Types of Crops in India: Seasons, Rabi and Kharif Crops, Major Crops of India

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The three major types of crops in India are Kharif, Rabi, and Zaid crops. These are the cropping seasons in India where Kharif crops are sown from July to October, Rabi crops are sown in October and November, and Zaid crops are sown between March and June. India is the land of agriculture. It is the only widely practised occupation in the rural areas of the country. About 60% of the Indian population is directly dependent on agriculture for their living. Crops are the types of plants grown by farmers in different seasons for different purposes. India is the 7th largest country and has a variety of food and non-food crops. Besides food grains, agriculture also provides for different types of crops in India that belong to various industries. The three types of crops in India are as follows:

  • Kharif Crops – Examples are Tea, Maize, Rice, Cotton, etc.
  • Rabi Crops – Examples are pulses, cereals, wheat, barley, etc.
  • Zaid Crops – Seasonal vegetables and fruits are a few examples of Zaid crops.

Apart from these cropping seasons in India, the other types of crops in India are cash crops, food crops, horticulture crops, etc. Here in this article, we are going to discuss the major crops of India, which is an important portion of the UPSC exam. You can also download the PDF on types of crops in India from the direct link provided below.

Types of Crops in India

The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about crops is food items. This is, however, right that crops are related to food, but many times, there are some crops that are grown for commercial purposes also. These are the seasonal crops in India. These are grown in different atmospheres and different regions depending on the soil and weather conditions. There are two types of crops in India which are as follows:

  • Cash Crops
  • Food Crops

Cash Crops in India

Cash crops can also be called profit crops as they are grown specifically for commercial purposes and to make a profit. These types of crops in India are not directly sold to the consumer but to the parties who can process such crops for other purposes. The cash crop is an important field in the agriculture world. A wide variety of cash crops are grown in India, like cotton, jute, corn, sugarcane, soybeans, oil seeds, wheat, fruits, and vegetables.

Although any crop can be a cash crop, the crops that are grown for a specific business are called cash crops.

Types of Crops in India PDF

Cash Crops



Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar,


Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh.


Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh.


West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam.


Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar..

Food Crops

Food crops are crops that are grown specifically for harvesting and directly consuming purposes. Cultivating similar plants at a large scale is called the food crop. Generally, these are grown for consumption by human beings or animals. These types of crops widely consist of fruits, vegetables, pulses, herbs, spices, beverages, etc. So we can say that all the food crops are cash crops, but all the cash crops are not food crops.

Crop Seasons in India

There are three crop seasons in India – Rabi, Kharif, and Zaid. Below we will discuss in detail all the types of crop seasons in India.

Rabi Crops in India

Rabi crops are grown in the winter season during the period between October to December and harvested in the summer season between April to June. These are grown in many regions like Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, etc. These States widely grow crops like wheat. The Rabi crops in India are successful because of precipitation received by these areas due to cyclones in the western temperate. Also, the advent of the green revolution in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan has been of great significance to Rabi crops.

Kharif Season Crops

Kharif crops are grown at the start of the monsoon season and are harvested during the offset between the months of September to October. Some of the important Kharif season crops in India during the season are jawar, bajra, toor, paddy, maize, soybean, jute, cotton, etc. These are grown in the regions of Assam, West Bengal, Orissa, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharashtra. Following this, Punjab and Haryana have also become important states for growing paddy. In West Bengal, Odisha, and Assam, paddy is grown a year thrice, named Aman, Boro, and Aus. Learn more about Kharif and Rabi crops here.

Zaid crops in India

Apart from Rabi and Kharif crop seasons in India, there are other crops grown between these seasons. This season is called the Zaid season of cropping. In this period, crops like cucumber, watermelon, muskmelon, and fodder crops are grown.

Cropping Season

Time of the Year

Crops Grown


Rabi Cropping Season


October- December


April- June

Gram, Mustard, Wheat, Barley, etc.

Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana.

Kharif Cropping Season




September- October

Udad, Cotton, Soybean, Toor, Rice, Jowar, Bajra, Moong, etc.

West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Assam, and Odisha.

Zaid Cropping Season





Mostly seasonal fruits like pumpkin, muskmelon, watermelon, and fodder crops.

North India and the North Western States.

Difference between Kharif and Rabi Crops in India

To have a clearer picture in mind, go through the key differences between Kharif and Rabi crops below.

Rabi Crops

Kharif Crops

Rabi crops are sown at the beginning of the winter season and harvested by the end of February or March.

Kharif crops are sown at the onset of the monsoon season (June/July) and harvested by the end of October.

These are also called winter crops.

These are alternatively known as monsoon crops.

These crops are best grown in dry conditions with timely irrigation facilities.

These crops require a moist climate to complete their full growth.

Harvesting month could either be March or April.

Harvesting month could either be September or October.

Examples of Rabi crops are Wheat, Pulses, Cereals, Barley, etc.

Examples of Kharif crops are Cotton, Sugarcane, Paddy, Maize, etc.

Major Crops of India

There are different types of crops in India. But every crop is not for direct consumption. A variety of non-food and food crops are grown in different parts of India, which depends on the texture of the soil, climatic variations, and cultivation practices. Broadly they are two types of crops in the country- the food crop and the cash crop.

Examples of Food Crops in India

‘Food crops’ are those crops that are grown for commercial as well as consumption purposes. Following are some of the important food crops grown in India-


  • It is the staple food of the entire India. India is the second largest country that produces rice after China.
  • It is the Kharif seasonal crop that is grown in high temperatures generally over 25 degrees. Rice fields require high humidity with rainfall of more than 100 cm.
  • The type of soil required for growing rice is loamy or deep clayey soil.
  • The major states producing rice are Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Punjab.


  • Wheat is the second most important crop grown in the North and North Western part of India.
  • The climatic requirements for growing wheat are a cool climate at the time of sowing and bright sunshine at the time of ripening.
  • Growing wheat requires a minimum of 50 cm of rainfall over the season.
  • Broadly, wheat is grown in two major zones of India- the Deccan and Ganga Satluj plains.
  • The type of soil required for growing wheat is clayey loamy soil.
  • The largest wheat-producing States are Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh.


  • Crops like jowar, bajra, and ragi are known as millets in India. Millets are high in nutrition. For example, Ragi contains roughage iron, calcium, and other micronutrients.
  • Jowar requires high humidity and is grown in regions that receive heavy rainfall. Jowar is grown mostly in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.
  • Bajra is grown mostly in black soil or sandy soils. Bajra crops can be found in the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.
  • All the contrary, Ragi is a crop grown well in dry regions and can be grown in a variety of soils like black, loamy, sandy, or red soil. Major Ragi-producing states are Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim.


  • Maize is a multi-utility crop as it can be used both as fodder as well as personal consumption.
  • Maize is the Kharif crop and requires temperatures ranging between 22 degrees to 28 degrees.
  • The Best soil to grow Maize is old Alluvial soil.
  • Major Maize producing states in India are Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka.
  • In fact, in Bihar, Maize is grown in the Rabi season also.


  • India is indeed the biggest producer of different varieties of pulses in the world.
  • There are different types of pulses grown in India like arhar, urad, moong, masoor, peas, and gram.
  • Pulses generally don’t require high moisture conditions and can be grown in dry areas also. That is the reason why pulses can be grown often in rotation along with other crops.
  • Pulses are grown mostly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.

Cash Crops Grown in India

Cash crops are crops that are grown purely for commercial purposes and profit-making. There are a variety of cash crops grown in India.


