Top Ten Crops Cultivated in India

Updated on Feb 03, 2024 | Online Indian Visa

India has always been an agriculturally rich country due to its fertile land. The varying texture and productivity of the soils in India make it fit for producing a series of crops and not just one kind. For about 58% of the Indian population, agriculture is the primary source of income.

It is due to this productivity rate that India's agricultural commodity is now contributing rapidly to the world food trade, year by year. This fertility growth has further enhanced due to the growing technology which assists farmers to grow their crops better. Less labour and lesser time are involved in cutting and processing the grown crops, specifically rice and wheat.

The two major food commodities produced and taken care of by farmers in India are food and animals. There are various kinds of agricultural commodities that India harbours. Some of the known commodities are grains (bajra, wheat, rice, jowar, and more), dairy (milk, egg, cheese, butter, curd, and more), livestock, and other food items that are consumed widely by people across the world. These agricultural products are used for both export and in India's industrial sector.

We can safely assume that one out of five people in India depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Whether agriculture is done to serve the interest of our country or the raw materials are exported as a commodity, in both cases, it is produced in bulk thanks to the high fertility of our soil. We also extensively grow cotton and carry out sericulture to produce high-quality silk. A wide range of silk is made in various states of India, both for export and industrial use. Given below are some of the primary crops that are produced in bulk and used as commodities in India.

Before we learn about the major crops produced in India, let us briefly acquaint ourselves with the categorisation of these crops. 

You require India e-Tourist Visa or Indian Visa Online to witness the amazing places and experiences as a foreign tourist in India. Alternatively, you could be visiting India on an India e-Business Visa and want to do some recreation and sightseeing in India. The Indian Immigration Authority encourages visitors to India to apply for Indian Visa Online rather than visiting Indian Consulate or Indian Embassy.

Rabi, Kharif, and Zaid Crops in India

Kharif crops

Kharif crops are predominantly known as the summer crop or the monsoon crop of India. The crops are usually sown towards the beginning of the first showers in the month of July, right when the southwest monsoon season starts. The major Kharif crops produced in India include Millets (Bajra & Jowar), Paddy (Rice), Cotton, Sugarcane, Soya bean, Turmeric, Maize, Moong (Pulses), Red Chillies, Groundnut, and more.

Rabi Crops

The Rabi crop is known as the ‘spring harvest’ or winter crop of India. The crops are sown towards the end of October and harvested during the months of March and April every year. Prominent Rabi crops cultivated in India are Wheat, Sesame, Mustard, Barley, Peas, and more.

Zaid Crop

Zaid crops are grown rather sporadically in various parts of the country during the months of March to June. Best examples of Zaid crops are Muskmelon, Watermelon, vegetables belonging to the Cucurbitaceous family like bitter gourd, ridged gourd, pumpkin, and more.


Being a country of diversity, every part of India has something special to offer, starting from the delicious pani puri in Delhi to Kolkata's puchka to Mumbai vada pav. Every city has food items quintessential to its culture. Learn more - Ten Most Popular Street Foods of India - India Tourist Visa Food Guide


Rice is known as a Kharif crop. The massive cultivation of rice covers about one-third of the country's total cultivated area. Rice cultivation provides food to more than half of the natives of India, forming the staple food of the population. The crop is cultivated in almost all central states in India. The top three rice-producing states in India are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab. Other than these states, there are several other states in India also known for producing a considerable amount of rice. The states include Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra. The crop is also grown in parts of Kerala, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and the valleys of Kashmir.

Rice harvesting is a time of celebration in India. Farmers in West Bengal call it the ‘Nuakhai’ (also called ‘Nabanna’) festival and celebrate it in the month of August- the time of rice harvest. The festival is a thanksgiving festival, being grateful to the Hindu Gods for blessing them with abundant food. The word ‘Nua’ stands for ‘new,’ and the word ‘khai’ means ‘to eat’ in Bengali. Similarly, other known harvest festivals of India include Baisakhi or Vaisakhi, Pongal, Lohri, Makar Sankranti and more. 


