Complete Essay on “Commercial (Cash) Crops of India”– (5615 Words)

These are grown mostly on plantations. Cash crops are very important because they play a significant role in the economy of the country. These crops not only provide raw material for several industries, but also are valuable foreign exchange earners.

Types of Cash Crops:

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Cash crops can be categorized as under:

1. Fibre:

The natural fibres, whether of animal origin (silk, wool) or vegetable origin (cotton, flax, jute) have formed the basis of the textile industry for centuries.

2. Oilseeds:

As awareness of the health benefits of vegetable oils over animal fats is growing, the demand for oilseeds (groundnut, mustard, sesamum, linseed, castor, etc) is also growing. The world over, animal fats are being substituted by vegetable oils.

3. Beverages (plantation crops):

The leading beverages, tea, coffee and cocoa are all grown exclusively in the tropical and sub-tropical zones, but they are consumed in all parts of the world. Thus, they play an important role in international trade. Tea is the cheapest and most universally drunk.

Coffee is next in popularity and is by far the largest tropical commodity in world trade. Cocoa is less important because its commercial cultivation began only late in the 1?th century and its use as a beverage is subordinate to that as an ingredient in the manufacture of chocolate and confectionery.

Sugarcane (Saccharum Officinarium):

Sugarcane is a tropical crop. It is believed that India is the home of this plant. This crop is the main source of sugar, gur and khandsari.

(a) The sugarcane plant belongs to the grass family. It has long, narrow leaves and a thick jointed stem which contains the cane sugar. It can grow to a height of about 3 metres.

(b) India is the second largest sugarcane producer in the world after Brazil. Uttar Pradesh grows half of the total sugarcane cultivated in India.

(c) Sugarcane is the main source of sugar. Sugarcane juice is extracted by crushing the stalks. Then the juice is boiled, evaporated and sugar separated from it by centrifuging.

Conditions of Growth:

It grows well on fertile soil with high temperatures and rainfall. It depletes the soil and a regular supply of manure is essential. It is a long duration crop with a growing period of about 10 to 12 months.

(a) Temperature:

Sugarcane needs temperatures ranging between 20°C to 30°C. Very high temperatures arrest its growth while low temperatures slow its growth. It cannot stand frost. Cool temperatures are needed at the time of ripening.

(b) Rainfall:

It grows best in areas receiving 75 cm to 150 cm of rainfall. It grows best on irrigated land, since it requires alternating periods of wet and dry conditions.

(c) Soil:

Sugarcane is grown on well-drained fertile soil. Water-logged soil reduces its sugar is grown in the alluvial soil of the Ganga Plain and the black soil of southern India. It makes heavy demands on the soil and removes much of its nutrients. Hence, the use of manure is essential to ensure high yields.

Methods of Cultivation:

1. Sowing:

The land is cleared of all vegetation. Manure is applied to the field much before planting begins. Sugarcane can be grown from seeds but all commercial plantings are made from stalk cuttings of two to three joints.

These cuttings are known as “setts”. The setts for planting are taken from well-manured, erect and healthy canes. They are planted in furrows about 1.5 m to 2 m apart. The plants begins to grow in about two weeks. New stalk emerges from the soil and leaves appear soon after. Fertilized soil is piled around the plant.

Ratoon Cropping is another way of growing a new crop of sugarcane. In this method the cane is cut close to the ground. After the cane has been cut, it begins to grow again and produces a second crop called ratoon. The field is irrigated as soon as possible. Generally, two ratoon crops are obtained from each planting.

2. Harvesting:

The time of harvesting varies according to the type of sugarcane and the area where it is grown. Harvesting is done before the cane begins to flower. The maximum concentration of sugar is at the base of the cane and so the cane is cut at ground level after removing the piled up soil around the plant. A curved knife called machete is used. The leaves are stripped off and the top of the stalk at the last matured joint is also cut off.

3. Processing:

After harvesting, the sugarcane has to be taken quickly for processing since the sugar content rapidly decreases after 48 hours. Sugarcane juice is processed by boiling the juice with lime and then filtering it. Of the total production, 50% is processed into jaggery (gur) 30% into white sugar and 20% into khandsari (powdered gur).