  • After Brazil, India is the second largest producer of sugarcane in the world.
  • The temperature required for the growth of sugarcane is very hot and humid, ranging between 21 degree Celsius to 28 degrees.
  • The type of soil needed to grow sugarcane is Deep rich and loamy soil.
  • Sugarcane is the source of the crop for many products like sugar, jaggery, molasses, and Khandsari.
  • Major sugarcane-producing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka.


  • Crops like groundnut, mustard coconut, sesame, soybean, castor, cotton, linseed, and sunflower are included in the category of oil seeds.
  • The temperature required to grow oil seeds is 15 to 30 degrees Celsius, and a minimum of 55 cm of rainfall.
  • The type of soil required for growing oil seeds is highly drained loamy and sandy soil.
  • Major oil seeds producing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.


  • It is the staple beverage of India that is grown in regions having temperatures between 20 to 30 degree Celsius.
  • The type of soil best to grow tea is Deeply drained and fertile soil that is rich in organic matter and humus.
  • The best tea-producing states in India are Assam, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu.


  • Arabica is a variety of Indian Coffee that is famous across the world.
  • Coffee plantation requires a temperature between 15 to 28 degree Celsius and a minimum of 150 cm of rainfall.
  • The type of soil required for growing coffee is highly drained and loamy soil.
  • The major coffee-producing states in India are Tamilnadu, Kerala, and Karnataka.


  • It is one of the very important industrial raw materials in India.
  • To grow rubber, the temperature requirement is more than 30 degree Celsius in a highly humid climate.
  • Having a highly humid climate and rainfall requiring more than 200 CM the soil type required for the plantation of rubber is richly drained Alluvial soil.
  • Rubber is an equatorial crop and can be found in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamilnadu.


  • Jute is also called golden fiber in India and is used to make various materials like yarn ropes, mats, artifacts, carpets, etc.
  • The temperature required for the growth of jute is 25 to 35 degree Celsius and requires a highly humid climate with rainfall of a minimum of 150 cm.
  • The best jute-producing states in India are Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, and Assam.


  • Cotton is the Silver fiber of India and needs temperatures ranging between 20 to 30 degree Celsius with rainfall of a minimum of 50 cm.
  • The type of soil required for the plantation of cotton is highly drained black soil.
  • Cotton is a Kharif crop and needs more than 200 frost-free days and bright sunshine for perfect growth.

Other Types of Crops in India

Other types of crops being grown in India are categorized under the category of horticulture crops. There are different seasonal crops in India. India, back in 2008, was the highest producer of fruits and vegetables in India. About 13% of the world’s vegetables and fruits are produced in India, like cabbage, tomato, potato, cauliflower, onion, and peas.

Horticulture crops

Horticulture is actually a branch of agriculture that deals with the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.


States Grown


Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, and Maharashtra.




Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Mizoram.


Uttar Pradesh and Bihar


Bihar and Uttar Pradesh


Telangana, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh




Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Types of crops in India UPSC

Types of crops in India is a very interesting topic of Geography. There are a variety of seasonal crops in India, and every UPSC exam aspirant should be aware of them. Also, the appearing UPSC aspirant is expected to have deep knowledge about crop season in India and in the world.

Being an IAS aspirant, you should have the basics clear for which you can download NCERT books for UPSC along with specific geography books for UPSC, as they will help you to prepare for the Prelims and Mains exams.

Major Crops of India UPSC Question

Q1. With reference to Pulse production in India, consider the following statements. [Prelims 2011]

  1. Black gram can be cultivated as both Kharif and Rabi crops
  2. Green gram alone accounts for nearly half of pulse production
  3. In the last three decades, while the production of Kharif pulses has increased, the production of Rabi pulses has decreased

Which of the statements given above is correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. Two only
  4. 1, 2, and 3

A1. Option A

Q2. Consider the following crops [Prelims 2013]

  1. Cotton
  2. Groundnut
  3. Rice
  4. Wheat

Which of these is Kharif Crops?

  1. One and four
  2. Two and three
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. 2, 3 and 4

A2. Option C

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