Wheat is the second most commonly cultivated crop in India after Rice. Wheat is predominantly known as a Rabi Crop. Wheat products form the staple food in most parts of the country, especially the north-western region of India. Even though the crop is a winter crop and requires low temperatures to grow well, due to the high productivity of the soil in the country, the crop grows all year round in most parts of the country. The preferred temperature for wheat cultivation ranges between 10-15°C during the time of sowing and 21-26°C during the time of harvesting. Wheat grows well in the optimum range of 75 cm of rainfall to 100 cm rainfall. 

The best soil for wheat cultivation would be well-drained fertile loamy soil which is clayey in texture. For optimal growth of the crop, plain regions are highly preferred by farmers. Due to advancements in farming methods, wheat crop harvest has become highly mechanized and may need less human labour. The major states producing high-quality abundant wheat are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab.


Foreign nationals keen to visit India for sightseeing or recreation, casual visits to meet friends and family or short term Yoga programme are eligible to apply for a 5 year India e-Tourist Visa. Learn more at  Five Year e-Tourist Visa

Cereals/ Millets

Coarse Cereals or Millets are known for growing in short durations, specifically during warm weather. These crops are also known as Kharif crops and are used as both food and fodder. Important millet crops widely cultivated in the country are Jowar, Ragi, Bajra, and more. Sadly, the areas responsible for producing these crops have been low in productivity in recent years in India.

Both the coarse cereals and millets are produced in areas marked with high temperatures and are commonly known as ‘dryland crops’ since they can be grown in areas with a range of rainfall between 50-100 cm.  However, the coarse cereal crops are comparatively less sensitive to soil deficiencies than millets. Unlike millets, coarse cereals can even be grown in an inferior alluvial or loamy soil. The top three states in India producing high-quality abundant coarse cereals are Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Karnataka. 



As we already know, Cotton is considered one of the most significant fibre crops. Not just for producing fibre, but cotton seeds are also used to prepare vegetable oil and contribute to fodder for milch cattle for good-quality milk production. Cotton is widely known as a Kharif Crop and ideally grows in tropical or subtropical regions of India. Cotton cultivation requires an ample amount of rainfall to bloom correctly. It is one of the known rain-fed crops cultivated in India. The crop requires a consistently warm temperature of 21°C to 30°C to prosper. It is known to flourish in areas witnessing at least 210 frost-free days out of 365 days.

The best suitable soil for cotton cultivation is the Black soils of the Deccan Plateau and the Malwa plateau. Cotton also grows well in alluvial soils found on the banks of the Satluj-Ganga plain and the red and laterite soils belonging to peninsular India. Cotton growing is grown via a less mechanised farming method. Therefore, it needs human labour.  A few of the major cotton-producing states in India are Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh.

You must have heard a lot about cultural diversity in India and the awesome festivals of different states. But very few know about these secret treasure troves hiding in some of the less common tourist destinations of India.


Pulses are considered to be leguminous crops and are a rich source of proteins for the vegetarian population of the world. Some of the significant pulses grown in India are Gram, arhar or Tur daal (Pigeon Pea or Red Gram),  urad daal (black gram),  mung daal (green gram), kulthi daal (horse gram),  masoor daal (lentils), matar (green peas), and more.  Out of all the pulses mentioned above, only a few varieties are frequently used by the natives, gram and tur or arhar daal are recognised to be essential pulses.

Some of the pulses and their outer covering are also used as animal fodder.



India is known to be the largest producer, exporter, and consumer of black tea in the world. A wide variety of tea is grown in 16 states in India, all unique in their taste. Tea cultivation also requires cheap and skilled labour since most of the harvesting is done manually. Men and women usually carry a huge basket on their heads and pluck and gather tea leaves from the field. The states which produce the maximum amount of tea are West Bengal (primarily Darjeeling), Assam, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. These states account for almost 95 percent of the total tea production in the country. Half of the output is used for the industries in India, and the other half is exported to various parts of the world. Tea harvesting and processing provides employment to many in West Bengal and Assam. Tea gardens in India are also a popular tourist destination for both locals and foreign tourists. 


