The State of Gujarat lies between 20°1’and 24°7’ N latitude and 68°4’ and 74°4’ E longitude. Its area is 19.6 m ha making for 6% of India’s geographical area. The population of Gujarat in 2001was 5,05,96,992 comprising 2,63,44,053 males and 2,42,52,939 females. It formed 4.93% of India’s population. Compared to the national average of 72.22%, only 62.65% of Gujarat’s population lived in villages. Population density in the State was 258/km2. Central and Southern plains of Gujarat were the most density populated while Kutch had the lowest (34/km2) density. The ultimate irrigation potential is estimated at 6.5 million hectare (m ha); 2.55 m.ha of ground water and the rest is surface water. About 55% of the irrigation potential has been harnessed. About 80% the ground water resources are already utilized and future expansion of irrigated area will be mostly through the use of surface water. Rice and wheat use up about one third of irrigation water even though the performance of these two crops is not good in the State. More judicious use of irrigation resources can enhance the State’s returns from agriculture.
Gujarat lies in the Agro Climatic Zone-XIII, which is called as “Gujarat Plains and Hills region”/ Traditionally Gujarat was divided into three regions, viz. (i) the main land plains extending from the Rann of Kutch and the Aravalli hills in the North to Damanganga in the South, (ii) the hilly peninsular region of Saurashtra and the rocky areas of Kutch and (iii) the North-eastern hill tract. Now it is divided into 7 sub-agro climatic zones : Southern Hills (Dangs, Valsad), Southern Gujarat, Middle Gujarat, North Gujarat, North-West Arid, North Saurashtra and South Saurashtra. Most of Gujarat falls under mega thermic category with mean soil temperature exceeding 28°C. Air temperature in January normally remains over 10°C. Maximum temperature in May goes over 40°C in North and North-west Gujarat. It is more moderate in the coastal area of Saurashtra and south Gujarat. Rainfall is the most dominant climatic factor. Average rainfall is 828 mm, received in 35 days mostly from June to September with a coefficient of variation (CV) of 50%. Spatially it ranges from 300 mm in North-West to 2,000 mm in South-East. Twelve out of 26 districts of Gujarat are drought prone. In years of poor rainfall, the yields of important crops like groundnut which are mainly rainfed can reduce by 70% or more.
The main crops grown in Kharif season are Great Millet, Bajra, Maize, Paddy, Groundnut and in Rabi season these are Cotton, Wheat, Mustard, Cumin and Vegetables. Besides, Sugarcane is also grown in some districts. While the performance of rice, wheat, pulses and cotton in Gujarat is below the national average, the performance is above the national average for coarse cereals, oils seeds and onion. Although potato is not a major crop, its yields in Gujarat are high. The State finds a place among the top 3 in terms of productivity of bajra, groundnut, sesame, rapeseed and mustard, castor, onion, banana, chikoo, guava, cauliflower and tobacco.
The net cropped area has varied from 9.60 million hectare to 9.67 million hectare during the last 10 years. This is a little over 49% of the total area of Gujarat. Cropping intensity varies according to rainfall and it has been about 105% in the recent years. There were 35,32,000 agricultural holdings in 1990–91. This number increased to 37,81,000 in 1995–96 and the average size of operational holding reduced from 2.93 ha to 2.62 ha in the same period. About 55% of the holdings fell under marginal and small size group in 1995–96, against 78% at the national level. Average size of holding was 86% larger than the national average.
As in the rest of India, there has been a steady shift from animal power to electro-mechanical sources of power in Gujarat although the rate of change has been slower than that of the leading agricultural States. The availability of power is estimated at 1.20 kW/ha which is less than the average power availability in the country. About 90% of power comes from tractors, engines and motors... The sale of tractors is on the rise and during 2009-10, about 24, 291 tractors were sold in Gujarat by different tractor manufacturers in Gujarat. One of the manufacturer in Gujarat is making good quality rotavators and is selling more than 1000 rotavators per month. There are a good number of manufacturers making good quality farm implements. There is good scope for introducing improved equipment for performing various farm operations for cultivation of rice, wheat, pulses and cotton in Gujarat.