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Major Food Crops in India

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India is geographically very extensive, because of which it has many major crops. India can be described as the hub of various agricultural activities which has both food and non-food crops, restoring the country’s heritage and economy.

Major Crops of India

The major crops grown in India includes Rice, Wheat, and Maize. Indian population depends on these pulses and major cultivation takes place around the country. 

Major crops in India include the food grains- rice, wheat, maize, millet, and pulses. The cash crops include cotton, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and oilseeds. Plantation crops include tea, coffee, coconut, and rubber. Horicultural crops include fruits and vegetables.

India is now the world’s second-largest producer of agricultural products. Agriculture provides 60 percent of the population. The population of India is outpacing the country’s ability to produce rice and wheat, which are major crops in India. The money required to construct, market and store is projected to be huge.

Cropping Seasons in India

Cropping Season Time Period Crops States
Rabi Season Sown between: October to December. And harvested: April to June Wheat, barley, peas, gram, mustard, etc. Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Kharif Season Sown between June and July. Harvested between September and October Rice, maize,jowar, bhajra, moong, cotton, groundnut, etc. Assam, West Bengal, coastal areas of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra.
Zaid Season Sown between March- July, which is between Rabi and Kharif season Seasonal fruits, vegetables, fodder crops,, etc. Most parts of northern and northwestern states.

Rabi and Kharif Crops

Rabi Crops

Rabi crop is the spring harvest or also known as the winter crop in India. It is sown in October last and harvested in March or April every year. Some of the major rabi crops in India include Wheat, Barley, Mustard, Sesame, etc.

Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh are important for the production of rabi crops. The availability of precipitation during winter months because of western temperate cyclones helps in growing these crops. Green Revolution has also helped in the growth of these crops.

Kharif Crops

Kharif crop is the summer crop or the monsoon crop in India. Kharif crops are sown at the beginning of the first rains in July, during the South-West monsoon season. Major Kharif crops include millets, cotton, soybean, sugarcane, turmeric, paddy, etc.

Some important rice-growing regions are Assam, West Bengal, coastal areas of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharashtra along Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Food Crops

Crops that are grown to feed human populations are called food crops. There are a number of food crops grown in the country, some of the most important ones are:

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Millets
  • Maize 
  • Pulses

As the human population depends upon crops for their food production, hence proper production techniques and agriculture implements should be used to cultivate them.

Non-Food Crops

A non-food crop is also known as an industrial crop and is grown to produce goods for manufacturing. They try to raise the farm sector’s income and promote economic growth in rural areas. Some important non-food crops are

  • Cotton
  • Jute
  • Tobacco
  • Rubber
  • Flax
  • Hemp

Major Crops Grown in India

Some of the most common crops grown abundantly in India are mentioned below:

  1. Rice, millets, wheat, pulses, and maize are all important food crops.
  2. Sugarcane, horticulture, oilseeds, crops, coffee, tea, rubber, jute, and cotton; are important cash crops.

Food Crops

Food crops



Rice is predominantly a Kharif crop. It covers 1/3rd of the total cultivated area of India. It provides food to more than half of the Indian population.

Rice is produced in almost all states, but the most popular ones are West Bengal, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. Other rice-growing states include Tamil Nadu, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and so forth. It is also grown in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, and so forth. Rice requires about 150-300 cm of rainfall and deep clayey and loamy soil. The average temperature required throughout the life period ranges from 21 to 37°C. Crop of rice is grown by various methods like dry or semi-dry upland cultivation, broadcasting seeds, sowing the seeds behind the plow, and so forth.


Wheat is the second most important crop in India following rice. It is part of the rabi crop and is a staple food in north and northwestern India. It is a winter crop and needs low temperatures and the ideal temperature for its cultivation is between 10-15°C at the time of sown and 21-26°C at the time of harvest.

Wheat grows well in rainfall less than 100 cm and more than 75 cm. The most suitable soil for the cultivation of wheat is well-drained fertile loamy soil and clayey soil. The top three wheat-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana.


Maize is globally known as the queen of cereals because it has the highest genetic yield potential among cereals. It is grown in the monsoon season and is accompanied by high temperatures and rainfall. 

