1902 Encyclopedia > India > Agriculture

(Part 8)


Agriculture in India

The cultivation of the soil is the occupation of the Indian people, in a sense which is difficult to realize in England, and which cannto be adequately expressed by figures. As the land tax forms the mainstay of the imperical revenue, so the ráyat or cultivator constitutes the unit of the social system. The organized village community many other members besides the cultivators, but they all exist for his benefit, and all alike are directly maintained from the produce of the village fields. Even in considerable towns, the traders and handicraftsmen almost always possess plots of land of their own, on which they raise sufficient grain to supply their families with food. The operations of rural life are familiar to every class. They are enveloped in a cloud of religious sunctions, and serve to mark out by their recurring periods the annual round of common life. According to the returns to the general census of 1872, the number of adult males engaged in agriculture amounts to nearly 35 millions, or 56·2 per cent. of the total. To these ought to be added almost all the labourers, an additional 7 _ millions, or 12·3 per cent.,—thus raising the grand total of persons directly supported by the land to more than two-thirds of the entire number of adult males, besides, those indirectly or incidentally connected with it.

But though agriculture thus forms the staple industry of the country, its practice is pursued in different provinces with inifinte variety of detail. Everywhere the same perpetual assiduity is found, but the inherited experience of generations has taught the cultivators to adapt their simple methods to differing circumstances. For irrigation, native patience and ingenuity have devised means which compare favourably with the colossal projects of Government. Manure is copiously applied tot he more valuable crops whenever manure is available, its use being limited by poverty and not by ignorance. The rotation of crops is not adopted as a principle of cultivation ; but in practice it is well known that a succession of exhausting crops cannot be taken in consecutive seasons from the same field, and the advantage of fallows is widely recognized. The periodicity of the seasons usually allows two , and sometimes three, harvests in the year, but not necessarily, nor indeed usually, on the same fields. For inexhaustible fertility, and for retentiveness of moisture in a dry year, no soil in the world can surpass the regar or "black cotton-soil" of the Deccan. In the broad river basins,the inundations deposit annually a fresh top-dressing of silt, thus suerdeding the necessity of manures.

The name of rice has from time immemorial been so closely associated with Indian agriculture, that it is difficult to realize how comparatively small an area is planted with this crop. If we except the deltas of the great rivers and the long strip of land fringing the western coast, rice may be called an occasional crop throughout the remainder of the peninsula. But where rice is grown, it is grown to the exclusive of all other crops. In British Burmah, out of a total cultivated area of 2,833,520 acres in 1877-78, as many as 2,554,853 acres, or 90 per cent., were under rice. Independent Burmah, on the other hand, grows no rice, but imports largely from British territory. For Bengal, unfortunately, no general statistics are available. But taking Rangpur as a typical districts, it was there found that 1 _ millions acres, out of a classified total of a little over 1 _ millions acres, or 88 per cent., were devoted to rice Similar proportions hold good for the province of Orissa, the details of the Godávari, Kistna, and Káveri (Cauvery) and the lowlands of Travancore, Malabar, Kánara, and the Concan. For the North-Western Provinces and Oudh, again, no agricultural statistical are available ; but though rice, grown in damp localities, or with the help of irrigation, forms a favourite food for the upper classes, the local supply requires to be supplemented by importance from Bengal. Throughout the remainder of the country, except in Assam, which is agriculturally a continuation of the Bengal delta, the cultivation of rice occupies but a subordinate place. The average out-turn per acre in Bengal has been estimated at 15 maunds, or 1200 lb, of cleaned rice. In the years 1877-78, when famine was raging in southern India, the total exports of rice from Calcutta amounted to more than 16 millions cwts. In British Burmah there is but a single rice harvest in the year, corresponding to the áman of Bengal. The grain is reddish in colour and of a coarse quality ; but the out-turn is much higher than in Bengal, reaching in some places an average of 2000 and 2500 lb per acre. The annual exports of rice from Burmah amount to about 12 million cwts. Besides being practically the sole crop grown in the deltaic swaps rice is raised in patches in all the hill-valleys, from Coorg to the Himálayas.

Wheat is grown to some extent in almost every district ; but, broadly speaking, it may be said that wheat does not thrive where rice does, nor, indeed, anywhere south of the Deccan. The great wheat-growing tract of India is the Punjab, where, in 1877-78 nearly 7 millions acres, or 37 per cent. of the total cultivated area, under this crop. For the North-Western and Oudh, in default of actual statistics, it has been estimated that the total area under wheat is a large as in the Punjab, though the relative proportion is less. Wheat is also grown in Behar and in the districts of Bengal that lie south of the Ganges. In the Central Provinces, in 1877-78, wheat was grown on 23 per cent. of the cultivated area, being the chief crop in the districts of Hoshangábád, Narsinhpur, and Ságar. In Bombay the corresponding proportion was less than 5 per cent., and in Sind 12 per cent. It has been conjectured that the total are under wheat in India is equal to the area the same crop in the United States. Nor is the general out-turn contemptible, averaging about 13 bushels per acre in the Punjab, as compared with an average of 15 _ bushels for the whole of France. The quality, also, of the grain is high enough to satisfy the demands of English millers ; and "Calcutta Club No. 1" commands a price in Mark Lane not much below that of the finest Australian or Californian produce. Unfortunately when a prosperous trade with Europe seemed on the point of establishing itself, the terrible year 1877-78 supervened, and India will now have to fight against the position of vantage occupied by the United States. According to the system of classification in Upper India, wheat ranks as a rahí or spring crop being reaped at the close of the cold weather in April and May. Wherever possible, it is irrigated ; and the extension of canals through the Gangetic Doáb has largely contributed tot he substitution of wheat for interior cereals.

Taking India as a whole, it may be affirmed that the staple food grains is neither rice nor wheat, but millet, which is probably the most prolific grain in the world, and the best adapted to the vicissitudes of a tropical climate. Excluding the special rice-growing tracts, varieties of millet are grown more extensively then any other crop from Madras, in the south, at least as far as Rájputána, in the north. The two most common kinds are great millet (Holcus Sorghum or Sorghum vulgare), as joár or jawárí in the languages derived from the Sanskrit, as jonna in Telugu, and as cholam in Tamil ; and spiked millet (Holcus spicatus vel Penicillaria spicata), called bájra in the north and kambu in the south. In Mysore and the neighbouring districts rágí (Eleusine coracana), called náchani in Bombay, takes the first place. According to the Madras system of classification, these millets all rank as "dry crops," being watered only by the local rainfall, and sown under either monsoon ; farther north, they are classed with the kharíf or autumn harvest, as opposed to wheat. Indian corn is cultivated to a limted extent in all parts of country ; barley, in the upper valley of the Ganges, throughout the Punjab, and in Himálayan valleys ; oats, only as a experimental crop buy Europeans. Joár and rágí, but not bájra, are invaluable as fodder for cattle.

