Crops are plants that are grown and harvested for eating or selling. On the basis of usage, crops are classified into three types: Crops grown for food, Beverage Crops, and Crops grown for agro-based industries. These include fibre crops.
The Crops which are grown for food are called food crops like rice, wheat, millets and maize. Every food crop needs a specific environment and geographical conditions to grow and thrive. Hence different crops are produced at different places.
Rice is the main component of people’s diet in the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. This is because rice crops show best yield with high temperature, high humidity and rainfall. Alluvial clayey soil is the best for growing rice as it can retain water.
China is the leading producer of rice, followed by India which together account for half of the world’s total rice production. Japan, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Bangladesh are the other major producers of rice.
In, the climatic conditions enable farmers to grow other crops as well in a year, such as pulses.
Wheat requires a well-drained loamy soil. This crop grows best in moderate rainfall and moderate temperature and requires loads of sunshine in the harvest season. Hence, in India, wheat is sown in the winter season and harvested in the summer. Bangladesh, West Bengal, the Prairies of the USA, Canada, Russia, Australia and Pakistan are major producers of wheat.
Millets are also known as coarse grains and are available in the form of jowar, bajra and ragi in India. Millets grow well on soils of relatively low fertility or sandy soil and require low to adequate rainfall and temperatures ranging from high to moderate. Along with India other major producers of millets in the world are China, Niger and Nigeria.
Maize another popular food crop is commonly referred to as corn. The soil needs to be well drained and fertile for growing maize with moderate temperatures, moderate rainfall and abundance of sunshine. The major producers of maize in the world are: USA, Brazil, China, Mexico, India, Canada, and South Africa.
The major crops grown for agro-based industries are cotton and jute and are also known as fibre crops. Cotton is the main raw material for the cotton textile industry and owing to its light and airy texture, it is ideal for clothing.
A good yield of cotton requires: high temperatures, light rainfall, 210 frost-free days and plenty of sunlight. Black soil and alluvial soil are best suited for growing cotton. Hence, in India, cotton is mostly grown in parts of the Deccan Plateau. Apart from Indian the leading producers of cotton in the world are: China, The USA, Pakistan, Brazil and Egypt.
Jute on the other hand is golden in colour with a silky shine and is popularly known as the Golden Fibre. Jute requires high temperatures, plain alluvial soil, plenty of rainfall and a humid climate to thrive. India and Bangladesh are the primary providers of jute.
Beverage crops include crops like tea and coffee. Tea grows best in regions with a cool and humid climate, well-distributed rainfall through the year and well-drained soil, like the loamy soil. Hence tea planters need areas with sloping grounds as the slope ensures that water does not clog.
China, India, Kenya and Sri Lanka are known to produce the finest tea in the world. Darjeeling tea is recognized by consumers worldwide for its unique flavor and quality.
Coffee is another popular beverage crop worldwide. Coffee grows well in: well-drained loamy soil and hilly slopes. The climate needs to be warm and wet like in subtropical regions. Brazil is the world leader in the production of coffee, followed by Columbia and India.