The sugarcane production has increased from 3.8 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 339.17 million tonnes in 2010-11. India is the leading producer of sugarcane in the world but produces only 20% of the world’s total sugar.

The total consumption of sugar in India during 2010-11 was 207.36 lakh tones, while per capita consumption of sugar (kg/year) was 17.5. Although the total area under cultivation of sugarcane is more in northern India, the yield per hectare in the southern states is higher due to:

1. Favourable geographical conditions, and

2. The application of scientific methods of cultivation.

Areas of Production:

The three distinct belts of sugarcane are: (a) Sutlej-Ganga plain from Punjab to Bihar; (b) the black soil belt from Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu along the eastern slopes of the Western-Ghats (c) Coastal Andhra and the Krishna Valley. Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of sugarcane.

The other states in the Ganga Plain are Bihar, Punjab and Haryana. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh which accounts for 48.5% of the total cane production.

The important sugarcane producing states in Peninsular India are Maharashtra, Karnataka. Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh. The heaviest concentration occurs in the upper Ganga Yamuna Doab, Rohelkhand and the trans-Saryu districts i.e., Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Moradabad, Bijnor and Kheri.

Uttar Pradesh:

Uttar Pradesh far excels all other states with regard to production and area of sugarcane. The state accounts for over 40.08 per cent of the production and about (47.36) half of the area under sugarcane cultivation of India. In fact, all parts of the state except a few dry areas in the west and south-west and in the mountainous areas of the Uttarakhand, produce sugarcane to some extent.

Vast alluvial plains, congenial climate and large scale use of irrigation and fertilizers are some of the important factors which have helped UP. To acquire this status. The largest concentration is in the upper Ganga-Yamuna Doab, Rohelkhand and trans-Saryu areas which together produce about 70 cent of sugarcane produced in this state.

Western part of the state forms the core of sugarcane production in the country. As many as 31 districts of U.P. produce sugarcane. However, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Bijnor, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Kheri, Deoria, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Bareilly and Sitapur are the important sugarcane producing districts.


Maharashtra is the second largest producer of sugarcane in India, this state lags far behind UP. With respect to area and the production accounting only for about 21 per cent of the production and about 118.90 per cent of the area of the country. But Maharashtra is in a superior position with respect to this yield of sugarcane per hectare as well as recovery of sugar and duration of crusing period.

Thirteen out of one hundred leading producing districts of India are in this state. Most of the sugarcane is grown on black lava soil with the help of irrigation. Most of the production comes from Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Pune, Nasik, Solapur, Sangli, Satara, Osmanabad and Aurangabad.

Tamil Nadu:

Though Tamil Nadu accounts only for about 10.98 per cent of the production and nearly 7.02 per cent of the area under sugarcane of the country, this state has unique distinction of giving highest yield of 104671 quintals/hectare. Over 80 per cent of the production comes from North Arcot Ambedkar, South Arcot Vallalar, Periyar, Salem, Tiruchirapalli and Coimbatore districts. The rest is contributed by Dharampuri, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Ramnathpuram districts.


Karnataka is the third largest sugarcane producing state of India. Most of the sugarcane is grown with the help of irrigation. Belgaum, Mandya, Mysore, Bijapur, Shimoga and Chitradurga are important producing districts.

Andhra Pradesh:

Most of the cultivation is done in the coastal areas having fertile soil and suitable climate. West Godavari, East Godavari. Vishakhapatnam, Krishna, Srikakulam and Nizamabad are important producers.


Gujarat produces only 4.24 per cent sugarcane from 3.68 per cent area of India. Its recovery of 10.31 per cent of sugar is also one of the highest among the major sugar cane producing states of India. Surat, Bavnagar, Rajkot. Junagadh and Jamnagar are the important sugarcane producing districts.


Bihar’s main sugarcane producing areas comprise a continuation of the main sugarcane producing belt of U.P. In the recent years, area under sugarcane has decrease because much of the sugarcane area has been shifted to wheat cultivation. Champaran, Gaya, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Durbhanga and Patna are the main producing districts.


Sugarcane cultivation in Punjab has suffered a lot on account of shifts in favour of wheat after the introduction of Green Revolution strategy. Still Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Sangrur, Rupnagar, Patiala, Ludhiana, Firozepur, Amritsar are important producers of sugarcane in Punjab.