Oil-seeds also form an important crops in all parts of the country, being perhaps more universally grown than any other, as oil is necessary, according to native customs, for application to the person, for food, and for burning in lamps. In recent years the cultivation of oil-seeds has received an extraordinary stimulus owing to the demand for export to Europe, especially to France ;but as they can be grown after rice, &c., as a second crop, this increase has hardly at all tended to diminish the production of food grains. The four chief varieties grown are mustard or rape seed, linseed, tíl or gingelly (sesamum), and castro-oil. Bengal and the North-Western Provinces are at present the chief sources of supply for the foreign demand, but gingelly is largely exported from Madras, and, to a smaller extent, from Burmah.

Vegetables are everywhere cultivated in garden plots for household use, and also on a larger scale in the neighbourhood of great towns. Among favourite native vegetables, the following may mentioned :--the egg-plant, called brinjal or baigan ( Solanum Melongena), potatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, radishes, onions, garlic turnips, yams, and a great variety of cucurbitaceous plants, including Cucumis sativus, Cucurbita maxima, Lagenaria vulgaris, Trichos-anthes dioica, and Benincasa cerifera. Of these, potatoes, cabbages, and turnips are of recent introduction. Almost all English vegetables can be raised by a careful gardener. Potatoes thrive best on the higher elevations, such as the Khásí hills, the Nílgiris, the Mysore uplands, and the slopes of the Himálayas ; but they are also grown even in lowland districts. They were first introduced into the Khásí hills in 1830, and they now constitute the principal crop, the annual export to the Calcutta market being more than 7000 tons, valued at £50,000.

Among cultivated fruit are the following:—Mango (Mangifera indica), plantain (Musa paradisiaca), pine-apple (Ananassa sativa), pomegranate (Punica Granatum), guava (Psidium pomiferum et P. pyriferum), tamarind (Tamarindus indica), jack (Artocarpus integrifolia), custard-apple (Anona squamosa), papaw (Carica Papaya), shaddock (Citrus decumana), and several varieties of fig. Melon, orange, lime and citron. According to the universal verdict of Europeans, no native fruits can compare with those of England. But the mangoes of Bombay, of Múltán, and of Maldah in Bengal, and the oranges of the Khásí hills, enjoy a high reputation ; while the guavas of Madras are made into an excellent preserve.

Among spices, for the preparation of curry and other hot dishes, turmeric and chillies hold the first place, being very generally cultivated. Next in importance come ginger, coriander, aniseed, black cummin, and fenugreek. Pepper proper is confined to the Malabar coast, from Kánara to Travancore. Cardamons are a valuable crop in the same locality, and also in the Nepálese Himálayas. Pán or betel-leaf is grown by a special caste in most parts of the country. Its cultivation requires constant care, but is highly remunerative. Betel-nut or areca is chiefly grown in certain favoured localities, such as the deltaic districts of Bengal and the highlands of southern India.

Besides betel-nut (Areca Catechu), the palms of India include the cocoa-nut (Cocos nucifera), the bastard date (Phoenix sylvestris), the palmyra (Borassus flabelliformis), and the true date (Phoenix dactylifera). The cocoa-nut, which loves a sandy soil and mot climate, is found in greatest perfection along the strip of coast-line that fringes the west of the peninsula, where it ranks next to rice as the staple product. The bastard date, grown chiefly in the country round Calcutta and in the north-east of the Madras presidency, supplies both the jaggery sugar of commerce and intoxicating liquors for local consumption. Spirit is also distilled from the palmyra, especially in the neighbourhood of Bombay and in the south-east of Madras. The true date is almost confined to Sind.

Sugar is manufactured both from the sugar-cane and from the bastard date-palm, but the total production is inadequate to the local demand. The best cane is grown in the North-Western Provinces, on irrigated land. It is an expensive crop, requiring much attention, and not yielding a return within the year ; but the profits are proportionately large. In Bengal the manufacture of sugar for exportation had declined during the century ;but in Jessor district the preparation of date-sugar is everywhere in the hands of natives, except in the case of the Aska factory in the Madras district of Ganjám, and the Ashtagrám factory in Mysore. Both these factories, which use sugar-cane and not date, have received honourable notice at exhibitions in Europe.

Cotton holds the first place among agricultural products grown for export. From the earliest times, cotton has been grown in sufficient quantities to meet the local demand, and even in the last century there was some slight export which was carefully by the East India Company. But the present importance of the crop dates only from the crisis in Lancashire caused by the American War. Prior to 1860 the exports of raw cotton from India used to average less than 3 millions sterling a year ; but after that date they rose by leaps, until in 1866 they reached the enormous total of 37 millions. Then came the crash, caused by the restoration of peace in the United States, and the exports fell, until they now average little more than 8 millions a year. The fact is that Indian cotton has a short staple, and cannot compete with the best American cotton for spinning the finer qualities of yarn. But while the cotton famine was at its height, the cultivators were intelligent enough to make the most of their opportunity. The area under cotton increased enormously, and the growers managed to retain in their won hands a fair share of the profit.

The principal cotton-growing tracts are the plains of Guzerat and Káthiáwár, whence Indian cotton has received in the Liverpool market the historic name of Surat ; the highlands of the Deccan ;and the deep valleys of the Central Provinces and Berar. The best native varieties are found in the Central Provinces and Berar, passing under the trade names of the Hinganghát and Amráoti. These varieties have been successfully introduced into the Bombay districts of Khándesh. Experiments with seed from New Orleans have been conducted for several years past on the Government farms in many parts of India ;but it cannot be said that they have resulted in success except in the Bombay district of Dhárwár, where exotic cotton has now generally supplanted the indigenous staple. In 1875-76 the total are under cotton in the Bombay presidency, including Sind and the native states, amounted to 4,516,587 acres, with a yield of 2,142,835 cwts. Of this total, 583,854 acres, or 13 per cent., were sown with exotic cotton, including that from the Central Provinces and also that from New Orleans, with a yield of 248,767 cwts. The average yield was about 53 lb of cleaned cotton per acre, the highest being in Sind and Guzerat, and the lowest in the Southern Marhattá country. In the same year the total exports were 3,887,808 cwts., valued at £10,673,761. In 1877-78 the area under cotton in the Central Provinces was 837,083 acres, or 5 per cent. of the total cultivated area, chiefly in the districts of Wárdhá, Nágpur, and Ráipur. The average yield was about 59 lb per acre. The total exports to Bombay, including re-exports from Berar, were about 300,000 cwts., chiefly in compressed bales, valued at £672,000. In the same year the area under cotton in Berar was 2,078,273 acres, or 32 per cent. of the total cultivated area, chiefly in the two districts of Akola and Amráoti. The average yield was as high as 67 lb of cleaned cotton per acre. The total export was valued at £2,354,946, almost entirely railway-borne. In Madras the average area under cotton is about 1,500,000 acres, chiefly in the upland districts of Bellary and Karnúl, and the low plains of Kistna and Tinnevelli. The total exports in 1875-76 were 733,420 cwts., valued at £1,652,849. In Bengal the cultivation of cotton is on the decline. The local demand is satisfied by imports from the North-Western Provinces and from the bordering hill tracts, where a very short-stapled variety of cotton is extensively cultivated. The total area under cotton in Bengal is estimated at only 162,000 acres, yielding 138,000 cwts. of cleaned cotton. Of this, 31,000 acres were in Sáran, 28,000 in the Chittagong hill tracts, and 20,000 in Cuttack. Throughout the North-Western Provinces, and also the Punjab, sufficient cotton is grown to meet the wants of the village weavers. The total exports of raw cotton from Indian ports in 1878-79 were 2,966,569 cwts., valued at £7,914,091, besides cotton twist and yarn to the value of £937,698, and cotton manufactures valued at £1,644,125.

