Kharif Crops | Types of Crops in India, Features, Rabi vs Kharif Crops

Kharif Crops

There are plenty of crops grown in India. The Indian geography and favorable climatic conditions make it great for several crops to be grown at different times and seasons. One of them is the Kharif crops.

The write-up aims to furnish information on Kharif Crops. Develop a better knowledge base by gaining deep insight on various topics related to it.

We have included its meaning, features, growing and harvesting season, vegetables and fruit which are grown, alternative names, the difference from Rabi crops, and more.

Also, we have included the types of crops in India to still a better understanding of the subject.

What are Kharif Crops?

Kharif, autumn, or monsoon crops refer to the crops which are grown in the monsoon season. They are sown and harvested in the rainy season only owing to the favorable climatic conditions.

The word Kharif has an Arabic origin and was started to use in India with the advent of the Mughal Empire.

It has been widely used since then. Kharif means autumn in Arabic and the seasons of the two coincide. Therefore, it is called the Kharif season and crops.

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What are the features of Kharif Crops?

The prominent features of the Kharif or monsoon crops are as follows:-

  • Grown in the rainy or monsoon season
  • Require hot or warm climatic conditions to grow
  • Need abundance of water for maturation
  • Shorter day lengths are needed for flowering
  • Kharif crop’s growth depends on the rainfall patterns
  • Sown in the months of April and May and harvested in the months of September and October
  • Major areas of cultivation are West Bengal, Assam, Odisha coastal regions, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh etc.

In which month Kharif crops are grown and harvested?

The Kharif crops are cultivated in the rainy or monsoon season. They are sown at the advent of the monsoon season in the months of April and May.

Once fully-developed, the crops are harvested at the end of the monsoon season in the months of September and October.

Which fruits and vegetables are grown in Kharif Season?

The prominently grown Kharif crop in India is Rice. Apart from it, there are various other cereals, fruits, vegetables and seeds grown in this season which are given in the table below:-

VegetablesFruitsCerealsSeeds
Bottle Gourd Brinjal Chilli Ladyfinger Bitter Gourd Tinda Tomato Sponge Gourd French Bean Cucumber Musk melon PumpkinSugarcane Orange Apple Almond Apricot Dates Coconut Figs Guava Litchi Plums Peaches WalnutRice Soybean Millets Bajra Jowar MaizeSesame Arhar Black Gram Cowpea Cotton Green gram Groundnut Moth bean Moong bean Urad bean Guar

What are the challenged faced by Kharif crops?

As Kharif crops are grown in the rainy season, there are certain challenges which they have to face which are as follows:-

  • Heavy or harsh rainfall patterns can lead to improper growth of the crops. An abundance of water is needed but more water than needed could adversely affect the growth pattern.
  • A hail storm can damage the crops. Heavy hails storms could make the crops bend or be permanently damaged which serves as a loss. There have been instances of hail storms at certain times that damaged half-grown of full-grown crops.
  • Inappropriate weather affects the growth pattern. It could lead to bigger of smaller grains or might affect the quality of the crop.

What is the other name of Kharif crop?

Kharif crops are also known are monsoon or rainy crops. This is because they are developed in the rainy season.

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Which is not a Kharif Crop?

Crops can be classified for being Kharif, Rabi, or Zaid crops based on the time of their cultivation.

A crop is not a Kharif crop when it is grown a season other than the monsoon or rainy season.

Difference between Kharif Crops and Rabi Crops

Crops are the plants of similar origin that are sown at one place on a large scale. Every crop has specific requirements of the climatic conditions for proper growth.

The main seasonal crops are divided into two which are Kharif crops and Rabi crops. Let’s explore how the two differ.

Basis of DistinctionKharif CropsRabi Crops
MeaningThese are the crops which are sown at the beginning of the rainy season, e.g. between April and May.They are the crops that are sown at the end of monsoon or at the beginning of winter season, e.g. between September and October.
Another NameKharif crops are known as monsoon crops.Rabi crops are also known as winter crops or spring crops.
Dependency on rainfallKharif crops depends on the rainfall patterns.Rabi crops are not affected by the rainfall patterns.
Major CropsRice, maize, cotton, Jowar, Bajra etc.Wheat, gram, peas, barley etc.
Weather, Climate and water requirementsKharif crops require a lot of water and hot weather to grow.Rabi crops need warm climate for seed germination and cold climate for the growth of crops.
Flowering DurationKharif crop flowering requires shorter day length.Rabi crop flowering requires longer day length.
Harvestings monthsIt has harvesting months from September to October.It has harvesting months from March to April.

What are the types of crops in India?

types of crops in India

India has its name for being a top producer country of many crops across the world. It owes to the vital role of agriculture in the Indian economy.

Also, the geographical condition of India paves the way for the growth of various crops in India.

Above all, the weather and soil conditions make it favorable for the growth of the crops.

Crops in India can be classified on several bases. It can be based on area, weather, seasons, economic value, and more.

However, the major classification of crops in India is done based on its usage and season.

The classifications under both categories and their details have been provided below.

Majorly, the crops grown in India are divided into four categories based on their usage:-

Food crops

Considered to be vital for human beings, food crops form an essential part of the human diet.

In simple terms, these are the crops that provide food that humans require for consumption. It can be consumed by animals as well.

These mainly constitute of legumes, cereals, vegetables, fruits and tubers such as rice, wheat, grams, pulses etc.

Cash crops

Also, known as profit crops, cash crops are cultivated for commercial purposes. It is grown to be sold in the market to earn profits.

They solely serve as a source of revenue for the cultivators. A large part of cash crops cultivated in India is sold in national and international markets.

The cash crops developed and cultivated in developing nations primarily export their stock to the developed economies.

The major cash crops grown in India are sugarcane, cotton, jute, tobacco, oilseeds etc.

Plantation crops

Plantation crops refer to the practice of growing a single crop in a large part of the land. They are the commercial crops of perennial nature.

These are extensively cultivated in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. These crops are grown and picked throughout the year and consumed after processing.

Some of the prominent plantation crops grown in India are tea, coffee, cashew nuts, rubber, coconut, cocoa, betel vine, areca nut and more. 

Horticulture crops

Horticulture crops include the cultivation of food and vegetables. They are protective food for humans and have the adequate supply of the needed supporting minerals, vitamins and nutrients.

In India, horticulture is the largest sub-sector of agriculture which produces high-quality fruits and vegetables that are traditional as well as exotic.

On the basis of season and climatic conditions, the crops in India are divided into three categories:-

Kharif crops

These are the crops which are grown in the rainy or monsoon season. As soon as the season commences, the crops are sown and harvested at the end of the monsoon season.

Kharif crops require hot or warm weather and an abundance of water to grow.

The major Kharif crops are Rice, Bajra, Jowar, Turmeric, Pulses etc.

Rabi crops

Sown in the outset of the winter season in October-November, Rabi crops require a warm climate for the seeds to germinate.

Cold weather is needed for the crops to mature and grow further. They are harvested in the months of April and May.

The major Rabi crops grown in India are tomato, potato, barley, onion, oil seeds etc.

Zaid crops

These are the crops which are sown and harvested between the Kharif and Rabi season. They are also known as the early maturing crops.

The prominently grown Zaid crops are bitter gourd, pumpkin, watermelon, muskmelon, moong dal, cucumber, etc.

In India, over 70% of the population is dependent on agriculture for its living. Also, the agricultural industry serves are a primary and important source of raw material for agro-based industries.

Agriculture is considered to be the backbone of the Indian economy and must be preserved, supported, and promoted at all costs.

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