Cotton (Gossypium):

Cotton is the most important fibre crop of India. It holds first place among commercial crops. India’s cotton production in year 2012 was 25,000 (1000480 1b. bales) showing a negative growth of 0.38 per cent over the previous year (26,500 in year 2011).

The cotton plant is a shrub about I m to 1.5 m high with large leaves. After two months the plant produces big yellow flowers which develop into “bolls’. These, on maturity, burst open to reveal a fluffy mass of long white lint hairs covering a mass of brown seeds.

The quality of cotton depends on length of fibres, fineness, strength and colour. Cotton with fibres over 2.8 cm in length is called “long staple” which is considered the best. Most of the cotton grown in India as the “short staple” variety with a fibre length of 2.2 cm.

Conditions of Growth:

Cotton is essentially a tropical crop but it can be cultivated in higher latitudes provided there is no frost. It is cultivated as a kharif crop in most parts of India. On irrigated land it is cultivated as a Rabi crop.

1. Temperature:

Summer temperatures of 21 °C to 27°C and abundant sunshine is necessary during the growth of the plant.

2. Rainfall:

Rainfall ranging between 50 cm to 80 cm is adequate but it needs to be well distributed during the growing period. Warm days and cool nights are good for the development of the boll and fibre during the fruiting stage. Rain during this stage may result in the fibre becoming mouldy and discoloured. That is why cotton grows best on irrigated land in hot climate.

3. Soil:

Cotton can be grown on a variety of soils but the black cotton soil of the Deccan Plateau which has the ability to retain moisture is most suitable. Good drainage is essential as the plant cannot stand water-logging.

Methods of Cultivation:

1. Sowing:

In most parts where cotton is grown as a kharif crop, the fields are ploughed in June. Cotton is often grown in rotation with crops like oilseeds, legumes and various cereals. Traditionally seeds are sown by broadcasting. Drill sowing is being more widely used in recent years.

2. Harvesting:

The crops are harvested in October when the rainfall decreases but the temperatures are still high. These conditions help in the ripening and the bursting of the cotton bolls. The bolls are picked entirely by hand. The picking season lasts from November to February when conditions are dry.

There are three to four pickings as the bolls keep maturing. The plants need to be protected by various pests and diseases such as the boll worm, boll weevils and wilt, (bollworm is a caterpillar that eats the buds and bolls of cotton plants). The threat of these pests and diseases is prevalent throughout the season. The use of insecticides and fungicides provide some protection to the farmer.

3. Processing:

Raw cotton has to pass through a process of ginning to separate the seeds from the raw material known as lint. This is a very important process before cotton is sent from the fields to the factories. The gin separates the seed from the fibres. Then the lint is closely packed into bales and sent to the mills for spinning into yarn. Through the process of ginning, cotton seeds are obtained which yield a yellow oil and is used in the preparation of margarine and soap.


Kalyan, Vijayalaxmi, Madras, Uganda, Westerns, Buri, Punjab, lndore-2, MCU-4and Sujata. Extra long staple varieties are H4, Shanker 4 & 6, MCU5 & Suvin.

Areas of Production:

Cotton producing areas can be divided into two broad regions, viz., Southern region, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and the northern region comprising Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. About two-thirds cotton in India is produced by four major states viz., Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana. The total area under cotton cultivation was 11.99 million hectares in 2011-12 and production was 36.10 million bales.


Punjab tops the list of cotton producing states in terms of productivity. Punjab has the distinction of having the highest per hectare yield in the country (667 kg/hectares) and as a result, it contributes 8.35% of the country’s production next only to Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh though it has only about 5.04% of the total area under this crop.

Most of its production is in the form of superior medium staple cotton, mainly the Punjab-American Ferozepur, Faridkot and Bhatinda districts in the Malwa regions account for nearly 90% of the production.


Gujarat has the third highest hectare yield (551 kg/hectares). It produces 33.59% of cotton production on 24.32% of total area in 2009-10.


Haryana is the second highest hectare yield in the country next only to Punjab. The state’s percentage in India’s total area and production of cotton amounts to about 5.00 and 8.02 per cent in 2009-10 respectively. Most of the production is from the Punjab-America superior medium staple variety. Hissar and Sirsa districts contribute over 80% of the production. Jind, Rohtak and Bhiwani account for most of the remaining.


