Part 3 | Important Cash Crops and Plantation Crops in India

 

A) Important Cash Crops

Under cash crops, those commercial crops are included which are produced by farmers mainly to earn money. The cash crop is often not consumed by the farmer himself. Some important cash crops have been discussedbelow in detail:

1. Sugarcane

  • Geographical Conditions of Growth:
    • It is a tropical as well as sub-tropical crop.
      • Sugarcane in North India is of the sub-tropical variety and has low sugar content. Also sugar factories have to remain shut in winter seasons in North India. Also, sugarcane juice begins to dry up because of the long dry season in north India.
      • Sugarcane in South India is of the tropical variety and high sugar content and high yield.
    • It grows well in hot and humid climate with a temperature of 21°C to 27°C and an annual rainfall of 75-100cm.
    • Medium and heavy soils where irrigation facilities are available are ideal for its cultivation.
    • It can be grown on a variety of soils and needs manual labour from the time of sowing to harvesting.
    • It is a long maturing crop planted between February and April. Harvesting begins in October and November.
    • It is a soil-exhausting crop and thus needs regular application of manure or fertilisers.
  • Important Producing Areas:
    • India is considered the original homeland of sugarcane and has the largest area under sugarcane in the world.
    • India is the second largest producer of sugarcane only after Brazil.
    • The major sugarcane producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.

2. Cotton

  • India is believed to be the original home of the cotton plant.
  • It is also one of the most important industrial crops of India.
  • Geographical Conditions of Growth:
    • Cotton grows well in the drier parts of the black cotton soil of the Deccan plateau. It can also be grown on alluvial and red soils.
    • It requires high temperature (20-35°C), light rainfall (50 to 80cm) or irrigation, 210 frost free days and bright sunshine for its growth. Clear sky during the picking season is ideal.
    • It is a Kharif crop and requires 6-8 months to mature.
  • Important Producing Areas:
    • India is the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world. China, USA and Pakistan grow more cotton than India.
    • Cotton is cultivated in about 45% of the total sown area in the country.
    • The major cotton producing states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Important Varieties: India produces both short staple (Indian) cotton and long staple (American) cotton. American Cotton is called ‘Narma’ in the north-western part of the country.

3. Jute

  • It is also known as the golden fibre and is India’s major cash crop.
  • Jute fibre is obtained from the inner bark of the jute plant.
  • It is used in making gunny bags, mats, ropes, yarn, carpets and other artefacts. Jute cultivation in India has recently suffered due to reduced demand as a result of increasing competition with artificial fibre and packaging material.
  • Geographical Conditions of Growth:
    • It is a soil-exhausting crop like sugarcane and lowers soil fertility rapidly. It thus grows well on the well drained fertile soils in the flood plains where the soils are renewed every year.
    • High temperatures (24°C to 35°C), heavy rain (125 – 200cm) and low plain land are favourable conditions for the cultivation of jute.
  • Important Producing Areas:
    • West Bengal (largest producer in India), Bihar, Assam, Orissa and Meghalaya.
    • India is the largest producer of jute in the world.
  • Important Varieties: Mesta

4. Tobacco

  • Tobacco was brought to India by the Portuguese.
  • Uses: Its leaves are used in making cigarettes, cigar, beedi etc. Its stem is used as potash fertilizer and its powder as an insecticide.
  • Geographical Conditions of Growth:
    • It requires temperatures of 15°C to 40°C and rainfall of about 50cm or irrigation facilities. More than 100cm of annual rainfall and frost is harmful for the crop.
    • Fertile soils with good drainage are ideal as it is an exhaustive crop
  • Important Producing Areas:
    • Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.
    • More than 1/3rd tobacco of the country is produced by Andhra Pradesh alone.
  • Important Varieties: Nicotina Tabacum and Nicotina Rustics. Virginia tobacco used for making cigarettes and Dale Crest varieties are grown in Andhra Pradesh.

5. Oilseeds

  • Main oilseeds produced in India include groundnut, mustard, coconut, sesasmum (til), soyabean, castor seeds, linseed, and sunflower.
  • Uses – Most of these are edible and used as cooking mediums. Some of these are also used as a raw material in the production of soaps, ointments and cosmetics.
  • Geographical Conditions of Growth:
    • Most oilseeds are grown as dry crops or in association with other crops e.g. mustard is grown with wheat.
  • Important Producing Areas:
    • India is the largest producer of oilseeds in the world. About 20% of the world’s oilseed producing area is in India.
    • Different oilseeds are grown covering approximately 14% of the total cropped area of the country.
    • Major oilseed producing areas are the plateau of Malwa, Marathwara, Gujarat, dry areas of Rajasthan, Telangana and Rayalseema regions of Andhra Pradesh.
    • Madhya Pradesh ranks first (31%) in the total oilseeds production and is followed by Rajasthan and Gujarat.
    • The smaller oilseeds are grown mainly in the north (Gujarat, MP, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana) and the larger seeds in the south mainly Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. A list of particular oilseeds and their producing states:
      • Coconuts – The southern coastal region in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
      • Castor seed – Gujarat
      • Linseed – Chhattisgarh
      • Soya beans – Madhya Pradesh
      • Mustard and rapeseeds – Rajasthan
      • Sunflower – Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh

B. Important Plantation Crops

1. Tea

  • It is an important beverage crop introduced in India initially by the British.
  • Geographical Conditions of Growth and Production:
    • The tea plant grows well in tropical humid and subtropical humid climates endowed with deep and fertile well-drained soils, rich in humus and organic matter.
    • 150cm summer rain and 21°C to 27°C daily temperature are needed for its cultivation.
    • Tea bushes require warm and frost-free climate all through the year.
    • Frequent showers evenly distributed over the year ensure continuous growth of the tender leaves.
    • Tea is often cultivated on the hill slopes so that there is no waterlogging in its roots.
    • Its leaves are to be plucked several times in a year, so availability of abundant and cheap labour is essential for its cultivation.
  • Important Producing Areas:
    • Assam, hills of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Apart from these, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Tripura are also tea producing states in the country.
    • India is the leading producer as well as exporter of tea in the world. 28% tea of the world is produced here.

2. Coffee

  • Geographical Conditions of Growth:
    • Coffee is a tropical plantation crop.
    • 16° – 28°C temperature, 150-250cm rainfall and well-drained slopes are essential for its growth.
    • It grows on hilly slopes at the height of 900-1800m.
    • Low temperature, frost, dry weather for a long time and harsh sunshine are harmful for its plants.
    • Coffee plants grow better in the laterite soils of Karnataka in India.
  • Important Producing Areas:
    • India contributes about 4% of the world’s total coffee production. It ranks 6th in the world in coffee production.
    • The coffee plant was grown for the first time on the Baba Budan Hills (Karnataka) in India.
    • At present, more than half of the total coffee production in India is produced by Karnataka alone, followed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Important Varieties: The Arabica variety initially brought from Yemen is produced in the country.
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