Types of Crops in India

India has several types of soils, water resources, soil fertility levels, climate, and climatic conditions, due to which different types of crops in India. The most widely grown crops in India are field crops.  The major crop-growing states in India are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Chhattisgarh.

Major Types of Crops in India

There are three 3 Major categories/ types of crops base on the season that they are grown in India:

  • Rabi
  • Kharif 
  • Zaid

The names given to the seasonal crop categories were provided during the Mughal rule and are in Arabic.  

Another categorization of the types of crops in India is cash crops, food crops, horticulture crops, and plantation crops.   The following lists enumerate some of the crops that fall in each category.

Cash Crops:

  • Cotton
  • Jute 
  • Oilseeds 
  • Sugarcane
  • Tobacco 
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Millets
  • Maize
  • Pulses
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Rubber

Food Crops:

  • Wheat
  • Maize
  • Rice
  • Millets
  • Pulses

Horticulture crops (horticultural crops can be cash crops, too)

  • Fruits, such as Mulberry, Apple, Mango, Guava, and Watermelon
  • Vegetables, such as potato, onion, tomato, cabbage, peas

Plantation Crops:

  • Coffee
  • Coconut
  • Tea
  • Rubber

Let us look at the Rabi, Kharif, and Zaid crops in a little detail.

Rabi:

  • Sown in winter and harvested in summer.  Also referred to as spring or winter crop. 
  • Crops belonging to the Rabi produce grow mainly in India in the northern and northwestern regions.        These are:
  • Punjab
  • Haryana
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu & Kashmir
  • Uttaranchal
  • Uttar Pradesh.

In the Rabi season, fruits, lentils, vegetables, cereals, and plants that are grown for their seed are sown and harvested. Here are some of the crops grown under each category during the Rabi season.

Vegetables:

  • beans
  • beetroot
  • brinjal
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • capsicum
  • carrot
  • cauliflowers
  • chickpea
  • fenugreek
  • garlic
  • ladyfinger
  • onion
  • potato
  • radish

Seed Plants:

  • red gram
  • sunflower
  • linseed
  • isabgol
  • mustard
  • bengal gram
  • alfalfa
  • coriander
  • fenugreek
  • cumin

Lentils / legumes / pulses (dal):

  • mung bean
  • chickpea
  • pigeon pea
  • toria
  • urad bean
  • kulthi
  • lobia
  • masoor

Fruits:

  • banana
  • kinno
  • grape
  • grapefruit
  • mango
  • guava
  • lemon
  • lime
  • mulberry
  • orange
  • date
  • mandarin orange

Cereals

  • bajra
  • buckwheat
  • gram
  • linseed
  • mustard seeds
  • oatmeal (Avena sativa)
  • rapeseed
  • wheat

Kharif

  • Sown in monsoon and harvested end of monsoon.  These crops get their moisture from the southwest monsoon winds.
  • Kharif crops mostly grow in the following states:
  • Assam
  • West Bengal
  • Odisha
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Telangana
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Kerala
  • Maharashtra

In the Kharif season, fruits, lentils, vegetables, cereals, and plants that are grown for their seed are sown and harvested. Here are some of the crops grown under each category during the Kharif season.

Vegetables:

  • bitter gourd
  • brinjal
  • green bean
  • sponge gourd
  • tinda
  • tomato
  • turmeric

Seed Plants:

  • groundnut
  • sesame

Lentils / Pulses / Legumes (dal)

  • arhar(tur)
  • green gram
  • guar
  • moth bean
  • mung bean
  • soybean
  • urad bean

Cash crop:

  • Cotton

Fruits:

  • luffa
  • muskmelon
  • orange
  • sugarcane
  • watermelon

Cereals:

  • jowar
  • maize (corn)
  • millet
  • rice

Zaid Crops:

