Indian Geography / Agriculture
The classification of crops in India is done purely on the basis of food and cash crops. Of the two types of crops in India, food crops
are further classified as Cereals and Pulses and 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.
Types of Crops in India
Since our country follows Mixed Cropping pattern, we use the same field for different types of crops in India at the same time. India also
follows Crop Rotation where legume based crops are used in place of main crops for some duration. Sometimes, India also follows Fallowing where
the land will be kept idle for sometime after its usage so that soil replenishment happens naturally. Indian agriculture follows Mixed Farming in which
same land is meant for both Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.
Food Crops in India
Food crops in India comprise of Cereals and Pulses. Cereals are further classified as 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.
- 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 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.
- Different types of pulse crops in India 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, Hyderabad recommended 78 gm/day/head. We are importing pulses mainly from
- It is a cheap source of protein in Indian food. Deficiency in protein results in stunted growth.
Cash Crops in India
Cash crops in India comprise of Plantation crops, Horticulture crops, Oilseeds and Other cash crops. Plantation crops include rubber, coffee, tea, etc.
Horticulture crops include vegetables, fruits, spices, flowers, etc.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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 types of cash crops in India 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.