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Indian Geography / Agriculture

Classification of Crops in India


    The classification of crops in India is done purely on the basis of food crops and cash crops. Food crops are further classified as Cereals and Pulses. Similarly cash crops are further classified into Plantation crops, Horticulture crops, Oilseeds and Other cash crops. Indian agriculture is at intensive subsistence level which means it is a kind of farming in which crops that are grown, are consumed by the farmer himself and his family.

    Indian agriculture follows Mixed Farming in which same land is meant for both Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. India also follows Mixed Cropping format in which the same field is used for different crops at the same time. It also follows Crop Rotation where legume based crops are used in place of main crops for some duration. Sometimes, it also follows Fallowing where the land will be kept idle for sometime after its usage so that soil replenishment happens naturally.

    Major Crops of India

    • Food Crops -
      • Food crops comprise of Cereals and Pulses. Cereals are further classified Fine Cereals and Coarse Cereals. Rice and Wheat constitute Fine Cereals. Coarse Cereals can be Millets or Non-Millets. Millets include Ragi, Jowar, Bajra, etc. and Non-Millets include Maize, Barley, etc.
      • Fine Cereals -
        • Rice - Rice generally grows in a high temperature ( > 250C ) and high rainfall ( > 100 cm ) regions having high humidity. Loamy soils are suitable for rice cultivation but it can also be cultivated on any soil. It requires waterlogged conditions. It is normally cultivated in Kharif season, but if water is available it can also be cultivated in Rabi season also. Eastern Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Malabar, Andhra Pradesh are the rice zones of India.
        • Wheat - Wheat generally requires moderate temperature and moderate rainfall of 50-75 cm. It is normally cultivated in winter i.e. Rabi season. It is generally grown in North India and the Southern limit is from Belgaum in Karnataka to Adilabad in Telangana. 80% wheat cultivation in India is done under irrigated conditions. Rice and wheat are staple foods of India.
      • Coarse Cereals -
        • Coarse cereals like Jowar, Ragi, Bajra, Maize, etc. are cultivated in Kharif season. They are generally cultivated in rainfed areas. But the area under coarse cereal cultivation is going down. As more number of dams are constructed, people are going more towards high yielding crops. In addition to that there is shift in dietary habits of the people. Government policy of Minimum Support Price ( MSP ) for other crops is also one more cause for its decline.
        • Bajra - The area of North Gujarat and Western Rajasthan is the Bajra zone of India. The largest producer of Bajra in India is Rajasthan. It is also cultivated in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Haryana. Bajra requires less water for its cultivation.
        • Jowar - Half of India's Jowar comes from Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh.
        • Ragi - The largest producer of Ragi in India is Karnataka which is followed by Tamil Nadu. The Northern limit of Ragi cultivation is Odisha.
        • Maize - Maize, which is a Kharif crop, is cultivated throughout India. The area under cultivation of maize is expanding. The main producers of Maize are Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh,Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
      • Pulses -
        • Different types of pulses are Peas, Lentils, Red gram, Green gram, Black Gram, etc. Pulses are cultivated only under Rainfed areas that is in Drylands. Cultivation of pulses is more in Central India.
        • The production and yield levels since independence is stagnant for pulses. It is one of the area of concern in Indian agriculture. Per capita availability of pulses is around 34 gm/day/head, but National Institution of Nutrition recommended 78 gm/day/head. We are importing pulses mainly from Myanmar.
        • It is a cheap source of protein in Indian food. Deficiency in protein results in stunted growth.
    • Cash Crops -
      • Plantation Crops -
        • Tea - Tea is a Temperate crop. It requires cooler climate and high rainfall ( > 200 cm ) for its cultivation. It is grown in well drained slopes. India remains the second largest producer of tea in the world after China. Tea is grown mainly in Assam ( > 50% of India ), Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal and Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu.
          Tea Research Association is located at Tocklai in Assam.
        • Coffee - Coffee is mainly a Tropical crop. It generally requires high temperature and high rainfall and is grown in well drained slopes. 80% of Coffee is grown in Western ghats of Karnataka, which is called Coffee state of India. The remaining Coffee is grown in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh hills.
        • Rubber - Rubber is mainly a Tropical crop. It requires temperature of more than 250C and rainfall of more than 200 cm. It is also grown in well drained slopes. 90% of Rubber is grown in Kerala, which is called Rubber state of India. The remaining are grown in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. India ranks fourth among world's largest natural rubber producers.
      • Horticulture Crops - Horticulture crops include vegetables, fruits, spices, flowers, etc.
        • Fruit Cultivation - India contributes 10% of world fruit production. It ranks number one in Mango, Banana and Grapes production. Mango accounts for about 39% of area of fruit cultivation in India and about 23% of total fruit production and about 54% of total world's mango production. After mango, citrus fruits occupy maximum area of cultivation followed by Banana.
        • Vegetables - India ranks second in producing vegetables after China and accounts for 13% of world's vegetable production. India ranks number one in Cauliflower, Cabbage and Onion production in the world.
        • Spices - Chillies account for around 33% of total spices production followed by Turmeric ( 22% ). Andhra Pradesh remains the largest producer of chillies and turmeric. India ranks number one in the world in Cashew production, Cashew processing and Cashew export. It contributes to 45% of world's Cashew production.
      • Oilseeds -
        • Two principal oilseeds in India are Groundnut and Mustard and to some extent oil palms and sunflower. Groundnut is grown in Kathiawar plains, Eastern Gujarat plains and Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. Mustard is grown in Great Northern Plains. Oil palms are grown in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
        • Due to Yellow Revolution, India turned from Net importer status in oil to Net exporter status in oil seeds. In Yellow Revolution, Soya as well as other High yielding variety seeds were introduced and at the same time MSP was announced for oilseeds and subsidies were provided to oilseed farmers.
      • Other Cash Crops - Other cash crops include Sugarcane, Cotton, Jute, Tobacco, etc.
        • Sugarcane - India is positioned at second place in the world in terms of area and production of the sugarcane after Brazil. Sugarcane requires a temperature of 20-260C and rainfall of 150 cm. Sugarcane is grown in the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, etc.
        • Cotton - India ranks second in terms of area after USA and ranks third in the world in Cotton production after USA and China. Cultivation of cotton requires a temperature range of 20-300C and a rainfall of 50-75 cm. The crop will not be able to tolerate water-logging. Cotton is grown in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, Haryana, Karnataka, etc.
        • Jute - India is the largest producer of Jute having a share of around 60% in the world. It requires a temperature of 24-350C and high water supply.The main Jute producing states in India are West Bengal, Bihar, Assam and Odisha.
        • Tobacco - India is positioned third in the world in tobacco production after China and USA. It requires an average rainfall of less than 50 cm and a temperature range of 16-400C and it will not be able to tolerate frost. Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat are the chief tobacco producing states of India.