Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population, i.e, two-thirds of our population is engaged in agricultural activities. The Gross Value Added (GVA) by the agriculture, forestry and fishing and other allied sectors stood at 4%. Indian agricultural sector is heavily dependent on climatic changes. Based on the cropping seasons, there are three major agricultural seasons in India: Rabi, Kharif and Zaid.
Agricultural Seasons in India
Being a predominantly agricultural country, two-third of India’s population depends on agriculture or its allied services for livelihood. Agriculture is the mainstay of the Indian economy, providing employment and livelihood to thousands. Agriculture also contributes about a third to our national income. Based on the climate seasons, India has three cropping seasons —Rabi, Kharif and Zaid.
Crops & Agricultural Seasons in India
Rabi crops are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June. Rabi means spring in Arabic. The Rabi crops are grown in the winter season (October to December) and harvested in the spring season (Aril-May).
Some of the important rabi crops are:
- wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard.
These crops are grown in large parts of Indian states from the north and northwestern parts such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are important for the production of wheat and other rabi crops. Availability of rain during winter months due to the western temperate
cyclones helps in the success of these crops. However, the success of the green revolution in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan has also been an important factor in the growth of these rabi crops.
Kharif crops are grown with the onset of monsoon in different parts of the country and these are harvested in September-October. Kharif crops, monsoon crops, or autumn crops are cultivated and harvested in the monsoon season.
Important crops grown during this season are:
- paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar), moong, urad, cotton, jute, groundnut and soya bean.
Some of the most important rice-growing regions are Assam, West Bengal, coastal regions of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra, along with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In Assam, West Bengal and Odisha, three crops of paddy are grown in a year. These are Aus, Aman and Boro.
In between the rabi and the Kharif seasons, there is a short season during the summer months are known as the Zaid season. Zaid crops are grown between Kharif and Rabi Seasons, i.e., between March to June. Some of the crops produced during ‘Zaid’ are
- watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber, vegetables and fodder crops
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