not possible in areas having low rainfall. Yield per hectare is high in intensive farming.
  • High Productivity – It is made to maximize productivity per unit of land. Productivity per unit of land is 3 times higher than extensive farming.
  • Low Per Capita Output – Labor is abundant and cheaper in this farming. So, the emphasis is not given to maximizing per capita productivity; instead, all efforts are given to maximizing production per unit area of land.

Basic Forms of Intensive Agriculture

The two basic forms of intensive agriculture are non-industrial and industrial. Both forms of intensive farming manipulate the landscape. Fertilizers are required because growing takes place in permanent fields. The type of fertilizers varies based on farming practices. Non-industrial agriculturalists use natural fertilizers such as animal dung. Industrial agriculturalists use chemical fertilizers.

Intensive farming in India uses large amounts of labor and capital relative to land area. Large amounts of labor and capital are essential for the fertilizer application, insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides for growing crops, and capital is important to the acquisition and maintenance of high-efficiency machinery for planting, and equipment where required. The optimal use of these machines produces greater crop yields per unit of land. Small-scale farmers employ a combination of intensive and extensive agriculture, and many of these operate close to markets.

Characteristics of Intensive Farming

Huge amounts of agrochemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, are applied generously to cropland. It involves high degrees of mechanization, from temperature controls in factory barns to enormous harvesting tractors and these machines replace what was once done by human labor.

Some other characteristics of Intensive farming include;

  • Large capital/finance requirements
  • Use of lots of agrochemicals (e.g. pesticides and fertilizer)
  • Improved varieties of crops and animals
  • Lots of surplus yield for sale
  • Use of modern techniques and machinery
  • Intensive farming is performed on huge plots of land
  • Reliance on skilled labor
  • Very high yields

Advantages of Intensive Farming in India

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Advantages of Intensive Farming in India (Pic source: pixabay)

High crop yield –Production of high crop yields is the main advantage of intensive farming. Satisfying market demands have been achievable through intensive farming.

It is more efficient – Intensive farmers utilize fewer farm inputs and, it is more efficient. Then, the requirements for equipment, space, and other inputs are less compared to the food produced per unit; it is more economical and efficient.

A sustainable supply of food – It offers the advantage of high crop productivity with the demand for food soaring across the world due to the ever-increasing number of human populations.

The other advantages of intensive farming are given below;

  • One of the fundamental advantages of intensive farming is that the crop yield is high.
  • With the help of intensive agriculture, supervision of the land becomes easier.
  • The entire process of intensive farming has become more economical.
  • Intensive farming methods are based on the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) guidelines. So, the resultant agricultural produce is affordable and healthy as well.
  • When applying intensive farming methods, a large output can be achieved and this results in farming-related economies of scale.
  • Intensive farming helps the farmer to easily supervise and monitor the land and also protect his livestock from being hurt by dangerous wild animals.
  • Some farm produce like vegetables, fruits, and poultry products have become less expensive by using intensive farming. Also, it aids in solving worldwide hunger problems to a great extent.
  • Large farming spaces are required to cultivate organic crops by using natural manure. Though, with the introduction of intensive farming, the space, equipment, and other requirements for farming are less and more economical.

Intensive Farming Techniques

There are different intensive farming techniques;

Factory Farming

Generally, factory farming involves intensive farming of livestock in confinement. The farm functions as a factory for raising animals for meat, milk as well as eggs for commercial use. Though, the animals are forever kept in closed confined areas like cages and crates. Then, they are not allowed to carry on with their natural behaviors like foraging or exploratory nature. Their life span is reduced due to the poor living conditions in which these animals are kept.


Cultivation of fish, shellfish, algae, seaweed, etc. under controlled conditions is called aquaculture and it is also called aquafarming. It involves the use of tanks or systems that help in boosting the production of aquatic yields. Though, this farming is causing extensive damage to the ecosystem as there is an increase in completion between the farm animals and the wild animals. It is the farming of marine animals including fish, algae, and other organisms even octopus are considered for intensive farming.


Intensive farming aims to get maximum yield from the available land. This technique is also applied in supplying livestock. Food is produced in large quantities with the help of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are appropriately used to save such agricultural land from pests and crop diseases under this technique. Some products like eggs, meat, and other agricultural items that are easily available in many supermarkets today are produced using modern intensive farming methods.

The term livestock refers to those individual animals that have no choice but to endure life on farms. Intensive livestock farming takes place within Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, is also known as factory farms, and these are places of great tragedy. Some species such as cows, pigs, chickens, and sheep are the usual targets for intensive operations, with many species kept indoors their entire lives. It can keep livestock in smaller pens with regulated temperature levels. This reduces the energy they need for movement and temperature regulation and so maximizes their size and also yield. They are fed antibiotics in their food to prevent diseases.


Mono-cropping is defining the main feature of intensive plant agriculture. Intensive crop farming is a modern method of farming that refers to the industrialized production of crops. It includes innovation in agricultural machinery, genetic engineering technology, the creation of new markets for consumption, and global trade. Then, these methods are widespread in developed nations.

Disadvantages of Intensive Farming

  • A large number of fertilizers and pesticides are used and may result in increased pollution. Overcrowding of livestock is also another disadvantage of intensive farming.
  • Intensive farming has an effect on the environment and excessive use of fertilizers also contaminates water bodies like rivers and lakes etc.
  • Intensive farms are more pollutants in general due to more chemicals being used in smaller areas.
  • Chemical pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers are used during intensive agriculture.
  • Livestock is living in cramped and dirty conditions leading to some infections and diseases.
  • Livestock and poultry are given growth hormones and then pass to humans who consume meat and poultry products.

Commonly Asked Questions about Intensive Farming

Is intensive farming ethical?

Intensive farming agriculture is less ethical than free-range farming due to poorer animal welfare. Domesticated animal welfare improvement involves increased costs and an expensive initial payment is needed from the farmer, as free-range requires more land.

Why intensive farming is expensive?

It is expensive as the farmer tries to get the maximum field from small land using hybrid seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, some agricultural equipment, etc.

Why do we need intensive farming?

One of the advantages of intensive farming is that the farm yield is very high. With the help of intensive agriculture, supervision of the land becomes easier.

Why is intensive farming most common in India?

In intensive farming, there will only be a small plot of land in that they enhance production by using High Yielding a Variety of seeds, fertilizers, and chemical pesticides. It is common in India because India is a highly polluted country and there is little land for farming so there should be a higher prediction.


If you live in India and plan to start Intensive farming, this article might be useful to know more about it.


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