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Top Cash Crop Farming In India

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Cash Crop Farming

Agriculture has a major role in contributing towards the Indian economy and about 70% of the total population depends on agriculture for food and money and it is one of the major occupations in the rural areas but the cultivation of crops depends on major factors like weather and soil conditions to become a success. Farmers grow different types of cropsFood crops such as Grains or Vegetables or Fruits, Crops for Drug purposes such as Quinine, or Fibre crops such as Cotton or other materials like Rubber or Wood.

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Our ancestors usually grew Wheat, Rice or Potatoes depending upon the land on which they lived, when they first came to know about Agriculture. The farmers then realised that they could grow more food than they actually needed. Thereafter, they started to grow more crops which were then used commercially for selling and gaining profits and these crops were called the  Cash Crops.

 We will learn more about its Farming in this article.

What are Crops?

Crops are such living plants that are grown by farmers. For example: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits or some essential fibres like Cotton, Rubber or Wood.

Types of Crops

Our country, India is one of the top producers of several crops and these crops are classified into three categories depending upon the Seasons on which they are grown. They are:

  1. Kharif Crops – These crops are grown in the monsoon season where the seeds are sown at the beginning of the monsoon season and are harvested after the monsoon ends. The season generally starts from June lasting up to September and it usually differs in every state of the country. These crops require a lot of water and warm temperatures for growing properly. For example: Maize, Millet, Cotton, etc.
  2. Rabi Crops – The word ‘Rabi’ is derived from Arabic meaning ‘Spring’ and these crops are grown in the winter season and harvested during the spring. The season starts in November lasting up to March or April. The crops are cultivated using Irrigation and excess showers may ruin the crops. These crops require a warm climate during the germination and maturity stage but a cold climate during the growing stage. For example: Wheat, Gram, Mustard etc.
  3. Zaid Crops – These crops are grown in the small season between Kharif and Rabi Seasons that is between March and June. These crops mature early and grow on irrigated lands without waiting for monsoons. For example: Cucumber, Pumpkin, Bitter gourd, Watermelon etc.

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Crops are also divided in these categories depending on their usage. They are:

  1. Food crops such as wheat, maize, rice millets, pulses etc.
  2. Cash crops such as sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, jute, oilseeds etc.
  3. Plantation crops such as coffee, coconut, tea, rubber etc.
  4. Horticulture crops such as fruits and vegetables.

Factors affecting the Production of Crops

The growing of crops requires a lot of maintenance and care and hindrance in any of these factors can lead to crop destruction. Here we are mentioning some of the factors which are responsible for creating a hindrance in the production of crops. These factors are categorised into two subcategories. They are:

  • Internal or Genetic factors – These help in incorporating the maximum desirable characters in the new hybrid variety and these characters are transmitted from one generation to another which includes the chemical composition of grains; their quality; their resistance towards lodging, drought or flood; tolerance towards insects or diseases; high yielding ability and early maturity.
  • External or Environmental factors – The external factors include Climatic factors such as precipitation, temperature, atmospheric humidity, solar radiation, wind velocity,atmospheric gases etc; Edaphic factors such as soil moisture, soil air, soil temperature, soil mineral matter, soil organic matter, soil organisms, or soil reactions; Biotic factors such as pests and Socio-Economic factors such as available human resources, inclination of society towards cultivation, better choice of crops and breeding varieties.

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What are Cash Crops?

Cash crops are also called ‘Profit crop’ and it is an agricultural crop that is grown for selling so as to gain profits. It is usually possessed by parties separate from a farm and it is different from subsistence crops that are used for feeding the producers own livestock or their family. In the least developed countries, cash crops are those crops that have demand in more developed nations and so it has some export value as well. The prices for the major cash crops are usually set in the commodity markets based on freight costs and the local supply and demand balance. This system of pricing is always criticised by traditional farmers because the farmers usually don’t get their desired profit. Most of the cash crops are grown in the developing Nations to be sold to the developed Nations for a better price and these crops are grown worldwide for selling in the national and international market to earn profits from the sale.

