Top 6 Agro-Based Industries in India

India is one of the top ten industrialized countries in the world. With her command over vast natural resources and huge manpower resources, she is developing at a rapid pace. Here is the list of the Top 6 Agro-Based Industries in India.


Agro-Based Industries #1

Sugar Industry

The sugar industry is the second-largest organized industry next to the cotton textile industry. Sugarcane is a cash crop. Products of sugarcane industries are sugar, gur, and khandsari.

By-products of Sugarcane Industries

  • Molasses: It is obtained during the process of manufacturing sugar. It is used in the alcohol industry for the distillation of liquor and for producing certain chemicals and synthetic rubber.
  • Bagasse: It is the leftover cane. It is used for producing steam which is a source of power for the sugarcane industry and is used for making wax, carbon paper, and shoe polish.
  • Press mud: is used for making wax, carbon paper, and shoe polish.

Distribution of Sugar Industries

  • As Maharashtra is the leading producer of sugar in India, the state has 119 sugar mills. Most of the mills are large.
  • Uttar Pradesh is the second-largest producer of sugarcane in India. Sugarcane factories are located in two belts—the Ganga Yamuna Doab (Saharanpur, Meerut, Bualndshahar, and Ghaziabad) and the Terai belt (Basti, Gonda, Gorakhpur, etc).
  • Other northern Indian states where sugar mills are located are Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat.
  • Peninsular India has emerged as a leading producer of sugar in India. Tamil Nadu has become the leading producer of sugar in the region because of its higher per hectare yield of sugarcane, higher sucrose content, and long crushing season.
  • Sugar factories are also located in Andhra Pradesh (Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Chittoor, etc.) and Karnataka (Belgaum, Bellary, Bijapur, etc.).

Sugar Industries have Shifted to the South because

  • The climate of South India is free from the effects of summer loo and winter frost which are suitable for growing superior varieties of sugarcane. The production period is also long.
  • Black soil is more fertile than the alluvial soil of north India. The sugarcane here is of superior quality with a higher yield.
  • The excellent transport facilities in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have resulted in an increased number of sugarcane mills in these regions.
  • The sugarcane farmers in South India have bigger areas and are managed by cooperative societies.

Problems Faced by Sugarcane Industries

  • Growth of poor quality of sugarcane with low sucrose content.
  • High cost of production because of low yield and short crushing season.
  • As maximum sugarcane is harvested at the same time, there is pressure on industries during the harvest time.
  • The supply of raw materials to sugar industries is irregular as no plantation industry exists around the factories.
  • Old and obsolete machinery is used in the sugar industry which has not been replaced by new machinery and modern technology.

Agro-Based Industries #2

Cotton Textile Industry

India is the third-largest cotton textile manufacturing country in the world after the USA and UK. It is also the third-largest exporter of cotton textiles. Nearly 40% of the country’s labour force is supported by this major industry. In India, Many cotton textile industries are located in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu.

They produce three-fourths of the total output of yarn. The remaining one-fourth is produced by West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

The cotton textile industry is located in almost all the Indian states. About half of the total cotton mills are located in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Mumbai is known as the ‘cottonpolis’ of India as it is the most important centre of cotton production.

Mumbai and Ahmedabad have emerged as the most important manufacturing centres because of the following reasons:

  • Both cities are located close to the cotton-growing areas of the Deccan Plateau.
  • Humid coastal climates have favoured the establishment of industries in both cities.
  • Connectivity of Mumbai and Ahmedabad by rail and road routes to cotton-growing regions and by sea routes to foreign markets.
  • Mumbai is the main port city and Ahmedabad uses port facilities from Kandla.
  • Many big and large financial centres are located in Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
  • The power supply in Mumbai and Ahmedabad is mostly regular. While power is supplied by the Tata hydroelectric system in Mumbai, Ukai and Kakrapara hydroelectric projects supply electricity to Gujarat.

Problems Faced by Cotton Textile Industries in India

  • The yarn in India is produced by small industries and units which largely cater to the local markets. Thus, while many spinners export cotton yarn, many garment manufacturers have to import fabric. Therefore, there is a mismatch between the two.
  • Most of the machinery installed in the cotton mills is outdated and needs to be replaced.
  • Irregular power supply has hampered production.
  • Uncertainty in procuring raw materials, low labour productivity, lack of modernization, etc. are some problems because of which sugar industries are running into loss.
  • The cotton industry is facing tough competition from the fibre industry.

