Major Cropping Seasons in India

There are three main cropping seasons in India – Kharif, Rabi, and Zaid. To know the important facts about these Indian cropping seasons is important from the IAS Exam perspective. Questions from this topic can be asked in both Prelims and Mains GS-I. Read on about the cropping seasons, types of crops, and the importance of agriculture for UPSC.


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Facts about three cropping seasons in India

The important facts about the major cropping seasons of India are given in the tables below:

#Kharif Season

Major Cropping Season in India – Kharif

What are the examples of Kharif Crops? Some important Kharif Crops are:

  • Bajra
  • Jowar
  • Maize (corn)
  • Millet
  • Rice (paddy and deepwater rice)
  • Soybean
What is meant by Kharif Season? The cropping season in India starts in June and ends in October where monsoon crops are cultivated and harvested.

#Rabi Season

Major Cropping Season in India – Rabi

What are Rabi crops? Examples. Some important Rabi Crops are:

  • Barley
  • Gram
  • Rapeseed
  • Mustard
  • Oat
  • Wheat 
  • Bajra 
Is Coffee a Rabi crop? No, Tea and Coffee are Kharif crops. 
What is a Rabi season? The season where crops are sown in mid-November and harvested in April/May is called Rabi Season. 

#Zaid Season

Major Cropping Season in India – Zaid

What are Zaid crops? Examples. Some important Zaid Crops are:

  • Pumpkin
  • Cucumber
  • Bitter Gourd.
When Zaid crops are sown and harvested? Since the Zaid crops are also called summer crops, they are sown and harvested between March and June. 

Types of crops in India – Details

1. Kharif Crops

  • July – October
  • Harvest – September to October
  • A.k.a Monsoon Crops
  • Such crops require a lot of water
  • Example: rice, sorghum, maize, tea, rubber, coffee, guar, Sesame, cereals such as Arhar Dhal, pearl millet, soybeans, cotton, oilseeds, etc.

2. Rabi Crops

  • Sowing between October and November
  • Harvest – February to April
  • A.k.a Winter Season Crops
  • Need cold weather for growth
  • Need less water
  • Example: wheat, oats, barley, pulses, cereals, oilseeds, linseed, etc.

3. Zaid Crops

  • Sowing between March and June (between Kharif and Rabi)
  • Requires warm & dry weather for growth and a longer day-length for flowering
  • Example: Seasonal fruits and vegetables

Importance of Agriculture for UPSC prelims

Agriculture in India is an important topic in Indian geography. 49% of the population in India is dependent on agriculture. In the total geographical area in India, 141 million hectares is the net sown area while 195 million hectares is the gross cropped area.

Agriculture in India contributes to 14% of the GDP and the distribution of income and wealth. It provides essential amenities like food for the people and fodder for the animals. It also provides a major source of raw materials to the agro-based industries in India.

The vast relief of the country, varied climate, and soil conditions cause the provision of a variety of crops.  All tropical, subtropical and temperate crops are grown in India but predominantly food crops are cultivated in 2/3rd of the total cropped area.

Major Cropping Seasons in India – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions about the cropping seasons in India


What are the main roping seasons in India?

There are three distinct crop seasons in India, namely Kharif, Rabi and Zaid. The Kharif season started with Southwest Monsoon under which the cultivation of tropical crops such as rice, cotton, jute, jowar, bajra and tur are cultivated.

Which is the main food crop of India?

Major crops grown in India are rice, wheat, millets, pulses, tea, coffee, sugarcane, oil seeds, cotton and jute, etc. of canal irrigation and tubewells have made it possible to grow rice in areas of less rainfall such as Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan.

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Also, See:

Geography Syllabus Geography Questions for UPSC Mains (2013-2019)
Geography Optional Syllabus

UPSC Geography Tips from topper

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