Examples of Cash Crops

Some common examples of cash crops are:

  • Wheat
  • Rye (Mustard)
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Rapeseed
  • Mustard
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Millets
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Cherries
  • Coffee
  • Cotton
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Soybeans
  • Tea etc

Coconut is a global cash crop that is grown in almost 80 countries and its derivatives are used in cooking, making soaps and cosmetics. Jatropha curcas is a cash crop used in producing biofuel. Some other Black market cash crops such as cocoa, cannabis and opium poppies are also produced in India.

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Cash Crop Farming

Cash crop farming is a type of farming in which cash crops are grown and it is also called as commercial farming or cash cropping. The farmers grow cash crops for their livelihood and to generate some income for their family needs but to fund for their next cropping activities they need an extra profit. The farmers usually borrow money from banks to purchase the seeds and after harvesting & selling the crops, they repay their loans.

Every farmer has a different technique and methods of farming and it varies from one country to another. Traditional farmers use farming techniques which they are accustomed to and in the developed countries, the farmers use intensive cultivation and mechanised or modern farming techniques which are now commonly used.

The main purpose of growing cash crops is earning revenue and the prices of the crops depends upon the supply and demand in the developed countries where the least developed countries are the suppliers of these cash crops. Cash crop farming usually practises ‘Monocropping’ or ‘Sole cropping’ which is the growing of a single crop on a piece of land while subsistence farming usually practises multiple or mixed type of cropping.

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Cash Crop Farming – History & Evolution

In the early years when there was no source of Agriculture, the early man obtained their food by hunting wild animals and they used to gather Fruits and Nuts from natural stands and even in the most recent time this practice is still survived. But when they knew that plants can be grown from seeds, it caused a gradual transformation from hunting and gathering to Farming and that was the time when they began to domesticate plants.

The people used to live in villages and somehow were divided in two groups: Urban and Rural, where the rural peoples used to supply the raw materials and the urban people were engaged in processing and trading the raw materials supplied by the Rurals. Thereafter it gave rise to the Modern Civilization which is now characterised by many advanced Agricultural technology, long distance marketing and occupational specialisation. This can be How Cash Crop Farming Actually evolved.

The question – How, When or Where Agriculture Actually Started ? can lead to a continuous debate but we know that the first Civilization to be established was by the Sumerians who developed many agricultural techniques like Intensive Crop Farming, Monocropping, Organised Irrigation and use of Labour with specialised skills and they also invented the Plough.

They used to grow Barley, Chickpeas, Lentils, Wheat, Dates, Onions, Garlic, Lettuce, Leeks and Mustard and they also used to raise Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Pigs and their primary draught animal was Oxen, donkeys or equids which they used for transporting. Sumer lands are located between the two great rivers Euphrates and Tigris which is now called as Fertile Crescent and the modern day countries within it are Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and some parts of Palestinian territories besides Turkey and Iran.

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Factors to consider before starting Cash Crop Farming

Cash crop farming is for earning profits so we need to consider some factors which are important for its success. These factors are:

  • The most important factor is selecting the type of cash crop plant to grow. We need to inspect the climatic & biotic factors, topographic features, and the physical and chemical properties of the soil like texture, colour, organic matter content, pH, fertility levels thoroughly before starting the cultivation
  • The selected variety of Crop should be selected based on the adaptability and the prevailing conditions on the farm and you can get information about it from the neighbouring farmers who have already done the same crop farming.
  • The market and financial viability of the selected plant should be researched properly and the crop selected should have high yielding quality.
  • You should know the techno-commercial aspect of the selected crop before starting the cultivation
  • You should decide the method of farming you are going to use and whether you will go for monocropping or mixed cropping, or purely crop farming or integrating it with livestock animals. All these factors should be clearly decided beforehand.
  • Another important factor is Security because you need to protect your crop from thievery.

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Most Profitable Cash Crops in India

Here is a list of the most profitable cash crops that can be grown in India by the small farm owners to gain huge profit.