Although Maharashtra has 34.50% of the country’s total cotton area, it produces only 24.39% of the total output due to very low yields, about 80% of its production is raised in the Khandesh, Marathwada and Vidarbha regions in the districts from Jalgaon to Parbhani and Nagpur. The principal varieties grown are: H4, Buri, AK235 and 277, Virnar, Varalaxmi, Laxmi etc.


About 4.72% of the country’s total area and production is contributed by the state, though per hectare yield is below the national average. Most of the production comes from the North Karnataka Plateau including the districts of Dharward which accounts for over 29% and Belgaum, Raichur, Bijapur, Bellary and Gulbarga.

Jute (Corchorus Capsularis):

Jute is believed to have been cultivated in India as early as 800 B.C. It is a tropical fibre plant and grows well in the delta region of the Ganga-Brahmaputra valley. India is the second largest producer after Bangladesh. Jute is the “golden fibre” of India since its products are an important foreign exchange earner.

It is often called the {brown paper bag of wholesale trade} due to the widespread use of jute fabric (sack cloth) for wrapping bales of cotton and wool and rice, wheat, sugar, pulses, fertilizer and cement in sacks. It is also used to manufacture carpets, rugs, tarpaulins, upholstery, ropes and strings.

In respect to jute and Mesta, the production estimated at 10.84 million bales of 180 kg in 2005-06 each is higher than the production of 10.27 million bales in 2004-05 showing a decline of 7.4 percent. The jute plant grows to a height of 2 to 4 metres. It has a spear like appearance round one inch stems. It has some branches at the top. The fibre which is soft and strong is obtained from the inner bark of the stem.

Conditions of Growth:

1. Temperature:

The jute plant needs high temperatures. A temperature of 34°C is best but it can grow in areas with a minimum temperature of 27’C. It also requires high relative humidity of 80% to 90%.

2. Rainfall:

The jute plant needs heavy rainfall of about 170 cm to 200 cm evenly distributed during the growing period. Continuous drought is damaging to the crop.

3. Soil:

It is widely grown in sandy and clay loams. It grows well on alluvial soil in the flood plains and deltas of rivers which is renewed every year since the jute plant deletes the fertility of the soil very rapidly. That is why it grows best in the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta.

Methods of Cultivation:

Jute is cultivated on small farms by thousands of farmers with the help of their family members.

1. Sowing:

The jute plant is sown between March to June. Seeds are either broadcast or dropped into shallow furrows. In recent years, line sowing using drills has become common.

2. Harvesting:

The jute plant is ready for harvest in about 4 to 6 months when flowers begin to appear. The plants are cut close to the ground or uprooted if the ground is flooded.

3. Processing:

Making the jute available from the fields to the mills is labour-intensive and requires a large work force.

(a) The harvested plants are left for 2-3 days for the leaves to dry up and shed. Then they are tied into bundles 20 cm to 25 cm diameter.

(b) Then the bundles are immersed in soft running water for 2 to 3 weeks. This process is known as retting.

After the tenth day, the stalks are checked. If the fibres slip out easily when the stalk is pressed between the finger and thumb, the retting process in considered complete.

(c) After the retting process is complete, fibres are obtained from the stalk by taking ten to twelve stalks at a time and beating them with a wooden mallet to loosen the fibres. The fibres are then washed in clean water and wrung. They are then spread out in the sun to dry.

(d) After the fibres are dry, they are made into bundles, sorted out according to quality and pressed into bales of 180 kg and shopped to manufacturers. If the jute is meant for local use, the bales are between 55 kg to 150 kg.


Mesta is a substitute for jute. It has coarser fibre and is inferior to jute in quality and strength. It can be used to make coarser sacks and bags. Since it can tolerate drier condition, it can be grown in areas unsuitable for the cultivation of jute. Mesta is cultivated in Bihar, Assam, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Kerala.

Area and Production:

West Bengal produces over 65% of the total output of Jute in the country; Assam, Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Tripura account for most of the remaining.