Jute ranks next after cotton as a fibre crop. The extension of its cultivation has been equally rapid, and it is yet more limited in its area, bieng confined to northern and eastern Bengal. In this tract, which extends from Purniah to Goálpárá, north of the Ganges for the most part, and along both banks of the Brahmaputra ,jute is grown on almost every variety of soil. The chief characteristic of the cultivation is that is remains entirely under the control opfof the cultivator. Practically a peasant proprietor, he increases or diminishes his cultivation according to the state of the market, and keeps the profits in his own hands. The demand for jute in Europe has contributed more than any administrative reform to raise the average standard of comfort throughout eastern Bengal. In 1872, when speculation was briskest, it is estimated that about 1 million acres were under jute, distributed over sixteen districts, which had a total cultivation area of 23 million acres. The total export from Calcutta in that year was bout 7 million cwts., valued at £4,142,548. Both quantities and prices have since somewhat declined, but the business remains on a stable footing. In 1878-79 the total export of raw jute from India was, 6,021,382 cwts., valued at £3,800,426, besides jute manufactures to the value of £1,098,434.

Indigo, though relatively of less importance than formerly, is still the foremost staple grown by European capital. In Bengal Proper its cultivation has greatly declined since the early years of this century. English planters have abandoned the districts of Húglí (Hooghly), the Twenty-four Parganás, Dacca, Farídpur, Rangpur,and Pabná, which are dotted with the sites of ruined factories. In Nadiyá, Jessor, Murshidábád, and Maldah, the industry is still carried on, but it has not recovered from the depression caused by the indigo riots of 1860, and the emancipation of the peasantry by the Land Act of 1859. Dye of superior quality is manufactured in Midnapur, along the frontier of the hill tracts. But indigo cultivation on the old scale still flourished in North Behar, from which is derived one-half of the total exports from Calcutta. No accurate statistics of area are available ;but in Tirhut alone there are fifty-six principal concerns, with seventy outworks, producing annually about 20,000 maunds of dye ; in Sáran, thirty principal concerns and twenty –five outwork, producing about 12,000 maunds ; in Champáran, seven large concerns, producing also 12,000 maunds._ It has been estimated that the total amount of money annually distributed by the planters of North Behar cannot be less than 1 million sterling. Across the border, in the North-Western Provinces, indigo is grown and manufactured to a considerable extent by native cultivators. In the Punjab, also, indigo, is an important crop,. Especially in the districts of Múltán, Muzaffargrh, and Derá Ghází Khán. In Madras, where it is grown and manufactured entirely by the natives, the total area under indigo is about 300,000 acres, chiefly in the north-east of the presidency, extending along the coast from Kistna to South Arcot, and inland to Karnúl and Cuddapah. The exports of indigo from all India in 1878-79 amounted to 105,051 cwts., of the value of £2,960,463.

The opium of commerce is grown and manufactured in two special tracts,—(1) the valley of the Ganges round Patná and Benares, and (2) a fertile table-land in Central India, corresponding to the old kingdom of Málwá, for the most part still under the rule of native chiefs, among whom Sindhia and Holkar rank first. In the latter of these two regions the cultivation of poppy is free, and the duty is levied as the opium passes through the British presidency of Bombay ; in the former, the cultivation is a strict Government monopoly. Opium is also grown for local consumption throughout Rájputána, and to a very limited extent in the Punjab and the Central Provinces. Throughout the rest of India it is absolutely prohibited. In the Ganges valley, the cultivation is supervised from two agencies, with their headquarters at Patná and Gházípur, at which two towns alone the manufacture is conducted. In 1872 the total area under poppy was 560,000 acres ; the number of chests of opium sold was 42,675 ; and the sum realized was exported from Calcutta to China and the Straits Settlements. The amount of opium grown in native states and exported from Bombay is about equal, thus raising the average exports of opium to about 12 millions sterling, of which about 7 _ millions represent net profit to Government. In 1878-79, 91,200 chests of opium were exported, of the value of £12,993,985, of which £7,7000,000 represented the net profit to Government.

Under the Bengal system annual engagements are entered into by the cultivators to sow a certain quantity of land with poppy ; and it is a fundamental principle that they may agree or refuse to engage as they please. As with other Indian industries, a pecuniary advance is made to the cultivator before he commences operations, which is balanced when he deliver his whole produce, being paid at a fixed rate according to quality. In the beginning of April the cultivators bring in their opium to the subordinate Government agencies, where it is examined and weighed, and the accounts are settled. The final process of preparing the drug in balls for the Chinese market is conducted at the two central Government agencies at Patná and Ghazípur. This generally lasts until the end of July, but the balls are not dry enough to be packed in chests until October.

Tobacco is grown in every district of India for local consumption. The soil and climate are favourable ; but up to the present time the quality of native-cured tobacco is so inferior that it finds no market in Europe. The principal tobacco-growing tracts are Rangpur an Tirhut in Bengal, Kaira in Bombay, and the delta of the Godávari and Coimbatore and Madura districts in Madras. The two last-mentioned districts supply the raw material for the well-known "Trichinopoli cheroot," almost the only form of Indian tobacco that finds any favour with Europeans; the produce of the lánkás or alluvial is islands in the Godávari is manufactured into "coconadas." The tobacco of northern Bengal is largely exported to British Burmah, for the Burmese, who are great smokers, do not grow sufficient for their own needs. In the year 1876-77 the total registered imports of tobacco into Calcutta were 400,000 cwt., valued at £261,000, of which more than half came from the single district of Rangpur. Tobacco is also grown for export in the hill-tracts of Chittagong. The tobacco of Tirhut is chiefly exported towards the west. The total area under tobacco in that districts is estimated at 40,000 acres, the best quality being grown in parganá Saressa of the Tájpur subdivision.

Since 1875 a private firm of capitalists, backed by Government support, has begun to grow tobacco and manufacture it for the European market. The scene of operations is two abandoned stud-farms at Gházípur in the North-Western Provinces, and at Pusa in the Bengal district of Tirhut. In the year 1878-79 about 240 acres in all were cultivated with tobacco, and the total crop was about 160,000 lb. No less than five English or American curers were employed. Some of the produce was exported to England as "cured lead" ; but the larger part was put upon the Indian market in the form of "manufactured smoking mixture." This mixture is in demand at regimental messes and canteens, and has already found its way to Australia. The enterprise may now be said to have passed beyond the stage of experiment, and has probably opened a new sphere alike for Indian agriculture and European capital. The one essential condition of success is skilled supervision in the delicate processes of tobaccor-curing. Tobacco to the value of £128,239 was exported from India in 1878-79.