Coffee cultivation is another widespread practice in the various hilly regions of India. Coffee plantation requires a hot and humid climate with a temperature range between 15°C and 28°C. The plants are generally cultivated under shady trees (tall coniferous trees) to prevent direct sunlight from reaching the plants and give them a humid atmosphere. Intense rays of the sun, temperature rising above 30°C, frost or excessive dew accumulation, and snowfall prove unhealthy for coffee cultivation. 

Dry weather is ideal for timely ripening of the berries. Rainfall between 150 to 250 cm is considered suitable for the healthy growth of coffee plants. The preferable soil for coffee growth would be well soaked, rich loamy soil mixed with hummus and essential minerals. Coffee cultivation also requires cheap and skilled labour since most of the harvesting is done manually. Men and women usually carry a huge basket on their heads and pluck and gather cocoa from the field. Some of the major coffee-producing states of India are Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and West Bengal.

India is one of the homes to the Himalayas which is the abode of some of the largest peaks in the world.  Learn more at Famous Hill-stations in India you must visit


Groundnut is used to make one of the essential oil seeds in India. It is also a very common snack consumed in various parts of India. Although groundnut is cultivated both as a Kharif and Rabi crop in India, 90-95% of the total area of cultivation is dedicated to the Kharif crop. Groundnuts are known to thrive best in the tropical climate and need a 20°C to 30°C range of temperature for ideal growth. About 50-75 cm of rainfall is considered best for groundnut cultivation in India.

Groundnut plants are highly sensitive to frost, continuous rain, drought, and stagnant water. The plants need a dry winter during the time of ripening.  Well-drained sandy loams of red, yellow, or black soils are highly beneficial for groundnut cultivation.

Groundnut cultivation accounts for half of the prominent oilseeds that are produced in India. India is known as the second-largest producer of groundnut in the world after China.  The top three states responsible for producing groundnut are Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh.

India’s Sugarcane Production

The sugarcane crop belongs to the bamboo family of plants and is considered an indigenous crop in South Asia. In India, Sugarcane is regarded as one of the most crucial Kharif crops. After Europe, Asia is known as the largest producer of sugar in the world. Most of this sugar in Asia is produced from sugarcane harvest, which is then processed to make sugar. However, in Europe, sugar is extracted from sugar beet. Currently, sugarcane is being cultivated in an area of 16 m. ha in more than 79 countries in this world.

The global cultivation of unprocessed raw sugar is about 112 m.t. India ranks first when considering the area of cultivation (3.93 m. ha) and production (167 m.t) amongst the top sugarcane-producing countries of the world. In India, the state of Uttar Pradesh covers the most prominent area for sugar cultivation, almost 50 percent of the sugarcane growth in the country. The other top sugarcane-producing states are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Bihar, and Punjab. These nine states in the country are the most significant sugarcane-producing states.

Talking of high productivity rate, Tamilnadu also contributes significantly to the overall growth with over 100 tonnes per hectare. The states of Karnataka, Bihar, Maharashtra record for the lowest productivity rate amongst the states mentioned above. The sugar industry in India is considered the second largest agro-based industry running almost parallel to the textiles industry in the country. 

Sugarcane in India is not just used to make raw sugar but various other products like jaggery, sweets, fodder for cattle, cane juice, and more. 

Rural tourism is a form of travel that is focused on rural destinations, offering visitors the opportunity to experience local customs, arts, and crafts, as well as traditional lifestyles.

Citizens of many countries including United States, France, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy are eligible for India e-Visa(Indian Visa Online). You can apply for the Indian e-Visa Online Application right here.

Should you have any doubts or require assistance for your trip to India or India e-Visa,contact Indian Visa Help Desk for support and guidance.