  • Lavender
  • Cactus
  • Cotton
  • Different varieties of flowers
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Herbs
  • Horticulture plants
  • Indoor microgreens like radish, beet or mustard
  • Bamboo
  • Medicinal plants
  • Mushroom
  • Speciality spices like Saffron, Cardamom, Vanilla
  • Staples like rice, corn, root, tuber
  • Sugarcane
  • Sunflower
  • Value added plants
  • Vegetables
  • Christmas trees

Now let us study about some major crops in a bit detail.

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  • Rice – It is a tropical crop that is grown almost throughout the year but is majorly grown during Kharif and Rabi seasons and its irrigation is dependent upon atmospheric moisture and rainfall. The productivity of rice is low as compared to wheat in India because of the Green Revolution which boosted the wheat production in India. India is the second largest producer of rice in the world and the paddy fields are required to be flooded with 10 to 12 cm of deep water during the early stages. The crop requires a temperature of approx 24 degree Celsius and rainfall of about 150 cm. It can be cultivated in clayey or loamy type of soils and the farmers use transplantation techniques, Japanese transplantation techniques and the new SRI techniques for its cultivation. The common varieties are Aman, Sali, Afghani, Aus, Boro, Palua and the major rice producing states are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Tamilnadu and Haryana.
  • Wheat – It is a Rabi type of crop and is the second most important food crop in India. India is the second highest wheat producing country worldwide. The required temperature for growing wheat is 17 to 20 degree Celsius and rainfall of about 20-100 cm. It can be grown in Clayey, Loamy or Sandy type of soil. The common varieties are Kalyan Sona, Sonalika, Heera and the major wheat producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.
  • Cotton – Cotton is a fibre crop and is a tropical and subtropical kharif crop also known as ‘White Gold’. India is the third largest cotton producing country worldwide. It is usually a dry crop but its roots need timely supply of water during the maturity stage. The ideal temperature is 21 to 30 degree Celsius with rainfall of about 50-100 cm. The required soil type is black soil which is a highly water retentive soil. The common varieties are long staple, medium staple and short staple and the major cotton producing states are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Orissa.
  • Sugarcane – Sugarcane is an important cash crop that is grown during Kharif and Rabi Seasons. India ranks second in producing sugarcane worldwide. The crop requires a long rainy season for at least 7 to 8 months with 75 to 150 cm of rainfall and the ideal temperature being 20-26 degree Celsius and the required soil type is clayey loam soil or black cotton soil or red loamy soil or brown loamy soil. Sugarcane was produced in North India traditionally but has now been shifted to South India as well and the South Indian tropical variety and the coastal areas sugarcane have high sugar content and high yield. The major sugarcane producing states in India are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Punjab.

  • Tea – Tea is a plantation crop and is evergreen that mainly grows in tropical and subtropical climate. It is a labour intensive crop where 50% of the labourers are women. The crop grows fast in light shade and it requires a temperature of about 20 to 30 degree Celsius and rainfall of about 150 to 300 cm. It grows best in loamy soil which is acidic in nature and rich in organic matter. India is the second largest tea producing country and is also the largest consumer of tea in the whole world. The plants require heavy rainfall but water logging should be avoided and therefore it is cultivated in sloppy areas. The major tea producing states in India are Assam, Darjeeling, Meghalaya, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

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Advantages of Cash Crop Farming

  • Crop farming is an accurate method to raise affordable food in higher quantities.
  • It generates profit to the farmers and serves as a source of their sustenance.
  • It provides employment in the processing areas promoting economic diversification.
  • It earns revenue for the government.

Disadvantages of Cash Crop Farming

  • Limited production of certain food crops due to monocropping or sole crop
  • Monocropping leads to soil degradation or growth of pests and diseases.
  • Cash crop farming is beneficial only to the farmers who have food security and have other sources of income.


Cash Crop Farming is meant for earning profits but is only beneficial for those who have large farms and could afford expensive equipment, fertilisers or other requirements.

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Cash crops can help in boosting the economy but can discourage growing crops that are meant for domestic consumption.






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