The cultivation of coffee is confined to southern India, though attempts have been made to introduce the plant both into British Burmah and into the Bengal district of Chittagong. The coffee tract may be roughly defined as a section of the landward slope of the Western Gháts, extending from Kánara in the north to Travancore in the extreme south. That tract includes almost the whole of Coorg, the districts of Kádur and Hassan in Mysore, and the Nílgiri hills, enlarged by the recent annexation of the Wainád. Within the last few years the cultivation has extended to the Shevaroy hills in Salem district, and to the Palni hills in Madura.

Unlike tea, coffee was not introduced into India by European enterprise ; and even to the present day its cultivation is largely followed by the natives. The Malabar coast has always enjoyed a direct commerce with Arabia, and at an early date gave many converts to Islám. One of these converts, Bába Budan by name, is said to have gone on a pilgrimage to Mecca and to have brought back with him the coffee berry, which he planted on the hill ranged in Mysore still called after him. According to local tradition this happened about two centuries ago. The shrubs thus sown lived on, but cultivation did not spread until the beginning of the present century. The state of Mysore and the Bába Budan range also witnessed the first opening of a coffee-garden by an English planter about 1840. The success of this experiment led to the extension of coffee cultivation into the neighbouring tract of Manjarábád, also in Mysore, and into the Wainád subdivisin of the Madras district of Malabar. From 1840 to 1860 the enterprise made slow progress ; but since the latter date it has spread with great rapidity along the whole line of the Western Gháts, clearing away the primaeval forest, and opening a new era of prosperity to the labouring classes. The following statistics show the area under coffee to the two districts of Hassan and Kádur ; in Madras, 58,988 acres, chiefly in Malabar, the Nílgiris, and Salem ; in Coorg, 45,150 acres ; total, 232,576 acres, exclusive of Travancore. The average rate of produce is estimated at about 3 cwts. per acre of mature plant. The total export of coffee in 1878-79 was 342,268 cwts., valued at £1,548,481.

The cultivation of tea in India commenced within the memory of men still living in 1881, and the industry now rivals indigo as a field for European capital. Unlike coffee planting the enterprise owes its origin to the initiation of Government, and has never attracted to attention of the natives. Early travellers reported that the tea-plant was indigenous to the southern valleys of the Himálayas ; but they were mistaken in the identity of the shrub, which was the Osyris nepalensis. The real tea (Thea viridis), a plant akin to the camellia, grows wild in Assam, being commonly found throughout the hilly tract between the valleys of the Brahmaputra and the Bárak. There it sometimes attains the dimensions of a large tree ; and from that, as well as from other indications, it has been plausibly inferred that Assam is the original home of the plant, which was thence introduced at a prehistoric date into China. The real progress of tea-planting in Assam dates from about 1851, and was greatly assisted by the promulgation of the Waste-land Rules of 1854. By 1859 there were already fifty-one gardens in existence, owned by private individuals ; and the enterprise had extended from its original headquarters in Lakhimpur and Síbságar as far down the Brahmaputra as Kámrúp. In 1856 the tea-plant was discovered wild in the district of Cáchár in the Bárak valley, and European capital was at once directed to that quarter. At about the same time tea-planting was introduced into the neighbourhood of the sanatorium of Dárjíling (Darjeeling), among the Sikkim Himálayas.The success of these undertakings engendered a wild spirit of speculation in tea companies both in India and at home, which reached its climax in 1865. The industry recovered but slowly from the effects of this disastrous crisis, and did not again reach a stable position until 1869. Since that date it has rapidly but steadily progressed, and has been ever opening new fields of enterprise. At the head of the Bay of Bengal in Chittagong districts, side by side with coffee on the Nílgiri hills, on the forest-clad, slopes of Chutiá Nàgpur, amid the low-lying jungle of the Bhután Dwars, and even in Arakan, the energetic pioneers of tea-planting have established their industry. Different degree of success may have rewarded them, but in no case have they abandoned the struggle. The market for Indian tea is practically inexhaustible. There is no reason to suppose that all the suitable localities for its growth have yet been tried ; and we may look forward to the day when India shall not only rival but supersede China in her staple product.

The following statistics, unless it is otherwise stated, refer to the year 1877-78:—

The total area taken up for tea cultivation in Assam, including both the Brahmaputra and the Bárak valleys, was 736,082 acres, of which 538,961 acres were fit for cultivation ; the total number of separate estates was 1718 ; the total out-turn was 23,352,298 lb. at the average rate of 286 lb per acre under mature plant. In Bengal, the area taken up was 62,642 acres, of which, 20,462 acres were under mature plant, including 18,120 acres in the single district of Dárjíling ; the number of gardens was 221 ; the out-turn was 5,768,654 lb, at the rate of 282 lb per acre under mature plant. In the North-Western Provinces, there were, in 1876,25 estates in the districts of Kumáun and Garhwál, with an out-turn of 587,000 lb, of which 350,000 lb were sold in India to Central Asia merchants; and in 1871, 19 estates in Dehra Dún, with 2024 acres tea, and an out-turn of 297,828 lb. In the Punjab, there were 10,046 acres under tea, almost entirely confined to Kángrá district, with an out-turn of 1,113,106lb, or 111 lb per acre. In Madras, the area under tea on the Nílgiris was 3160 acres ; the exports from the figures just given for Mádras, the whole of the Indian tea is shipped from the port of Calcutta, and almost the whole is sent to the United Kingdom. The total exports for 1878-79 were 34,800,027 lb, valued at £3,170,118. Of the total supply, about 26,000,000 lb came from Assam, about 8,000,000 lb from Bengal, 787,000 lb from the North-Western Provinces, and 684,000 lb from the Punjab. In the previous year the exports of tea from the Punjab to Central Asia were returned at 1,217, 840 lb, valued at £181,634, being a considerable decrease on the year before.

== TABLE ==

The introduction of the quinine-yielding cinchona into India is a remarkable example of success rewarding the indefatigable exertions of a single man. When Mr Clements Markham undertook the task of transporting the seedlings from South America in 1860, cinchona had never before been reared artificially. But the novel experiment in arboriculture has not only been successfully conducted, but has proved remunerative from a pecuniary point of view. A cheap febrifuge has been provided, in the form of the mixed cinchona alkaloids, for the fever-stricken population of the Indian plains, while the surplus bark sold in Europe more than repays interest upon the capital expended. These results have been produced from an expenditure of about £100,000. The headquarters of cinchona cultivation are on the Nílgiri hills, where Governement owns several plantations covering an aggregate of about 1000 acres, with about 570,000 full-grown plants. From the Government plantations cinchona seeds and plants are annually distributed to the public in large quantities ; and there are now several private plantations rivalling the Government estates in area, and understood to be very valuable properties. The varieties of cinchona most commonly cultivated are C. officinalis and C. succirubra ; but experiments are being conducted with C. Calisaya, C. pubescens, C. lanceolata, and C. pitayensis. When the success of the enterprise was secure, Government somewhat curtailed the extent of its own operations. No fresh land was taken up, but the plantations were kept free from weeds. The quinologists’s department was abolished, and the bark sold in its raw state. From the central establishment on the Nílgiris cinchona has been introduced into the Palni hills in Madura district, into the Wainád, and into the state of Travancore. Plantations have also been successfully opened by Government near Merkara in Coorg, on the Bába Budan hills in Mysore, and in Sitang district in British Burmah. Failure had attended the experiments made at Mahábaleshwar in the Bombay presidency, and at Nongklao in the Khásí hills, Assam. But the success of the Government plantation of Dárjíling, in northern Bengal, rivals that of the original plantation on the Nílgiris. The area has been gradually extended to more than 2000 acres, and the bark is manufactured into quinine on the spot by a Government quinologist. The species mostly grown in C. succirubra, which supplies a red-coloured bark, rich in its total yield of alkaloids but comparatively poor in quinine proper. Efforts are being made to increase the cultivation of C. Calisaya, which yields the more valuable bark, but is difficult to propagate.