Maize is grown successfully in a variety of soils from loamy to clay loam. It is a sensitive crop to moisture stress particularly excess soil moisture and salinity stresses.


Coarse cereals and millets are short-duration warm-weather crops used for both food and fodder. Important millets are Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, and so forth. They are grown in areas with high temperatures and are called dryland crops because rainfall of 50-100 cm is required for their growth. They can be grown in an inferior alluvial or loamy soil. The top three states for their production are Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan.


Most of the pulses are leguminous crops and provide proteins to the vegetarian population. Some of the major pulses of India are Gram, tur or arhar, matar, etc. Gram and tur are the most important pulses.


Diverse agro-ecological conditions of the country are favorable for growing 9 oilseeds crops annually, which include 7 edible oilseeds- groundnut, rapeseed and mustard, soybean, sunflower, sesame, safflower, and niger; and two non-edible oilseeds- Castor and linseed.

The largest oilseeds-producing states in India include Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.


Broadly there are two distinct agro-climatic regions of sugarcane cultivation in India, tropical and subtropical regions. The tropical sugarcane region includes 4 peninsular zone and 5 coastal zones which includes states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and so forth. There has been a reduction in the yield of sugarcane due to the rise in temperature.


India stands as the second largest tea producer in the world, right behind China. It requires a temperature between 20-30°C and rainfall of around 150-300 cm. The soil preferred is that deep and fertile well-drained soil, rich in humus and organic matter. Tea is grown in 16 states in India and important states are Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala accounting for 95 percent of total tea production.

Commerical crops



For the growth of coffee hot and humid climate with temperatures between 15-28°C is required. Dry weather is required at the time of ripening of berries and rainfall between 150 to 250 cm is favorable for coffee cultivation. Well-drained rice loamy soil with humus and minerals is ideal for coffee cultivation. Major coffee-producing states in India are Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.


Rubber is a coherent elastic solid obtained from the latex of a number of tropical trees. It requires a humid and hot climate with a temperature of 25-35°C and annual rainfall of over 200 cm. Rubber production is mostly concentrated in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.


Cotton is the most important fiber crop and cotton seed is used as vegetable oil and part of fodder. Cotton is a Kharif crop and grows in tropical and subtropical areas. Cotton requires modest rainfall and in India, is one of the predominant rainfed crops. Cotton requires uniform high temperatures. Soil for cotton is the black soil of the Deccan and Malwa plateaus. The main cotton-producing states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh.


Jute is an important natural fiber crop in India. Jute cultivation is mostly concentrated in eastern and northeastern India. The temperature required for its growth is between 25-35°C and rainfall is around 150-250 cm and the soil type is mostly well-drained alluvial soil.

Importance of Agriculture

About 49 percent of the population in India is dependent on agriculture. 141 million hectares is the net sown area while 195 million hectares is the gross cropped area. Agriculture contributes to 14 percent of GDP and the distribution of income and wealth. The vast relief of the country, varied climate, and soil conditions cause provision for a variety of crops. Allt types of tropical, subtropical, and temperate crops are grown in India, but predominantly 2/3rd of total cropped area food crops are cultivated.


Granaries store large amounts of food grains and there are large rooms with ventilations, and thousands of gunny bags, as well as protecting it from pests, the silos also provide food storage. Rodent infestations can be prevented by pesticides. Moist environment results in fungal growth on grains. This can be avoided by proper drying of grains in sunlight.

FAQs on Major Food Crops of India

Question 1: Which are the major fiber crops of India?


Cotton, jute, kenaf, industrial, hemp, sun hemp and flax are among well known fibre crops.

Question 2: What are the 7 major crops in India?


Rice, wheat, millets,pulses,tea, coffee, sugarcane, oilseeds, cotton and jute are 7 major crops in India.

Question 3: What are the main roping seasons in India?


Major roping seasons in India are Kharif season, Rabi season and Zaid season.

Question 4: Which is the main food crop of India?


The main food crop of India is Rice.

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Last Updated : 17 Mar, 2023
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