Major Food Crops grown in India

Major Food Crops grown in India
Posted on 20-08-2023

India possesses a diverse range of relief, soils, climates, and abundant sunlight, enabling the cultivation of nearly every type of crop. Different regions of the country can support crops that thrive in tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate climates. Indian crops can be categorized as follows:

Food Crops: Covering around three-fourths of the total cultivated area in India, these crops contribute about half of the total agricultural production value.

Rice: Rice is the foremost food crop, occupying about one-fourth of the cultivated land. It serves as a staple food in the Eastern and Southern regions of India. Rice cultivation occurs across a latitude range of 8°N to 30°N and elevations from sea level to 2500 meters. An average temperature of 24°C and an annual rainfall of 150 cm are required, with the 100 cm rainfall isohyet delineating rainfed rice cultivation limits. Even regions with less than 100 cm rainfall grow rice with irrigation, such as in Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh. Rice cultivation demands substantial low-cost labor and is dominant in fertile clayey or loamy soils, prevalent in river valleys, deltas, flood plains, and coastal regions. Key rice-producing areas include the Ganga plains, Coastal Plains, Brahmaputra valley, and parts of the Peninsular Plateau. Major producers include West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh.

Wheat: Following rice, wheat is a vital food crop, mainly grown in the Northern and North-western regions. It is a Rabi crop sown in winter and harvested in early summer, requiring winter temperatures of 10-15°C and summer temperatures ranging from 21-26°C. Ideal rainfall ranges from 75 cm to 100 cm, with the 100 cm isohyet marking the wheat-rice boundary. Well-drained fertile soils are favorable for wheat cultivation. India is the world's second-largest wheat producer after China, with significant growth driven by the Green Revolution Strategy. Prominent wheat-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana.

Maize: Maize, both a food and fodder crop, is primarily a Kharif crop sown before the monsoon and harvested afterward. It thrives in temperatures of 21-27°C and requires 50-100 cm rainfall. Maize cultivation is dominant in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan.

Millets: Millets, short-duration grasses suitable for areas where other food crops struggle, include Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, and more. These crops endure varied temperature ranges and require 20-30 cm to 100 cm of rainfall. They are grown on diverse soils and contribute to agricultural diversity.

Pulses: Among pulses, Tur or Arhar is vital, accounting for a significant portion of production. Tur requires mild and cool conditions with temperatures of 20-25°C and 40-50 cm rainfall. Maharashtra is the leading producer.


India's extensive geographical expanse supports a diverse range of major crops, making it a central hub for agricultural activities that contribute to both its heritage and economy.

India boasts a wide array of major crops, encompassing both food and non-food varieties. Among the notable food grains are rice, wheat, maize, millet, and pulses. Cash crops include cotton, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and oilseeds. The country also cultivates plantation crops like tea, coffee, coconut, and rubber, along with horticultural crops like fruits and vegetables.

As the second-largest global producer of agricultural products, India heavily relies on agriculture, supporting 60 percent of its population. However, the population growth is straining the production of vital crops such as rice and wheat, necessitating substantial investments in construction, marketing, and storage.

India experiences distinct cropping seasons:

  1. Rabi Season (October to December, harvested April to June): Key crops include wheat, barley, peas, gram, and mustard. Prominent states for rabi crops are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

  2. Kharif Season (June to July, harvested September to October): Crops encompass rice, maize, jowar, bhajra, cotton, groundnut, and more. Major states for kharif cultivation are Assam, West Bengal, Orissa's coastal areas, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharashtra.

  3. Zaid Season (March to July, between Rabi and Kharif): Focused on seasonal fruits, vegetables, and fodder crops, prevalent across northern and northwestern regions.

Rabi crops, sown in October and harvested in March or April, include wheat, barley, mustard, and sesame. Key states are Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh. Favorable winter precipitation from western temperate cyclones aids their growth, with the Green Revolution further propelling progress.

Kharif crops, sown with the onset of monsoon in June/July and harvested September/October, encompass rice, millets, cotton, soybean, sugarcane, and paddy. Prominent rice-growing regions include Assam, West Bengal, Odisha's coastal areas, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.

India's diverse food crops include rice, wheat, millets, maize, and pulses. These crops are essential for feeding the population, necessitating optimal cultivation techniques and agricultural tools.

Non-food or industrial crops like cotton, jute, tobacco, rubber, flax, and hemp play a role in boosting rural income and driving economic growth.

Key crops grown abundantly in India include rice, millets, wheat, pulses, sugarcane, horticultural products, coffee, tea, rubber, jute, and cotton.

Rice, wheat, and millets are critical food crops. Sugarcane, oilseeds, coffee, tea, rubber, and jute are essential cash crops.

Rice, a Kharif crop, dominates a third of India's cultivated land and sustains over half of its population. Major rice-growing states are West Bengal, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh, with additional cultivation in Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Andhra Pradesh. Rice requires specific rainfall and temperature conditions, with varied cultivation methods.

Wheat, a rabi crop, holds a significant place after rice. It thrives in north and northwest India's winter climate. Major wheat-producing states include Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana.

Maize, known as the "queen of cereals," grows during the monsoon season. It is sensitive to moisture and temperature fluctuations.

Millets, such as Jowar, Bajra, and Ragi, serve as both food and fodder in hot climates. Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan are key producers.

Pulses provide essential protein for vegetarians. Notable pulses include Gram and Tur.

Oilseeds are versatile, with 7 edible and 2 non-edible varieties. They are grown in several states.

Sugarcane, crucial for sugar and other products, flourishes in tropical and subtropical regions.

Tea is a vital beverage crop, with Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala as major producers.

Coffee grows best in specific climatic conditions, with Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu as major producers.

Rubber, derived from tropical tree latex, requires high humidity and temperature. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka are key rubber-producing states.

Cotton, a significant fiber and oilseed crop, grows well in various tropical and subtropical areas.

Jute, a natural fiber crop, is cultivated mainly in eastern and northeastern India.

Agriculture is pivotal for India, supporting nearly half of its population and contributing 14 percent to GDP. The country's geographical diversity and climatic range facilitate the cultivation of various crops. Food crops account for the majority, while crops like cotton and jute enhance rural income.

Storage is crucial for preserving food grains, necessitating proper conditions to prevent pest infestation and fungal growth.

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