  • Sown all through the summer season for four months. 
  • Zaid is the crop growing season between the Rabi and the Kharif seasons.
  • Zaid crops need dry and warm weather during most of the period of growth.
  • They required long days for flowering to happen. 
  • Zaid crops mature early.
  • It is also called the summer crop, and its main crops are the traditional summer crops
  • Crops belonging to the Zaid time grow mainly in India’s northern and western regions. The states growing Zaid crops in India are:
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Punjab
  • Haryana
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Gujarat

List of Zaid Crops:

  • bitter gourd
  • certain coarse cereals
  • corn
  • cucumber
  • fooder crops
  • muskmelon
  • pepper
  • pumpkin
  • rice
  • tomato
  • watermelon 

Food Crops and Cash Crops in India

Let us now look at the food crop and cash crop categorization of the various crops in India.

Crops, referred to as food crops, are grown for personal use or human consumption and not for marketing, for example, rice.

Crops referred to as cash crops are grown for business rather than for personal use—for example, cotton.  

Let us look at these two categories in some detail.

Difference Between Cash Crops and Food Crops:

Food CropsCash Crops
Gathered for human consumptionMost of them are harvested to be sold commercially
Generally grown in a small area of landGrown on large fields
Cultivation cost is not very highCultivation cost goes up due to the need for specialized fertilizers and expensive equipment.
Do not influence household income in a big way. Neither income nor employment is spread equitably across households.

India’s Plantation Crops

India was introduced to plantation agriculture through the Europeans. 

Plantation crops began with being grown on India’s east coast.  Currently, they are more found in south India. Plantation crops are mostly commercial crops that are great influencers in India’s economic stability.

Several plantation crops are grown in India. These are:

  • Arecanut
  • Betel Vine
  • Cashewnut
  • Cocoa
  • Coconut
  • Coffee
  • Oil Palm
  • Palmyrah
  • Rubber
  • Tea

Here is a list of major crops grown in India along with their top producing states

CropsThird Highest ProducerSecond Highest ProducerHighest Producer
BajraGujaratUttar PradeshRajasthan
BarleyMadhya PradeshUttar PradeshRajasthan
Castor seedAndhra PradeshRajasthanGujarat
Coarse CerealsMadhya PradeshKarnatakaRajasthan
CoffeeTamilnaduKeralaKarnataka
CottonTelanganaMaharashtraGujarat
Food GrainsPunjabMadhya PradeshUttar Pradesh
GramRajasthanKarnatakaMadhya Pradesh
GroundnutTamilnaduRajasthanGujarat
JowarTamilnaduKarnatakaMaharashtra
JuteAssamBiharWest Bengal
MaizeBiharMadhya PradeshKarnataka
MoongTamilnaduAndhra PradeshRajasthan
Niger SeedChhattisgarhOrissaMadhya Pradesh
Other PulsesRajasthanUttar PradeshMadhya Pradesh
PulsesMaharashtraRajasthanMadhya Pradesh
RagiUttarakhandTamilnaduKarnataka
RicePunjabUttar PradeshWest Bengal
SesamumUttar PradeshMadhya PradeshWest Bengal
Small Millets KharifAndhra PradeshMadhya PradeshUttarakhand
SoybeanRajasthanMaharashtraMadhya Pradesh
SugarcaneKarnatakaMaharashtraUttar Pradesh
SunflowerAndhra PradeshHaryanaKarnataka
TeaTamilnaduWest BengalAssam
TobaccoAssamBiharWest Bengal
TurKarnatakaMaharashtraMadhya Pradesh
UradTamilnaduAndhra PradeshMadhya Pradesh
WheatPunjabMadhya PradeshUttar Pradesh

Conclusion

You need to know the various types of crops in India as this information is critical for general knowledge.  Do remember that based on various factors, you can make several different categorizations of crops in India. 

FAQ

Which state in India is the Highest Producer of Rice?

The highest rice-producing state of India is West Bengal.

Based on the season, what are the three categories of crops in India?

The three categories of crops in India, based on the seasons, are Rabi, Kharif, and Zaid.

Which category of crops does sugarcane fall into?

Sugarcane is a Kharif crop and is a cash crop.


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