West Bengal:

With 63.33% of the total area and 74.82% of the total production, West Bengal is the dominant Jute/Mesta producing state in the country. The state has a well established jute goods industry consuming almost the entire raw Mesta production. Murshidabad and Nadia districts have nearly 45% of the state’s total jute area, the other areas being Hooghly, 24-Parganas, Jalpaiguri, Cooch-Behar, West Dinajpur and Malda.


With about 16.6% of total area and 12.82% of the total production it has 1692 kg/hectare yield in 2005-06.


The state has 6.67% of the area and production of Jute and Mesta in the country. Goalpara, Kamrup and Nowgong districts in the lower Brahmaputra Valley produce about 3/4th of the total output; the North and South Cachar are the important districts.


Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh. Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya are the other Jute/Mesta producing states. The districts of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh are under Mesta production. Kheri and Bahraich districts produce most of the output in Uttar Pradesh.


Vegetable oil is produced from a variety of crops grown in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. India is the leading oil-seed producing country in the world. They form an important part of our agricultural economy since ancient times. With the exception of palm-oil and olive oil, India grows all the principal oil-seeds. Vegetable oil faces little competition from synthetic products. The main competition exists between the wide varieties of vegetable oils which are produced from a variety of crops

Groundnut (Arachis Hypogaea):

India is the largest producer of groundnut in the world. It is a tropical crop and grows all over the Peninsular Plateau. Groundnut oil is used for cooking and in the manufacture of soaps, candles and margarine. The oilcake is used as cattle feed also, groundnut being a leguminous plant plays an important role in crop rotation and in enriching the soil.

Conditions of Growth:

Groundnut is a low growing tropical leguminous plant cultivated as a Kharif crop in most areas in Tamil Nadu. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. It is grown as a Rabi crop.

1. Temperature:

It grows best in areas with temperatures ranging between 22°C to 28°C.

2. Rainfall:

Rainfall of 50-75 cm is sufficient. It is a drought-resistant crop and can grow in areas of less rainfall. But the rainfall needs to be well-distributed during the flowering stage.

3. Soil:

It grows best in light sandy soil.

Methods of Cultivation:

1. Sowing:

It is an annual crop and is sown usually between June and July. When flowers appear, the flower stalks bend downwards and force the seedpods into the ground where they mature.

2. Harvesting:

Harvesting time is between October and December. A warm dry season is essential for ripening. The pods are stripped from the vines and dried in the Sun.

India is the largest producer of groundnut it the world and accounts for about one-third of the world’s production. Groundnut from 34.8 lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to a record production of 5.74 million tonnes in 2010-11. Thereafter, fluctuating trends in production have been observed.

It must be noted that groundnut is primarily a rainfed crop and there are bound to be fluctuations in its production, area and yield depending upon the amount of rainfall and its temporal distribution. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat are the main producers of groundnut in India and these states together account highest for about 85 per cent of total production of India.

Gujarat has the groundnut production i.e. 32.37 of total production (1.76 million tonnes) on 33.36% of the total area 2009-10. About 60 per cent of the state’s total production comes from Junagadh, Jamnagar, Amreli Bhavnagar, and Rajkot, Sabarkantha, Panchamahals and Surat districts.

Andhra Pradesh is the second largest producer of groundnut in India and accounts for over 18.53 per cent of India’s total production. About 50 per cent of the state’s production comes from Chittoor, Kurnool and Anantpur districts, though other districts also produce sufficient groundnut.

Tamil Nadu is the second largest producer accounting for over 16.39 per cent of the total groundnut produced in India. North Arcot, Ambedkar, South Arcot Vallalar, Salem, Tiruchirapalli and Coimbatore districts produce 70 per cent of the state’s total output.

Maharashtra produces about b.6i per cent of India’s groundnut. Jalgaon, Dhule, Kolhapur, Satara, Osmanabad, Yavatmal, Nasik and Amravati districts produce about two-thirds of the state’s production.

Karnataka produces about 9.43 per cent of the total groundnut production of India. Dharwar, Gulberga, Belgaum, Bellary, Kolar, Tumkur, Raichur and Mysore districts supply about three-fourths of the state’s total production. The other producers in order of production are Odisha (1.64%), Madhya Pradesh 44.01%), Rajasthan (6.53%), and Uttar Pradesh (1.12%). West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana and Bihar also produce small quantities of groundnut.