Agro-Based Industries #3

Handloom and Khadi Industry

It is one of the oldest industries in India. The industry provides employment to about 10 million people and contributes over 23% of the total cloth production in the country. The khadi and handloom industries are located in many Indian states such as Tamil Nadu, Manipur, West Bengal, Nagaland, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Rajasthan.

Problems Faced by Khadi and Handloom Industries

  • Insufficient and inferior quality of raw materials
  • Lack of technical skills among poor craftsmen
  • Old and obsolete technology used in the industries
  • Goods which are produced are no match to modern fast-changing fashion and designs
  • Stiff competition faced by mill-made cloth
  • Lack of capital and cheap credit facilities.

Agro-Based Industries #4

Silk Textile Industry

India is one of the largest producers of silk in the world. It manufactures four varieties of silk—mulberry, eri, tussar and muga. The first modern silk industry was set up at Howrah by the East India Company.

Mulberry Silk

This silk accounts for about 90% of the total natural produced silk in India. Mulberry silk is produced from silkworms which are reared from mulberry trees. The rearing of silkworms for producing silk is known as sericulture. Mulberry silk is produced mainly in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Problems Faced by the Silk Industry

  • Competition from artificial silk
  • Import of better quality and cheap raw silk from China
  • No systematic testing and grading of silk
  • Lack modern power looms for increasing production

Agro-Based Industries #5

Woollen Industry

More than 80% of woollen mills are located in northern India. The main centres of woollen production are Delhi, Srinagar, Kanpur, Dhariwal, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Gwalior. The woollen industry in India is not as developed as the cotton textile industry because the demand for woollen clothes is less as they are required only for three to four winter months mainly in northern India. Peninsular India does not experience extreme winters; hence, the demand for woollen clothes in these regions is low.

Problems Faced by the Woollen Industry

  • India is a tropical country, and hence, woollen clothes are required only during the winter months in northern India.
  • Many people in India are poor and cannot spend on purchasing costly woollen clothes.
  • Good quality wool in India has to be imported. Synthetic fibres are replacing woollen industries.
  • Because cotton and synthetic clothes are more in demand, capitalists prefer to invest in cotton industries.
  • Many steps have been taken to improve the woollen industry in India. The government has started encouraging the production of good quality wool in India. Various sheep-breeding farms have been set up in northwest India. Merino and Corriedale sheep are imported and reared in the country.

Agro-Based Industries #6

Jute Industry

Jute Industry is the second important agro-based industry in India after the cotton textiles industry. It is one of the principal earners of foreign exchange. It produces gunny bags, hessian, coarse carpets, rugs, and cordage. Jute fibres are also used for packing goods.

Distribution of Jute Industry

The jute industry is mainly centred in the Hooghly region as jute is largely grown in the Ganga Delta and in the Lower Ganga Valley. Other important jute-growing areas in Bengal are Howrah, Titagarh, Jagatal, Map showing major textile industries in India Serampore, Bansberia, and Sibpur. Jute mills are also located in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh.

Factors Promoting the Jute Industry around Kolkata

  • The Hooghly valley is a part of the Ganga Valley where jute is predominantly grown.
  • The Ganga Brahmaputra Delta has fertile soil which gets renewed every year. This has increased jute production.
  • Humid climate and rainfall ranging 175–200 cm favour the growth of jute crop.
  • Plenty of freshwater for retting and cleaning is available from the River Hooghly.
  • Availability of labour from the neighbouring areas of Odisha and Uttar Pradesh has led to the growth of jute industries in the region.
  • Kolkata is a port city and is well-connected to the other parts of the country by rail and road.

Problems Faced by the Jute Industry

  • After Independence, nearly 70% of jute-producing areas went to Bangladesh. Thus, the industry suffers from inadequate supply of jute.
  • The jute industry in India faces tough competition from Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt and Thailand.
  • The industry is equipped with old and obsolete machinery. Costs of production have also risen.
  • Products of paper, plastic and hemp are widely used today as substitutes of jute products.

Remedial Steps Taken by the Government

  • A Jute Consultative Council has been set up to advice the government on the jute industry.
  • Many research programmes have been undertaken to extend the range of jute products. Some new jute products are tarpaulins, jute carpets etc.
  • Modern machinery has begun to be installed in jute industries.
  • Steps have been taken by the government to stabilise jute prices.

Agro-Based Industries in India #The End

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