Soil is the most important resource. Wheat, rice and millets, pulses, oilseeds, beverages, vegetables and fruits, all are obtained from soil. Other food items such as poultry, meat and milk are animal products. Besides, food timber, fibers, rubber, herbs and medicinal plants are also obtained from the soil.
Type of soil
• The alluvial soils are made up of fine silt deposited by rivers. It is one of the most fertile soils of the world. These are found in the northern plains and the river-deltas. Very fine and relatively new alluvium found in the flood-plains and the delta of the Ganga-Brahmaputra is known as Khadar. Relatively old and coarse alluvium is known as Bhangar. It is found on the upper sides of river valleys.
• The black soils are made up of volcanic rocks of lava flows. They are clayey and retain moisture for a long period. These soils are fertile. They are found mainly in the Deccan trap region of Maharashtra and parts of M.P. and Gujarat. These soils are most suited for raising cotton crops. They are also known as black cotton soils. Locally, these soils are called Regur soils.
• The red soils are derived from igneous rocks in the hot and relatively dry parts of the southern and the eastern parts of the Indian peninsula. These soils are less fertile. However, with the use of fertilizers they can produce good crops.
• The laterite soils are found in hot and Western Ghats, the Chhota Nagpur plateau and some parts of the north-eastern states. Due to heavy rainfall, the nutrients of the top soil percolate downward. This process is known as leaching. These soils are deficient in humus and hence less fertile.
• Mountainous soils: In the mountainous region of the Himalayas, soil cover is generally thin. Valleys have comparatively thicker cover. Soils of such regions are known as mountainous soils. Sandy soils found in the arid region of Rajasthan and Gujarat are classified as desert soil. These are loose in structure and lack soil-moisture.