About 75 per cent of the total production enters the interestate trade—the main traders being Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab. India’s capacity to export groundnut and its products has drastically been reduced due to increased domestic consumption resulting from rapid population growth. However, groundnut cake is still exported to U.K. and other European countries and to Russia.

Mustard (Sarson) and Rapeseed (Brassica Compestristoria), Rai (Compestris Juncea):

The mustard and rapeseed plants lookalike in the field. They are Rabi crops and grown in rotation with the wheat crop. Indian mustard accounts for about 75-80% of the 5.8 million hectare (mha) under mustard-rapeseed crops.

There are different ecotypes of brown sarson;

(a) Lotni (Self Incompitable) is predominantly cultivated in colder regions e.g., Kashmir and H.P.

(b) Tora (Self Compatible) is cultivated in limited areas of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

(c) Yellow Sarson is mainly grown in Assam, Bihar, and Odisha.

(d) Toria is short duration crop cultivated in Assam, Bihar Odisha, and W. Bengal.

(e) Taramira is grown in drier parts of North West India-Rajasthan, Haryana, M.P., Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Western U.P.

Conditions of Growth:

Mustard and rapeseed are grown as Rabi crop. Grown with wheat, they have the same requirement of climate and soil. They are planted along with wheat and harvested a little before wheat when the crop turns yellow. Their growing period is 4 to 5 months from the time of sowing to harvesting.

1. Temperature: They are winter crops and grow well in temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C.

2. Rainfall: Rainfall ranging between 50 to 100 cm is adequate.

3. Soil: They grow well in alluvial soil.

Areas of Production:

Mustard from 0.76 million tonnes in 1950-51 to record production 7.67 million tonnes in 2010-11. Rajasthan is the largest producer of mustard and rapeseed (44.61% of total production). The other important growers are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Maharashtra.

India ranks third (next to China and Canada) in the area and production of rapeseed and mustard in the world. About 60% of the area and production of rapeseed and mustard is contributed by U P. and Rajasthan. Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal in U.P., most of the production comes from a mixed crop in Allahabad. Agra and Faizabad divisions.

Ferozepur, Faridkot, Bhatinda and Amritsar in Punjab, Bhind, Gwalior and Morena in Madhya Pradesh, Hissar, Sirsa, Rohtak, Bhiwani and Mahendergarh in Haryana, Goalpara, Sibsagar, Dibrugarh and Darrang in Assam, Mahesana and Banas-Kantha in Gujarat; Anantrfag in Jammu and Kashmir are the leading producing districts of these states.

Sesamum (Sesamumindicum):

India is the largest producer of sesamum in the world. It is grown in rotation with other crops like jowar or ragi. Sesamum is also known as sesame, til and gingelly.

Conditions of Growth:

It is grown both as a kharif and Rabi crop.

1. Temperature: It requires a temperature of 21 °C to 23°C.

2. Rainfall: Rainfall of 40 cm to 50 cm in sufficient. It cannot withstand prolonged drought or heavy rain.

3. Soil: It is grown in light sandy soil and black cotton soil.

Methods of Cultivation:

The plants grow to a height of 0.5 to 1.5 metres and they are ready for harvest in about 90 to 120 days when the leaves turn yellow. The plant is stacked upright and allowed to dry.

When the pods are dry, the seeds are shaken out of the pods and dried on mats. It is mostly grown as a Kharif crop in the northern states, where the winter season is too cold. In the south it is generally grown during the Rabi season.

Production and Distribution:

India has the world’s largest area under sesamum and is also the largest producer of this crop accounting for one-third of the world production. There has been overall 87% increase the production for 4.5 lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to a record 8.4 lakh tonnes in 1990-91.

After than it declined for 698 thousand tonnes in 2001-02 to 433 thousand tonnes in 2002-03. Sesamum is produced in almost all parts of the country but Gujarat is the largest producing states. In 2002-03 the state produced over 28% of the total production of India. The other major producers are West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum):

Linseed is obtained from a fibre plant known as flax from which linen is made. Flax is grown as a fibre in temperate countries of Europe, but in India it is mainly grown for its seed. Linseed oil is unsuitable for human consumption. Linseed has 35 to 47 percent oil content. This oil has a unique drying property and is used for manufacturing paints, varnishes, printing inks and water-proof fabrics.