The following are the financial results of the two Government plantations in 1877-78. On the Nílgiris the crop was 138,808 lb, of which 132,951 lb were shipped to England, and the rest supplied to the Madras and Bombay medical departments. The total receipts were £35,875, and the total expenditure £6977, thus showing a net profit of £28,898. At Dárjíling the crop amounted to 344,225 lb of bark, which was all handed over to the quinologist, and yielded 5162 lb of the febrifuge. The total receipts were £9707, of which £6188 represents the amount debited to Government departments for the sale of febrifuge and bark, while £3519 was derived from sales to the public. The total expenditure was £8554, of which £5790 was expended upon the plantation, and £2764 on the quinologist’s department. The net profit, therefore, was £1153, which is expected shortly to rise to £4000 a year, as more of the young plants come into bearing.

Silk.—Sericulture in India is a stationary, if not a declining, industry. The large production in China, Japan, and the Mediterranean countries controls the European markets, and on an average of years the imports of raw silk into India now exceed the exports. The East India Company from the first took great pains to foster the production of silk. As early as 1767, two years after the grant of the financial administration of Bengal had been conferred upon the Company, we find the governor, Mr Verelst, personally urging the zamíndárs, gathered at Murshidábád for the ceremony of the púnyá, "to give all possible encouragement to the cultivation of mulberry." In 1769 a colony of reelers was brought from Italy to teach the system followed in the filatures at Novi. The first silk prepared in the Italian method reached England in 1772, and Bengal silk soon became an important articles of export. Similar efforts started at Madras in 1793 were abandoned after a trial of five years. Sericulture is said to have been introduced into Mysore by Tipú Sultán, and for many years continued to prosper. Bur recently the worms have been afflicted by a mysterious epidemic ; and despite the enterprise of an Italian gentleman who imported fresh broods from Japan, the business had dwindled to insignificance. Bengal has always been the chief seat of mulberry cultivation. When the trading operation of the Company ceased in 1833, they owned eleven head factories in that province, each supplied by numerous filatures in to which the cultivators brought in their cocoons. The annual export of raw silk from Calcutta was then about 1 million lb. But in those days the weaving of silk formed a large portion of the business of the factories. In 1779 Rennel wrote that at Kasímbázár (Cossimbazar) alone about 400,000 lb were consumed in the several European factories. In 1802 Lord Valentia describes Jangipur as "the greatest silk station of the Company, with 600 furnaces, and giving employment to 3000 persons."

When the Company abandoned trade on its own account, sericulture was forthwith taken up by private enterprise, and it still clings to its old headquarters. At the present time the cultivation of the mulberry is mainly confined to the Rájsháhí and Bardwán divisions of Lower Bengal. That branch of agriculture, together with the rearing of the silk-worms, is conducted by the peasantry themselves, who are free to follow or abandon the business. The destination of the cocoons is twofold. They may either be sent to small native filatures, where the silk is roughly wound before being consumed in the hand-looms of the country; or they may be brought to the great European factories, which generally use steam machinery and consign their produce direct to Europe.

The cultivation of the mulberry is chiefly carried on in the districts of Rájsháhí alone the area under mulberry is estimated at 80,000 acres. The variety grown as food for the silk-worms is not the fruit-tree that is common in England, but a comparatively small shrub.

Besides the silk-worm proper (Bombyx mori), fed upon the mulberry, several other species of silk-yielding worms abound in the jungles of India, and are utilized, and in some cases domesticated, by the natives. Throughout Assam especially, an inferior silk, produced in this way, has from time immemorial furnished the common dress of the people. These "wild silks" are known to commerce under the generic name of tasar or tusser, but they are really the produce of several distinct varieties of worm, fed on many different trees. The worms that yields tasar silk in Chutiá Nágpur has been identified as the caterpillar of Antheraea paphia. When wild, it feeds indiscriminately upon the sál (Shorea robusta), baer (Zizyphus Jujuba), and other forest trees ; but in a state of semi-domestication it is exclusively reared upon the ásan (Terminalia alata), which grows conveniently in clumps. The cocoons are sometimes collected in the jungle, but more frequently bred from an earlier generation of jungle cocoons. The worms require constant attention while feeding to protect them from crows and other birds. They give three crops in the year—in August, November, and May—of which the second is by far the most important. The tasar silk-worm is also found and utilized throughout the Central Provinces, in the hills of the Bombay presidency, and along the southern slope of the Himálayas. During the past twenty years repeated attempts have been made to raise this industry out of its precarious condition, and to introduce tasar silk into the European market. That the raw material abounds is certain, but the great difficulty is to obtained it in a state that will be acceptable to European manufacturers. Native spun silk is only fit for native hand-looms. In Assam two distinct qualities of silk are made, known as eriá and mugá. The former is obtained from the cocoons of Phalaena cynthia, and the worms is fed, as the native name implies, upon the leaves of the castor-oil plant (Ricinus communis). This variety may be said to be entirely domesticated, being reared indoors. Mugá silk is obtained from the cocoons of Saturnia assamungis. The moth, which is remarkable for its size, is found wild in the jungle, but the breed is so far domesticated that cocoons are brought from one part of the province to another, and the sám tree is artificially propagated to supply the worms with food. Raw silk was exported in 1878-79 to the extent of 1,534,715 lb, valued at £623,871, besides manufactured silk of the value of £195,897.

The collection of lac is in a somewhat similar position to that of t tasar silk. The lac insect abounds on certain jungle trees in every part of the country, and from time immemorial it has been collected by the wild tribes in order to be worked up into lacquered ware. European enterprise has tried, with small success, to place the industry upon a stable and remunerative basis. Though lac is to be found everywhere, the foreign exports are almost entirely confined to Calcutta, which draws its supplies from the hills of Chutiá Nágpur, and to a less degree from Assam and Mírzápur in the North-Western Provinces. Lac is known to commerce both as a gum (shellac) and as a dye. The total exports in 1879 were 91,983 cwts., valued at £300,072.

