The rice is cultivated on the largest areas in India. Historians believe that while the indica variety of rice was first domesticated in the area covering the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas (i.e. north-eastern India).Rice is a nutritional staple food which provides instant energy as its most important component is carbohydrate (starch). Rice is grown in almost all the states of India. The main rice producing states are Tamilnadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Chhatisgarh, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam and Maharashtra. It is also grown in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujrat and Kashmir Valley. The rice growing areas in the country can be broadly grouped into five regions as discussed below :
- North-Eastern Region:This region comprises of Assam and North eastern states. In Assam rice is grown in the basin of Brahmnaputra river. This region receives very heavy rainfall and rice is grown under rain fed condition.
- Eastern Region This region comprises of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. In this region rice is grown in the basins of Ganga and Mahanadi rivers and has the highest intensity of rice cultivation in the country. This region receives heavy rainfall and rice is grown mainly under rain fed conditions.
iii. Northern Region: This region comprises of Haryana, Punjab, Western Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. The region experiences low winter temperature and single crop of rice from May-July to September-December is grown.
- Western Region: This region comprises of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Rice is largely grown under rain fed condition during June-August to October – December.
- Southern Region: This region comprises of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Rice is mainly grown in deltaic tracts of Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery rivers and the non-deltaic rain fed area of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Rice is grown under irrigated condition in deltaic tracts.
Wheat is the second most important food crop of India next to rice. It is a Rabi or winter crop. It is sown in the beginning of winter and harvested in the beginning of summer. Normally (in north India) the sowing of wheat begins in the month of October-November and harvesting is done in the month of March-April. This is the staple food of millions of people particularly in the northern and north-western regions of India. Unlike rice, wheat is grown mostly as a rabi or winter crop.
The main regions of wheat production in India are U.P., Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat,Maharashtra. U.P., Punjab and Haryana together produce more than 66% of the total wheat of the country.
Cotton requires a daily minimum temperature of 16ºC for germination and 21ºC to 27ºC for proper crop growth. During the fruiting phase, the day temperature ranging from 27ºC to 32ºC and cool nights are needed. The sowing season of cotton varies considerably from tract to tract and is generally early (April-May) in northern India where it is mostly irrigated. It is delayed on proceeding to down south. It is cultivated largely under rainfed or dryland conditions. An annual rainfall of atleast 50 centimetre distributed through-out the growing season is required for good yield. It is mainly raised during tropical monsoon season, although in southern India it is cultivated during late-monsoon season in winter. The cotton-picking period from mid September to November must have bright sunny days to ensure a good quality.
India has the largest area under cultivation and third largest producer of cotton next only to China and the USA. Within the country two third of total area and production is shared by four states. The main states for cotton production are Panjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.
Jute is a crop of humid tropical climates. It thrives well in areas with well distributed rainfall of 2,500 mm spread over vegetative growth period of the crop with no cloudiness. Locations with a mean rainfall of <1,000 mm, incessant rainfall and waterlogging are not suitable for its cultivation.
West Bengal, Bihar and Assam grow jute extensively.
Sugarcane belongs to the grass family. It has a thick jointed stem, Which contains the cane sugar, The juice can be taken as a drink or made into sugar, jaggery or khandsari. . The by-products of sugar are very useful. Bagasse is used to make paper, cattle feed, fuel for mills-and cardboard; molasses for power alcohol. Fertilizers, yeast and rum; and press mud of wax. and shoe polish. It supports the pesticide and fertilizer industries. Sugar factories provide employment to over a million ‘workers. India is the second largest sugarcane producer in the world.
Climatic and soil conditions which favour the cultivation of sugarcane are:-
- Temperature: 20°C-30°C. Temperature above 50°C arrests its growth and temperature below 20°C slows down its growth.
- Rain: 75-120cms. It cannot withstand frost. For ripening it needs a cool dry season.
- Soil: A medium heavy loam is ideal-In northern India it is cultivated on clay loams and alluvial soil while in south India it is cultivated on brown or reddish loams, black cotton soil and laterites.
Leading sugarcane producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab.Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh.
Rubber tree is sturdy, quick growing and tall. It grows on many types of soil provided the soil is deep and well drained. A warm humid equitable climate (2 1′ to 35′) and a fairly distributed rainfall of not less than 200 c m are necessary for the cultivation of rubber crop.
Kerala (accounts for 90% of the total area under rubber), Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andamanand Nicobar Islands. Parts of West Bengal. Orrisa., Maharashtra, Karnataka and’N.E parts of India are potential regions for rubber-cultivation.
Commercial Tea plantation in India was started by the Britishers in 1923 when wild tea plants were discovered by them in the hilly and forest areas of Assam.
Climatic conditions required for the growing of tea are
- Temp: 13-35°C. Average of 25°C is suitable.
- Humidity: – High humidity, heavy dew and morning fog promote growth if healthy leaves.
- Rainfall: Annual rainfalI (range) 150-350cm (well distributed)
- Soil- Well drained mountain soil, light, loamy, porous rich in nitrogen and iron/ laterite like the soil found in Assam
Assam is the leading producer that accounts for more than 50% of tea production of India. Tea producing areas of Assam are the hill slopes bordering the Brahmaputra and Surma valleys. West Bengal is the second largest producer of tea where tea is mostly grown in the districts of Darjeeling, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Bihar districts. Tamil Nadu is the third largest producer where tea growing areas are mostly restricted to Nilgiri hills.
Commercial cultivation of coffee was started by British entrepreneurs in South India during 1820’s.
Most of India’s coffee is grown in three Southern states: Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, the first two account for nearly 90 percent of total production. Much of the coffee in Kerala and Karnataka is grown in the Western Ghats, a mountain chain that runs parallel to the coast line and about 100 miles inland from the Arabian Sea. India exports nearly 70 percent of the coffee it produces. These exports consist mainly of high grade beans from both the Arabica and the Robusta growing regions.
Geographical Requirement for Coffee cultivation are as follows:-
- Temperatute:- should be ranging between 15 to 28°C throughout the year. Frost free environment. Direct raysof the sun are harmfui as it.is grown in the shade of trees. In its early stages of growth it needs to be protected from hot.dry winds.
- Rainfall:- 125cm- 250 cms throughout the year.
- Soil:-. Well drained, weathered volcanic soil, red and laterite soil. The presence of humus is essential. .
- Topography:- grows on hill slopes at elevation ranging from 500mts to 1800mts.