Owning to cash physical diversity, a variety of crops are grown in our country. The crops grown in the country may be categorised as under –
Some of the major crops under cultivation in India are –
Paddy is basically a tropical crop.
- India is one of the major producers of rice in the world, accounting for one-fifth of the world production, ranking next only to China.
- About 23 per cent of the total cropped area in the country is under this crop.
- Paddy is grown in Kharif season.
Necessary Weather Conditions
- Paddy is ideally grown in rain-fed areas where annual rainfall is more than 125 cm.
- It requires high temperature (20°C-25°C).
- However, it is also grown in areas of less than 125 cm rainfall with the help of irrigation.
- At present, 51 per cent of rice producing area is under irrigation.
Required Soil Type
- Deep fertile loamy or clayey soils are considered ideal for this crop.
- It requires considerable be manual labour for sowing and transplantation.
Although paddy crop is grown in almost all states of India, the leading producing states are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Orissa and Assam.
- Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of rice in India but consumption of rice being large, it has to import from other states.
- Against this, Punjab is the biggest contributor of rice to control public distribution system.
- In some states, three crops of paddy in a year are grown. For example, in West Bengal three crops are known as Aman, Boro and Aos.
Wheat is basically subtropical crop grown in the winter season in India.
- It is grown in rabi crop season, while paddy is sown in kharif season.
- Wheat ranks second after Paddy crop, having about 13 per cent of total cropped area under it.
- Wheat requires cool weather with moderate rainfall.
- It grows well in the northern plains of India during winter season when the mean temperature is between 10°C and 15°C.
- Well drained loamy soil is ideal for wheat cultivation.
Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are major wheat-producing states in India. They accounted for 60 per cent of total area under wheat and 73 per cent of total wheat production in the country in 2000-2001. Other important wheat-growing states are Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The wheat production in the country showed maximum increase after Green Revolution introduced in 1966. During 2000-01 the total production was 688 lakh tonnes.
India is an important producer of wheat in the world. It is followed by China and USA. Although productivity per hectare has increased rapidly from 815 kg. in 1950-51 to 2743 kg. in 2000-01 per hectare the yield of wheat in India is lower in comparison with other major wheat-producing countries.
- India is the leading producer and consumer of tea in the world. The country earns a sizable amount of foreign exchange through export of tea.
- Tea grows best on the mountain slopes receiving large amount of rains (above 150 cm).
- Well drained deep loamy soils, rich in humus is ideal for tea plantation.
- Most of the tea producing areas are on the hilly slopes of Surma and Brahamputra valleys in Assam, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal. In south India, tea cultivation is confined mainly to the Annamalai and the Nilgiri hills. A small quantity of tea is also produced in the Kumaon hill in Uttarakhand and in the Kangra valley of Himanchal Pradesh.
- India produced 8.5 lakh tonnes in 1999. An amount of ₹ 2000 crores were earned in foreign exchange from the export of tea in 2000-01 despite huge demand in the domestic market.
India is one of the leading cotton-producing countries in the world. The fibre of the cotton crop is used as raw material for the textile industries whereas oil extracted from its seeds is used in the vanaspati industry. Cotton seeds are also used as a cattle feed.
Cotton require a moderate rainfall of about 75 cm and a cloud free weather for about 150 days at the time of flowering and ball opening.
Well drained black soils of the Deccan Plateau is considered ideal for its cultivation, though it is also grown on alluvial soils of the northern plains.
India produces about 8 per cent of the world’s cotton and is the fourth largest producing country after USA, China and Russia. However, the quality of cotton is rather poor. Therefore, the long-staple cotton is imported to make good quality of fibre. The good quality of cotton is grown in Punjab and Haryana. Leading producers of cotton in India are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Sugarcane is the native plant of India. The country has the largest area under this crop in the world. It requires a hot and humid climate. Irrigation facility is required if rainfall is not enough. Fertile loamy and black soils are ideal for this crop.
Sugarcane is cultivated in two belts –
- (i) in Northern Plains from Punjab to Bihar, and
- (ii) in Peninsular India from Gujarat to Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
More than 60 per cent of the total area under sugarcane is found in the North Plains. The yield per unit area of sugarcane in South India is higher than in the North India.
The leading producers of sugarcane are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. During 2000-2001, about 300 lakh tonnes of sugarcane was produced in India which is the highest in the world. Efforts are being made to increase production of sugarcane by developing hybrid varieties. The Sugarcane Research Institute at Coimbatore is engaged in its research.
Indian spices are known for their fine quality and find a market all over the world. India produces a wide variety of spices including –
- black pepper,
- cloves etc.
Chilly is an important condiment crop which is widely grown in the country and shares more than one-third or 34 per cent of total production of spices in India. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka are the leading producers of chillies.
After chillies, turmeric is second important spice crop in India. Major producing states are Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Orrisa and Bihar.
Among all the states, Kerala is one state where a large number of spices such as cloves, black pepper, ginger, cardamom are produced in the largest quantity. The other leading states in the production of spices are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Bihar.
India accounts for about 10 per cent of the production of fruits in the world. It leads the world in the production of mango, banana, sapota and lemons.
A large variety of fruits are grown in India.
- Mango, bananas, citrus fruits pineapple, papaya, guava, sapota, jack fruit, lichi and grapes are tropical and subtropical fruits.
- The fruit of temperate areas are apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot, almond and walnut which are grown mostly in the mountainous areas of the country.
- The important fruits of arid zone of India are aonla, ber, pomegranate and figs.
Mango is the most important among fruit crops covering about 39 per cent of the area and account for 23 per cent of the total fruit production in the country. More than one-half or about 54 per cent of the world’s mango is produced in India. The mango tree grows throughout the country especially in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Dussahari and Alphonso varieties of mango are in great demand in foreign countries. The country exports such varieties to earn foreign exchange.
In terms of area Citrus fruits rank next only to mango. Oranges and lemons are grown in Assam, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu. Undulating sloppy terrain is most suitable for the growth of citrus fruits.
India is ranking first in the world in the Banana production. Banana ranks third in areal coverage and are grown mainly in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It is also grown in West Bengal, Orissa and Assam.
Apple is the fourth major fruit crop, mainly grown in the Himalayan region of the country. Guava is largely produced in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, whereas pineapple is produced in Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.
India is the second largest producer of vegetables in the world next only to China. It contributes about 13 per cent to the world vegetable production. It occupies first position in the production of cauliflowers, second in onion, and third in cabbage in the world. Other major vegetable crops are potato, peas, tomato and bringal. More than fifty varieties of vegetables are grown in India.
With breaking of trade barriers in post-globalisation phase, international trade in vegetables, fruits and flowers has become lucrative. India can earn a sizable amount of foreign exchange by exporting flowers. Flower such as rose, jasmine, marigold, chrysanthemum, tuberose, and aster are grown over large area in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Assam and Manipur.
Bibliography : NIOS Geography Book