Farming.—The efforts of Government to improve the native methods of agriculture, by the establishment of model farms under skilled European supervision, have not been generally successful._

Stock.—Throughout the whole of India, except in Sind and the western districts of the Punjab, horned cattle are the only beasts used for ploughing. The well-known humped breed of cattle predominates everywhere, being divided into many varieties . Owing partly to unfavourable conditions of climate and soil, partly to the insufficiency of grazing ground, and partly to the want of selection in breeding, the general condition of the cattle is miserably poor. As cultivation advances, the area of waste land available for grazing steadily diminishes, and the prospects of the poor beasts are becoming worse rather than better. Their only hope lies in the introduction of fodder crops as a regular stage in the agricultural course. There are, however, some fine breeds in existence. In Mysore the amrit mahál, a breed said to have been introduced by Hyder Alí for military purposes, is still kept up by Government. In the Madras districts of Nellore an Karnúl the indigenous breed has been greatly improved under the stimulus of cattle shows and prizes, founded by British officials. In the Central Provinces there is a peculiar breed of trotting bullocks which is in great demand for wheeled carriages. The large and handsome oxen of Guzerat in Bombay and of Hariáná in the Punjab are excellently adapted from drawing heavy loads in a sandy soil. The worst cattle are to be found always in the deltaic tracts, but there their place is to a large extent taken by buffaloes. There last are more hardly than ordinary cattle ; their character is maintained by crossing the cows with wild bulls, and their milk yields the best ghí, or clarified butter. In British Burmah, the returns show that the total number of buffaloes is just equal to that of cows nd bullocks, being about 700,000. Along the valley of the Indus, and in the sandy desert which stretches into Rájputána, camels supersede cattle for agricultural operations. In the Punjab, the total estimated number of camels is 170,000. The breed of horses has generally deteriorated since the demand for military purposes has declined with the establishment of British supremacy. In Bengal Proper, and also in Madras, it may be broadly said that horses are not bred. The chief breeds in Bombay are those of the Deccan and of Káthiáwár, in both which provinces Government maintains establishments of stallions. The Punjab, however, is the chief source of remounts for the cavalry regiments, the total number of horses in that province being returned at 80,000, in addition to 50,000 ponies. About the beginning of the present century, a stud department was organized to breed horses fro the use of the Bengal army, but this system was abolished as extravagant and inefficient under he governor-generalship of Lord Mayo. Remounts are now obtained in the open market ; but the Government of the Punjab still maintains about 130 stallions, including 60 imported from England and 40 Arabs. The best horses, are bred by the Baluchí tribes along the western frontier. The best ponies come from Burmah, Manipur (the original home of the now well-known game of polo), and Bhután. Four great horse fairs are held in the year—at Ráwal Pindí, Derá Ghází Khán, Jhang, and Derá Ismáil Khán—at which about 4500 horses were exhibited in 1877-78, and a total sum of about £1300 was awarded in prizes ; the average price given for native cavalry remounts was only £17. In recent years much attention has been paid in the Punjab to the breeding of mules for military purposes ; and the value of these animals was conspicuously proved in the course of the operations in Afghánistán in 1879-80. Government maintains about fifty donkey stallions, of which four were imported from Spain, twenty-eight from Arabia, and twelve from Bokhara. Some of the mules bred reach the height of 15 hands. The catching of elephants is now a Government monopoly or under Government supervision, except in Malabar and Travancore where the old proprietors retain the right. The chief source of supply is the north-east frontier, especially the range of hills running between the valleys of the Brahmaputra and the Bárak (see ante, p. 742). Sheep and goats are commonly reared in the wilder parts of the country for the sake of their wool. Both their weight for the butcher and their yield of wool are exceedingly low. In Mysore, and with considerable success at the Saidapet farm, attempts, have been made to improve the breed of sheep by crossing with merino rams. Pigs of great size and most repulsive appearance are reared, and eaten by the lowest of out-castes.

==TABLE ==

The forest of India, both as a source of natural wealth and as a department of the administration, are beginning to receive their proper share of attention. Up to a recent date the destruction of forests by timber cutters, by charcoal burners, and above all by nomadic cultivation, was allowed to go on everywhere unchecked. The extension of cultivation was considered as the chief care of Government, and no regard was paid to the improvident waste going on all sides. But as the pressure of population on the soil became more dense, and the construction of railways increased the demand for fuel, the question of forest conservation forced itself into notice. It was recognized that the inheritance of future generations was being recklessly sacrificed to satisfy the immoderate desire for profit. And at the same time the importance of forests as affecting the general meteorology of a country was being learned from bitter experience in Europe. On many grounds, therefore, it became necessary to preserve what remained of the forests in India, and to repair the mischief of previous neglect even at considerable expense. In 1844 and 1847 the subject was actively taken up by the Governments of Bombay and Madras. In 1844 and 1847 the subject was actively taken up by the Governments of Bombay and Madras. In 1864 Dr Brandis was appointed inspector-general of forests to the Government of India, and in the following year an act of the legislature was passed (No. VII. of 1865). The regular training of candidates for the Forest Department in the schools of France and Germany dates from 1867. In the short interval has since elapsed, sound principles of forest administration have gradually extended. In-discriminate timber-cutting has been prohibited, the burning of the jungle by the hill tribes has been confined within bounds, large areas have been surveyed and demarcated, plantations have been laid out, and, generally, forest conservation has become a reality.

From the point of view of administration, the forests are classified, as "reserved" or "open." The reserved forests are those under the immediate control of officers of the Forest Department ; they are managed as the property of the state, with a single eye to conservancy and their future development as a source of national wealth. Their limits are demarcated after survey, nomadic cultivation by the hill tribes is prohibited, cattle are excluded from grazing, destructive creepers are cut down, and the hewing of timber, if permitted at all, is placed under stringent regulations. The open forests are less carefully guarded ; but in them also certain kinds of timber-trees are preserved. A third class of forest lands consists of plantations, on which large sums of money are spent annually. It is impossible of the Forest Department. In 1872-73 the total area of reserved forests in India was estimated at more than 6,000,000 acres ; and the area has probably been doubted since that date. In the same year the total forest revenue was £477,000, as compared with an expenditure of £295,000, thus showing a surplus of £182,000. By 1877-78 the revenue had increased to £664,102, of which £160,308 was derived from British Burmah, and £126,163 from Bombay. The forest exports in that year included—teak, valued at £406,652 ; lac and lac-dye, £362,008 ; caoutchouc, £89,381 ; and gums, £183,685. But no figures that can be given exhibit adequately the labour and the benefits of the Forest Department, which is gradually winning back for the country the fee-simple of her forest wealth, when it was on the point of being squandered beyond possibility of redemption.

