Major Crops in India
- Cereas and pulses
- Non-food crops
India is the second largest producer of rice; after China. It requires high temperature (above 25°C), high humidity and annual rainfall above 100 cm. However, it can be grown with the help of suitable irrigation in areas of less rainfall. Rice is grown in the northern plains, northeast India, coastal areas and deltaic regions. Now-a-days, rice is also grown in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and in parts of Rajasthan. This has been possible because of development of a dense network of canals.
Wheat is the main food crop in north and north-western parts of India. Wheat needs 50 to 75 cm of annual rainfall which should be evenly distributed over the growing season. The Ganga-Sutlej plains in the northwest and black soil region of Deccan are the two important wheat-growing zones in India. Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and parts of Madhya Pradesh are the important wheat producing regions.
Jowar, bajra and ragi are the important millets grown in India. Millets are known as coarse grains, but they have very high nutritional value.
- Jowar: Maharashtra is the largest producer of jowar; followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Jowar grows in moist areas and hardly needs irrigation.
- Bajra: Bajra grows well on sandy soil and shallow black soil. Rajasthan is the largest producer of bajra; followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
- Ragi: Ragi grows in dry regions on red, black, sandy loamy and shallow black soils. Karnataka is the largest producer of ragi; follower by Tamil Nadu.
Maize is used both as food and fodder. It grows well in old alluvial soil and requires a temperature range of 21°-27°C. Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are the major maize-producing states.
India is the largest producer of pulses in the world. It is also the largest consumer of pulses. Pulses are usually produced in rotation with other crops. UP, MP, Rajasthan and Karnataka are the major pulse-producing states.
Sugarcane needs hot and humid climate. It requires temperature range of 21°-27°C and rainfall of 75 cm to 100 cm. India is the second largest producer of sugarcane, while Brazil is the number one. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana are major sugar producing states.
India is the largest producer of oilseeds. Groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesame, soyabean, castor, cotton seeds, linseed and sunflower are the main oilseeds grown in India.
Groundnut accounts for about half of the major oilseeds produced in the country. Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of groundnut; followed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Groundnut is a kharif crop. Linseed and mustard are rabi crops. Sesame is a kharif crop in north and rabi crop in south. Castor is grown both as rabi and kharif crops.
Tea plants grow well in tropical and sub-tropical climates; in deep and fertile well drained soil. The soil should be rich in humus and organic matter. Tea is a labour intensive industry. Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are major tea-producing states. The hills of Darjeeling are famous for the unique quality of tea produced there. India is the leading producer of tea in the world.
Coffee is also grown in plantations. Initially, the Arabica variety was brought from Yemen and produced in India. The cultivation of coffee was initially introduced on the Baba Budan Hills.
India is a producer of tropical as well as temperate fruits. 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.
India is the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. India produces about 13 per cent of the world’s vegetables. It is an important producer of pea, cauliflower, onion, cabbage, tomato, brinjal and potato.
Rubber is a crop of equatorial region but it is also grown tropical and subtropical regions. It needs moist and humid climate with rainfall more than 200 cm. A temperature range above 25°C is required for rubber plantation. In India, rubber is mainly grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andaman & Nicobar islands and also in the Garo hills of Meghalaya. India is the fifth largest rubber producer in the world.
India is the third-largest producer of cotton. Cotton grows in dry pats of black cotton soil of the Deccan plateau. High temperature, light rainfall or irrigation, 210 frost-free days and bright sunshine are required for the growth of cotton. The crop requires 6 to 8 months to mature. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are the main cotton producing states.
Jute needs well-drained fertile soils of the flood plains. West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Orissa and Meghalaya are the major jute producing states.