(a) General Information:
Geography: Maharashtra is the 3rd largest state of India located between 160 N to 220 N latitudes and 72 .80 E longitudes. Arabian Sea guards the western boundary of Maharashtra, while Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are on the northern side. Chhattisgarh covers the eastern boundary of the state. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are on its southern sides. On the basis of geographical features the state is divided into 3 natural regions,
1. Konkan comprising the coastal area
2. Sahyadri hill ranges known as Western Ghats
3. The Deccan plateau
Major portion of the state is semi arid with three distinct season of which rainy season comprises of July to September. There are large variations in the quantity of rainfall within different parts of the state. Ghat and coastal districts receive an annual rainfall of 2000 mm but most part of the state lies in the rain shadow belt of the ghat with an average of 600 to 700 mm. The rainfall variations from 500 to 3000 mm have been recorded with an average of 1000 mm distributed over 60-70 days. Net irrigated area in 1999-2000 was 25.7 lakh hectares (gross 33.7 lakh hectares). Principle crops grown in the state are rice, jowar, bajara, wheat, tur, mung, urad, gram and other pulses. The state is major producer of oilseeds. Groundnut, sunflower, soybean are major oil seed crops. Important cash crops grown are cotton, sugarcane, turmeric and vegetables. The state has an area of 10.91 lakh hectares under various fruit crops like mango, banana, orange, grape and cashew nut etc.
The state has been divided into 9 agro-climatic zones based on rainfall, soil type and the vegetation as mentioned below,
1) South Konkan coastal zone
Out of total cultivable land in Maharashtra about 60% land is under food grain crops, and Maharashtra contribute only 5.8% production of food grains in India because Jowar is dominating crop but its yield is low (583 kg/ha). Maharashtra is major producer of Jowar and Arhar contributing 46.09 and 29.11 %, respectively to the total production of India. It is second largest producer of Cotton (22.21%), Soybean (28.14%), and total cereals (13.56%) in the country.
Major Crops & Cropping Pattern:
Double Cropping (Kharif-Rabi)
Paddy – Lab –Lab
Paddy–mixed pulses like lentil
Urad/Mung- Rabi Sorghum
+ Tur Irrigated
Kharif – Rabi-Summer
Paddy – Wheat
Rabi only Kharif-vegetables –Rabi-Vegetables
Kharif-Jowar – Summer-Groundnut
Kharif Vegetables (Potato) – Summer-Groundnut
Annual Crops (Irrigated conditions):
Sugarcane, Banana, Perennial, Mango, Cashew, Guava
In Konkan zone, mostly Laterite and acidic coarse, shallow soil is found. In western ghat zone light, laterite and reddish brown soil is found. In Transition zone - 1 & Transition zone - 2 mostly reddish brown to black and moderately alkaline soil is found. Montomorilonite clay soil is found in scare city zone.
The total power availability of Maharashtra state was 0.70 kW/ ha during the year 2001 which is less than national average of 1.35 kW/ha during the same year. The food grain production of the state is less than the national average. There is great scope for mechanisation in the state and especially horticultural crops. Efforts are on to develop sugarcane combine for harvesting of sugarcane as labour is not available for harvesting. Grapes are being grown and being exported. There is need to mechanise grape production by introducing machines for its planting, application of biogas slurry, fertigation, irrigation, spraying and harvesting. Citrus is also grown on large area and its needs mechanisation. Cotton occupies large area efforts are being made to develop cotton cultivars suitable for harvesting with self-propelled cotton picker. Area under soybean is on the rise and it also needs to be mechanised. The sale of tractors has picked up in Maharashtra since last few years