The practice of nomadic cultivation by the hill tribes may conveniently be described in connexion with forest conservation, of which it is the most formidable enemy. In all the great virgin forests of India, in Arakan, on the north-east frontier of Assam and Chittagong, throughout the Central Provinces, and along the line of the Western Gháts, the aboriginal tribes raise their crops or rice, cotton, &c., in this manner. A similar system has been found to prevail in Madagascar ; and indeed, from its simplicity and its appropriateness it may fairly be called the most primitive mode of agriculture known to the human race. Known as toungya in Burmah, júm on the north-east frontier, dahya in Central India, kil in the Himálayas, and kumárí in the Western Gháts, it is practised, without any material differences, by tribes of the most diverse origin. Its essential features are the burning down of a patch of forest, and sowing the crop with little or no tillage on the clearing thus formed. The tribes of the western coast break up the cleared soil with a sort of hoe-pick and spade or even with the plough ; in other parts the soil is merely scratched with a knife, or the seed is scattered on its surface without any cultivation at all. In some cases, a crop is taken off the same clearing for two or even three years in succession, but more usually the tribe moves off every year to a fresh of operations. To these nomad cultivators the words rhetorically used by Tacitus of the primitive Germans are strictly applicable—Arva per annos mutant ; et supest ager. The wanton destruction thus wrought in the forests is simply incalculable. In addition to the timber-trees deliberately burned down to clear the soil, the fire thus started not unfrequently runs wild through the forest, and devastates many square miles. Wherever timber has any value from the proximity of a market, the first care of the Forest Department is to prohibit these fires, and to assign heavy penalties for any infringement of its rules. The success of a year’s operations is mainly estimated by the degree in which the reserves have been saved from the flame.

But vast tracts of country yet remain in which it would be equally useless and impossible to place restraint upon nomad cultivation, which is admitted to yield a larger profit than ordinary cultivation with the plough. A virgin soil, manured many inches deep with ashes and watered by the full burst or a tropical rainfall, returns forty and fifty-fold or rice, which is the staple grain thus raised. In addition to rice, Indian corn, millet, oil-seeds, and cotton are sometimes grown in the same clearing, the seeds being all thrown into the ground together, and each crop ripening in succession at its own season. Except to the eyes of a forests officer, a patch of júm cultivation is a very picturesque sight. Men, women, and children all work together with a will, for the trees must be felled burned, and the seed sown, before the monsoon breaks.

Irrigation is everywhere dependent upon the two supreme consideration of water supply and land level. The sandy desert that extends from the hills of Rájputána to the basin of the Indus is more absolutely closed to irrigation than the confused system of hill and valley in Central India. Father west, in the Indus valley, irrigation becomes possible, and in no part of India has it been conducted with greater perseverance and success. The entire province of Sind, and hardly less the lower districts of the Punjab, are absolutely dependent upon the floods of the Indus Sind has been compared to Egypt, and the Indus to the Nile ; but, in truth, the case of the Indian province is the less favourable of the two. In Sind the average rainfall is barely 10 inches in the year, the soil is a thirsty sand, and, above all, the river does not run in confined banks but wanders at its will over a wide valley. The rising of the Nile is a beneficent phenomenon, whose effects can be calculated with tolerable precision, and which the industry of countless generations has brought under control for the purposes of cultivation. In Sind the unundation is an uncontrolled torrent, which oftentimes does as much harm as good. Broadly speaking, no crop can be grown in Sind except under irrigation, and therefore the total cultivated area of about 3 million acres may be regarded as entirely dependent upon artificial water-supply. The supply is derived from the river by two main classes of canals—(1) inundation channels, which only fill when the Indus is in flood, and (2) perennial channels, which carry off water by means of dams at all season of the year. The former are for the most part the work of ancient rulers of the country, or of the cultivators themselves ; the latter have been constructed since the British conquest. In both cases care has been taken to utilize abandond channels of the river. It is impossible to present a complete view of the results of irrigation, for in some provinces, as in Sind, it is treated as a department of land administration, while in others it is almost entirely conducted by private enterprise.

In 1876-77 about 900,000 acres in Sind were returned as irrigated from works for which capital and revenue accounts are kept, the chief being the Ghár, Eastern and Western Nárá, Sakhar (Sukkur) Phuleli, and Pinyari ; the total receipts were about £190,000, almost entirely credited under the head of land revenue. In the same year about 445,000 acres were irrigated from works of which revenue accounts only kept, yielding about £75,000 in land revenue. Throughout the remainder of the Bombay presidency irrigation is conducted on a comparatively small scale, and mainly by private enterprise. In the Concan, along the coast, the heavy local rainfall and the annual flooding of the numerous small creeks permit rice to be grown without artificial aid. In Guzerat the supply is drawn from wells, and in the Deccan from tanks ; but both these are liable to fail in years of deficient rainfall. Government has now undertaken a few comprehensive schemes of irrigation, which mostly conform to a common type—damming up the end of a hill valley so as to form an immense reservoir, and then conducting the water over the fields by channels, which are in some cased of considerable length. In 1876-77 the total area in Bombay (excluding Sind) irrigated from Government works was about 180,000 acres, yielding a revenue of about £42,000. In the same year the total expenditure on irrigation (inclusive of Sind) was £235,000,—£65,000 under the head of extraordinary and £170,000 of ordinary outlay.

In some parts of Punjab irrigation is only one degree less necessary than in Sind, but the sources of supply are more numerous. In the northern tract, under the Himálayas, and in the upper valleys of the rivers, water can be obtained by digging wells from 10 to 30 feet below the surface. In the south, towards Sind, inundation channels are usual ; while the upland tracts that rice between the basins of the main rivers are now in course of being supplied by the perennial canals of the Government. Accoriding to returns for 1877-78, out of a grand total of 22,640,894 acres under cultivation, 5,000,481 were irrigated by private individuals and 1,618,854 by public channels, giving a total under irrigation of 6,619,335 acres, or 29 per cent of the cultivated area. The principal Government works are the Western Jumna canal, the Barí Doáh canal, and the Sirhind, the last of which, with the largest expenditure of all, is still incomplete. Up to the close of 1877-78 the total outlay had been £3,645,189 ; the total income in that year was £263,053, of which £171,504 was classified as direct and £91,549 as indirect ; the total revenue charges on works in operation were £224,316, of which £146,419 was for maintenance and £77,897 for interest, thus showing a surplus of £38,737. On the Western Jumna canal alone the net profit was £83,112.

The North-Western Provinces present in the great doáb, or high land between the Ganges and the Jumna, a continuation of the physical feature to be found in the Upper Punjab. The local rainfall, indeed, is higher, but before the days of artificial irrigation occasional deficiency repeatedly resulted in terrible famines. It is in this tract that the British Government has been perhaps most successful in averting the calamity of drought. In Sind irrigation is an absolute necessity ; in Lower Bengal it may be regarded almost as a luxury ; but in the great river basins of Upper India it serves the twofold object of saving the population from the vicissitudes of the season and of introducing more valuable crops and a higher stage of agriculture. Concerning private irrigation from wells in the North-Western Provinces no information is available. The great Government works are the Ganges canal, the Eastern Jumna cana., the Agra canals, and the Lower Ganges canal, the last of which is not yet complete. Up to the close of 1877-78 the total outlay had been £5,673,401. The gross income in that year was £438,136, of which £337,842 was derived from water rates and £100,294 from enhanced land revenue ; the working expenses amounted to £143,984, leaving £294,152 for surplus profits, or 6·77 per cent. on the total capital expended on works in operation. The total area irrigated was 1,461,428 acres, of which more than two-thirds were supplied by the Ganges canal. Of the total area, 415,659 acres were under wheat and 139,374 under sugar-cane.

