Over 76 percent of the people are dependent on agriculture. Out
of the gross cropped area of 87.46 lakh hectares, 18.79 lakh hectares are
irrigated. Rice, pulses, oil seeds, jute, mesta, sugarcane, coconut and turmeric
are important crops. There are also cash crops like tea, cotton and rubber. The
state contributes one-tenth of the rice production in India. Apart from irrigation, floods, droughts, low yield per hectare
and division and fragmentation of holidays are the most important agricultural
problem of the state. Jute, gram, sesame, ragi, mustard, rape and maize are
second-ranking crops in different districts. District-wise, jute ranks second in
Cuttack and Balasore, gram in Puri and Phulabani. Maize in Mayurbhanj.
Food grains include cereals, millets and pulses. Among cereals,
the most important crop was rice. It was followed by ragi, maize, wheat, small
millets and bajra. All these, except wheat are coarse cereals and belong to
hardier crops which are mostly cultivated in the middle mountainous and rolling
uplands and plateaus of Orissa. Whereas rice is confined to the coastal plains,
the river valleys and Hirakud command areas where alluvial soil is found. Coarse
cereals are of major importance in Orissa both in production and productivity.
RICE. Among the cereals rice is the most dominant crop. It is
concentrated in areas of Cuttack, Sambalpur, Puri, Ganjam, Baleshwar, Koraput,
Kendujhar and Kalahandi. Rice cultivation is mostly confined to the alluvial
coastal plains and river valleys below the 305 meter contour line because of
ideal topographical and soil conditions.
Gram, tur and arhar are the major pulses grown in Orissa. The
pulses can be broadly divided into kharif and rabi crops. Irrigated tracts like
the Mahanadi delta, the Rushikulya plains and the Hirakud and Badimula regions
are the prominent pulse growing areas of Orissa. Production of pulses are
concentrated in districts like Cuttack, Puri, Kalahandi, Koraput, Dhenkanal,
Balangir and Sambalpur.
Sesameum, groundnut, mustard, castor and linseed are the
principal oilseeds grown in Orissa. Oilseeds are categorized as kharif and rabi
crops. Rabi oilseeds are grown as a second crop after the cereals are harvested.
Among the oilseeds, groundnut and castor are the hardier crops and are grown in
marginal and sub-marginal lands.
Oilseed cultivation is concentrated in districts like
Cuttack, Koraput, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Sambalpur, Dhenkanal and Ganjam. All these are
located in a less hospitable terrain.
Coconut is mostly confined to the coastal plains because of the
high salinity of the soil. Unlike Kerala, in Orissa coconut is primarily grown
as a fruit crop. Except coconut, all other oilseeds are seasonal in character.
Except Cuttack district, all the other major oilseeds producing
districts are located either in the middle mountainous or rolling uplands of
Orissa, where the edaphic and climatic conditions are favourable. While
Dhenkanal is the leading til producing district, Baleshwar leads in mustard and
Cuttack in groundnut production.