Conditions of Growth:

Linseed is grown as a Rabi crop.

1. Temperature: It needs temperatures of 10°C- 20°C or more.

2. Rainfall: A rainfall of 50 cm to 75 cm is ad­equate.

3. Soil: It grows best on clayey loamy soil as well as the black cotton soil of the Peninsular Plateau and the alluvial soil of the Ganga Plains.

Areas of Production:

The main producer is Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Together Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh produce 81% of the total produces in India. It is also’ cultivated in Bihar, Rajasthan, Karnataka and West Bengal. India produces, about 10% of the world’s linseed and is world’s third largest producer after Russia and Canada. The average annual production is about 3.5 lakh tonnes with record production of 5.98 lakh tonnes in 1975-76.

Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are three main producers of linseed account­ing for about three-fourths, of the total production of India. Madhya Pradesh is the largest producer accounting for 45 thousand tonnes (26%) of linseed. Durg, Bilaspur, Balaghat, Satna, Rewa, Hoshangabad, Raipur, Vidisha, Jhabua, Sagar, Guna and Panna contribute a major part of the produc­tion.

Uttar Pradesh is the second largest producer with 37 thousand tonnes (21.4%) of linseed to its credit. Almost every district in Uttar Pradesh produces some linseed as a mixed crop but Agra, Etawah, Kanpur, Mirzapur, Allahabad, Gonda, Bahraich and Hamirpur are the main contributors. Bihar is the third largest producer. Bihar produces over 12 per cent of India’s linseed where Gaya, Darbhanga, Purnea, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Rohtas and Champaran

are the major producing districts. The other include Rajasthan, Orissa and Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.


Oil is obtained from the soyabean. The oil is used in making margarine, salad oil and other edible products. The oil is also used in industrial products like paint, varnish, linoleum and rubber fabrics. The soyabean has been described as the most versatile plant known to science. It can be made into many different types of food, or eaten in its natural state.

i. The beans contain almost twice as much fat and protein as meat.

ii. Unlike other pulses, the soyabean contains all the 22 amino acids necessary for healthy growth.

iii. They are low in cholestrol and starch and are a good source of iron and calcium.

iv. Flour made from soyabeans is high in protein and vitamin B and also gluten free.

v. India is the fifth largest Soyabean producing country in the world after the US, Brazil, Argentina and China.

vi. Soyabean is the third largest oilseeds crop in India, next only to groundnut and rape/mustard seed.

vii. It accounts for 25% of the total oilseeds produced in the country in a year. It contribute about 13.3 lakh tonne of oil (about 16%) out of the 82 lakh tonne of vegetable oil currently produced in the country.

viii. Madhya Pradesh is known as the Soyabean bowl of India, contributing 59% of the country’s Soyabean production followed by Maharashtra with 20% contribution and Rajasthan with a 6% contribution A.P., Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and other parts of India also produce the bean in small quantity.

ix. The United States is the world leader of Soyabean production. The major importers of Soyabean in the world are China and European Union.

Soyabean is an ancient food crop of China, Japan and Korea. It has a high protein content. The beans may be eaten as a vegetable or made into soyasauce. Soyabean is used as a substitute for animal protein. It is a leguminous plant and hence a good rotation crop.

Conditions of Growth:

The plant is a temperate crop. It requires summer temperatures of about 21 °C and a rainfall of about 100 cm. It can be grown in any kind of soil that has the ability to retain moisture.

Areas of Production:

In India, soyabean is mainly grown in Madhya Pradesh where it is grown on was 54.55% of the total area and it gave 64.29% of the total production in 2009-10 in the country.

Sunflower Seed:

The cultivation of sunflower plants for their seed was introduced into India as recently as in 1969.

Conditions of Growth:

In India it is possible to cultivate this crop throughout the year. It can grow in a variety of soils. It needs a cool moist climate at the time of sowing and early growth and warm sunny weather at the time flowering and harvesting. The sunflower plant is ready for harvesting in about 90 days.

Areas of Production:

Sunflower plant growing states in India are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.