Into Oudh no irrigation works have yet been introduced by Government. A tolerable local rainfall, the annual overflow of the rivers, and abundance of low-lying swamps combine to furnish a water supply that is ample in all ordinary years. According to the settlement returns, out of a total cultivated area of 8,276,174 acres, 2,957,397 acres, or nearly 36 per cent., are irrigated by private individuals ; but this figure must include low watered by natural overflow.

Throughout the greater part of Bengal there is no demand for artificial irrigation, but the solicitude of Government has undertaken to construct works in those exceptional tracts where experience has shown that occasional drought is to be feared. In the lower valleys of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, and along the deltaic seaboard, flood is a more formidable enemy than drought, and embankments there take the place of canals. The Public Works Department has altogether about 2800 miles of embankments under its charge, upon which £79,105 was expended in 1877-78, either as direct outlay or in advances to landowners. The broad strip of northern Bengal and Behar, stretching between the Himálayas and the Ganges, is also rarely visited by drought ; though, when drought does come, the excessive density of the population brings the danger of famine very near. In Sáran alone it has been found necessary to carry out a comparatively small scheme for utlitizing the discharge of the river Gandak. The great irrigation works in Bengal are two in number, and belong to two different types. (1.) In the delta of Orissa an extensive system of canals has been constructed on the pattern of those lower down on the Coromandel coast, which are intended to avert the danger of both drought and flood, and also to be useful for navigation. In average seasons, i.e., in five years out of six, the local rainfall is sufficient for the rice crop, which is there the sole staple of cultivation ; and therefore it is not to be expected that these canals will be directly remunerative. But on the other hand, if they save the province from a repetition of the disastrous year 1865-66, the money will not have been expended in vain. (2.) In South Behar the flood discharge of the Son has been intercepted, after the system of engineering followed in the North-West, so as to irrigate a comparatively thirsty strip of land extending along the south bank of the Ganges, where distress has ere now been severely felt. In this case also, the expenditure must be regarded rather as an insurance fund against famine than as reproductive outlay. The works are not yet complete, but the experience already gained proves that irrigation is wanted even in ordinary seasons. Up to the close of 1877-78 the total expenditure on capital account for all the irrigation works in Bengal was £4,653,903 ; the gross income for the year was £49,477 ; the working expenses were £70,286 ; and the estimated interest on capital, at 4 _ per cent., amounted to £203,971, thus showing a net deficit of £224,780. The are irrigated was about 400,000 acres.

In the Madras presidency, and generally throughout southern India, facilities for irrigation assume a decisive importance in determining the character of agriculture. Crops dependent on the rainfall are distinguished as "dry crops," comprehending the large class of millets. Rice can only be grown on "wet land," which means land capable of being irrigated. Except on the Malabar or western coast, the local rainfall is nowhere sufficiently ample or sufficiently steady to secure an adequate water supply. Everywhere else water has to be brought to the fields from rivers, from tanks, or from wells. Out of the total cultivated area of Madras, only 15 per cent. is classified as "wet land ;" the rest is at the mercy of the monsoons. From time immemorial in an industrious population has made use of all the means available to store up the rainfall and direct the river floods over their fields. The upland areas are studded with tanks, which sometimes cover square miles of ground the rivers are crossed by innumerable anicuts, or dams by which the floods are diverted into long aqueducts. Most of these works are now the property of Government, which annually expends large sums of money in maintenance and repairs, looking for remuneration only to the augmented land revenue . The average rate of assessment is 9s. 6d. per acre on irrigated land, as compared with only 2s. 3d. per acre on unirrigated land. It is, therefore, not only the duty but the manifest advantage of Government to extend the facilities for irrigation wherever the physical aspect of the country will permit. The deltas of the Godávari, the Kistna, and the Káveri (Cauvery) have within recent years been traversed by a network of canals and thus guaranteed against any risk of famine. Smaller works of a similar nature have been carried out in other places ;while a private company, with a Government guarantee, has under taken the more difficult task of utilizing on a grand scale the waters of the Tungabhadra amid the hills and vales of the interior. According to the latest statistics, the total irrigated area of the presidency is about 5 million acres, yielding a land revenue of about 2 millions sterling. Of this total, 1,680,178 acres, with a revenue of £739,778, are irrigated by eight great systems, for which revenue and capital accounts are kept. The minor works consist of about 35,000 tanks and irrigation canals, and about 1140 anicuts or dams across streams.

In Mysore, tanks, anicuts, and wells dug in the dry beds of rivers afford the means of irrigation, but wet cultivation is there even rarer than in Madras. After the disastrous famine of 1876-78 some comprehensive schemes of throwing embankments across river valleys were undertaken by Government. In the Central Provinces irrigation still remains a matter of private enterprise. According to the settlement returns, out of a total cultivated area of 13,610,503 acres, 804,370 acres, or 6 per cent., are irrigated by private individuals. The only Government works is a tank in the district of Nimár. In British Burmah, as in Lower Bengal, embankments take place of canals, being classed as "irrigation works" in the annual reports. Within the last few years Government has spent about £318,000 under this heading, in order to save the low rice-fields along the Irawadi from destructive inundation.

The following figures, applying to India as a whole, partially show how the Government has performed its duty as a landlord in undertaking productive public works. During the ten years ending March 1878 a total sum of £10,457,702 was expended on irrigation under the budget heading of "extraordianary," as compared with £18,636,321 expended on state railways in the same period. In the twelve months ending at the same date irrigation yielded a gross income of £495,142, as compared with £548,528 derived from state railways ; while £370,747 was charged to revenue account against irrigation and £420,754 against state railways.


749-1 The factory maund of indigo weighs 74 lb 10 oz.

752-1 Model farms have been abandoned in Bengal, in Assam, and in the Punjab. In the North-Western Provinces valuable experiments are prosecuted. In Bombay there are three model farms, and in the Central Provinces one, on which the common crops of the country are raised at a loss. The Saidapet farm, near the city of Madras, is the only establishment at which important experiments have been conducted on a scale and with a perseverance sufficient to yield results of value. This farm was started by the governor, Sir William Denison, in 1865, and has been for the past nine years under the management of Mr Robertson. It now (1881) covers an area of 250 acrres in a ring fence. Many important experiments have been made, of which some have produced encouraging results, indicating the general direction in which improvements may be effected in the agricultural practice of the presidency. It has been proved that many of the common "dry crops" can be profitably cultivated for fodder at all seasons of the year. Those most strongest recommended are yellow cholam (Sorghum vurgare), guinea grass (Panicum jumentaceum), and horse-gram (Dolichus uniflorus). Sugar-cane and rice also yield excellent fodder when cut green. Attention has also been given to subsoil drainage, deep ploughing, the fertilizing powers of various manures, and the proper utilization of irrigation water. It has been decided to establish a school of agriculture at Saidapet in connexion with the model farm, with subordinate branches in the districts, so as to diffuse as widely as possible the agricultural lessons that have been already learned. In the year 1877-78 the total expenditure at Saidapet on both farm and school of agriculture was about £6000.

Read the rest of this article:
India - Table of Contents

Search the Encyclopedia:

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries