India is an agriculturally important country. 2/3rd of India is dependent or work in agriculture activities. Various types of crops are grown in our country like food and fibre crops, vegetables, spices etc. India has 3 cropping season known as Rabi, Kharif and zaid.
Rabi are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June. Wheat, mustard, barley, peas and grams are some rabi crops. These crops are grown in large parts of India, states from the north and northwestern parts such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh are important for the production of wheat and other rabi crops.
Kharif crops are grown With the coming of monsoon in different parts of the country and these are harvested in September-October.
Important crops grown during this season are paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar), moong, urad, cotton, jute, groundnut and soyabean. Some of the most important rice-growing regions are Assam, West Bengal, coastal regions of Orissa, Andnra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra, particularly the (Konkan coast) along with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Recently, paddy has also become an important crop of Punjab and Haryana.
Zaid are sown between the rabi and kharif crops i.e. in short season between rabi and kharif. Watermelons, cucumber, vegetables etc are the zaid crops.
Major crops shown in India
A variety of food and non food crops are grown in different parts of the country depending upon the variations in soil, climate and cultivation process.
- Rice: It is the food crop of a majority of the people in India. Our country is the second largest producer of rice in the world after China. It is a kharif crop which requires high temperature, (above 25°C) and high humidity with annual rainfall above 100 cm.
- Wheat: This is the second most important cereal crop in India and main food in north western part of country. It require 50-75cm annual rainfall. The major wheat producing states are Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh , Bihar, Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh.
- Millets: Jowar, bajra and ragi are the important millets grown in India. They have very high nutritional value. Jowar is the third most important food crop with respect to area and production. It is a rain-fed crop mostly grown in the moist areas which hardly needs irrigation. Maharashtra is the largest producer of jowar followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Bajra grows well on sandy soils and black soil. Rajasthan is the largest producer of bajra followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana. Ragi is a crop of dry regions and grows well on red, black, sandy, loamy and shallow black soils. Karnataka is the largest producer of ragi followed by Tamil Nadu.
- Maize: It is a crop which is used both as food and fodder. It is a kharif crop which requires temperature between 21°C to 27°C and grows well in old alluvial soil. In some states like Bihar maize is grown in rabi season also. Major maize-producing states are Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
- Pulse: India is the largest producer as well as consumer of pulses in the world. Some pulses are arhar, urad, moong, masur, peas, gram etc. M.P, U.P, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka are the major pulse producing states.
Fruits and Vegitables
India is largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. India produces about 13% of world’s vegetables. Mangoes of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, oranges of Nagpur and Cherrapunjee (Meghalaya), bananas of Kerala, Mizoram, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, lichi and guava of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, pineapples of Meghalaya, grapes of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, apples, pears, apricots and walnuts of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are in great demand the world over.
Food crops other than grains
- Sugarcane: India is the Second largest producer of sugarcane after Brazil. It grows well in hot and humid climate with a temperature of 21°C to 27°C and an annual rainfall between 75 cm to 100cm. The major sugarcane producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.
- Oil seeds: India is the largest producer of oilseed: in the world. Main oil seeds produced in India are groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesamum (til), soyabean, castor seeds, cotton seeds, linseed and sunflower. Most of these are used as cooking mediums. Groundnut is a kharif crop. Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of groundnut followed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra - mustard is rabi crops.
- Tea: Major tea producing states are Assam, hills of Darjeeling, west bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. India is largest producer as well as exporter of tea in the world.
- Coffee: India produces about 4% of world's coffee production. It is cultivated in nilgiri of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Non food crops
- Rubber: It requires moist and humid climate with rainfall more than 200 cm and temperature above 25°C. It is mainly grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka. and Andaman and Nicobar islands and Garo hills of Meghalaya. India ranks fifth among the world’s natural rubber producers
- Fibre crops: Cotton, jute, hemp and natural silk are the four major fibre crops grown in India.
- India is 3rd largest producer of cotton in world. Cotton grows well in drier parts of the black cotton soil of the Deccan plateau. It requires high temperature, light rainfall or irrigation, 210 frost-free days and bright sunshine for its growth. It is a kharif crop and requires 6 to 8 months to mature. Major cotton-producing states are - Maharashtra. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
- Jute: it is also know as golden fibre. It requires fertile soil in flood plains and high temperature during the time of growth. West Bengal, Bihar, Assam , Orissa and meghalaya are major jute producing states.