Top 10 Cash Crops in India in 2023: List of Best Commercial Crops

23 May 2023
Top 10 Cash Crops in India in 2023: List of Best Commercial Crops
Cash crops are also known as commercial crops because they are primarily grown for commercial purposes, with large-scale consumers in India and around the world. By producing cash crops, farmers are essentially producing raw materials that are used by various industries.


The Indian agriculture is now largely modernized. It has become a potential source of not only sustaining livelihoods but also of improving the livelihoods. With the growth in agriculture and increase in demand for agricultural crops other than rice and wheat, year-on-year Indian agriculture is witnessing surplus production. As a result, they are either sold into the market or are readily available for exports. It is in this light, the cash crops in India have become popular among Indian farmers. Commercial farming in India offers a way for them to earn more money. In this blog article, we will look the Top 10 Cash Crops in India and importance of cash crops in India.

Cash Crops Definition

Cash crops refer to agricultural crops that are primarily grown for sale or export purposes, rather than for subsistence or personal consumption. These crops are typically high-value and in high demand, generating significant revenue for the farmers who grow them.

Today, most of the crops grown are cash crops as they are cultivated to sell into either international or domestic market.

Cash crops can be either food crops or non-food crops, and they vary widely in terms of the products they produce. Commercial crops example include coffee, tea, cocoa, cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, rubber, palm oil, and various types of fruits and vegetables.

Types of Cash Crops

Cash crops can be broadly divided into two types. These are food crops and non-food crops. Let us know about the cash crop types briefly.

Food cash crops: They are grown for meeting the food needs of the country and earn profit by selling them in the market. Some of the commercial crop examples of it includes wheat, rice, millets, and maize, among others.

Non-food crops: They are not grown for meeting the food needs of the country. They are solely grown from the motive of selling them in the market. The examples of it include rubber and cotton, among others.

Top 10 Cash Crops Names in India

In this section we will read about the list of cash crops images with names. The Top 10 commercial crops in India include Mustard, Jute, Sugarcane, Tobacco, Tea, and Coffee, among others. Let us see one by one.


Top Cash Crops - Mustard

Mustard has been cultivated in India since ancient times. Mustard cultivation is one of the cash crops which provides more profit to the farmers. It can be grown in both hot and cold climates, but it is best to grow it in winters. It is primarily a rabi crop. Further, this crop is produced in a short span of time from planting to harvesting, which gives the farmers instant cash to purchase the crop.

In India, mustard is cultivated majorly in the states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Gujarat. Rajasthan is also known as the ‘Mustard State of India’ as it is the largest mustard producing state of India. It produces around 44% of the total mustard production in the country.

Importance of Mustard Cultivation

  • It is a profitable crop, as oil, manure, oil cake and seed can be produced from it.
  • Its product mustard oil is used in mining, industrial and food industries in India.
  • The compost made from this provides nutrition to agricultural produce and the cake is used as fodder for cows and chickens.
  • In food industry, it is used in various food products like pickles, snacks, and condiments.


Top Cash Crops - Jute

Jute is an important cash crop in India. It is made from the jute plant’s stem, which is also known as Corchorus Plant. Presently, India is the world's largest producer of jute. In India, it is primarily grown in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, and Assam. The other states where it is grown are Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh.

In these states, farmers use various techniques to grow jute. However, the traditional method of growing jute involves sowing the seeds in small plots of land, followed by transplanting the saplings to a larger field.

Importance of Jute Cultivation

  • Jute is a versatile crop that can be used for various purposes such as making ropes, twines, carpets, bags, curtains, and other household items.
  • It is also used for making paper, and the pulp obtained from jute is used for making currency notes, among other things.
  • Jute is an eco-friendly crop that has a wide range of applications, making it a popular choice for farmers.


Top Cash Crops - Sugarcane

Sugarcane is one of the most important cash crops in India. It is a tall perennial grass that is grown primarily for sugar production, but it is also used for producing ethanol, biofuel, and jaggery.

Sugarcane is cultivated in many states in India including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat.

Uttar Pradesh is the largest producer of sugarcane in India, accounting for almost 45% of the total production. Maharashtra and Karnataka are the second and third-largest sugarcane producers in the country.

Sugarcane is grown in tropical and subtropical regions and requires a hot and humid climate with well-distributed rainfall. It is a long-duration crop and takes around 10 to 12 months to mature. Sugarcane farming requires considerable labour and is highly capital-intensive.

Importance of Sugarcane Cultivation

  • It is a multipurpose cash crop and one of the most important Kharif crop.
  • For food industry, it is used in making sugar, khandsari, jaggery.
  • Its bagasse is used to make paper and molasses.
  • Besides, it's bagasse is also used as a biofuel in countries like Brazil.


Top Cash Crops - Tobacco

Tobacco is another significant cash crop grown in India. In India, it was introduced by Portuguese in 1605. Presently, India is the fourth-largest producer and third-largest exporter of tobacco in the world.

Today, in India, it is mainly cultivated in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Tobacco is a labour-intensive crop that requires a lot of attention and care. It is mostly grown in areas with fertile soil and a warm climate. The best time for planting tobacco is from June to August, and the crop is harvested from December to February.

Tobacco cultivation involves various steps, such as land preparation, sowing, transplanting, irrigation, fertilizer application, and pest control. The crop is ready for harvesting when the leaves turn yellow and start drying up. After harvesting, the tobacco leaves are dried, cured, and sorted before being sent to the market.

Importance of Tobacco Cultivation

  • Tobacco is used in the production of cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff.
  • The tobacco industry in India generates a significant amount of revenue for the country and provides employment opportunities to thousands of people.
  • However, tobacco consumption has harmful effects on health, and the government has been implementing various measures to discourage tobacco use.


Top Cash Crops - Tea

The history of tea in India can be traced back to the 19th century when the British introduced tea cultivation in the country. In 1823, the British established the first tea plantation in Assam, in the northeast region of India. They also introduced tea cultivation in other parts of the country, including Darjeeling, Nilgiris, and Kangra.

Tea quickly became a popular beverage in India, with the demand for tea increasing rapidly. By the early 20th century, tea had become a major industry in India, with thousands of hectares of land devoted to tea cultivation. Today, India is the second largest producer of tea in the world after China.

In India, Assam is the largest producer of tea contributing about 50% of total tea production. It is followed by West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Tripura, among others. Speaking region-wise, northern India contributes 83% of total tea production of the country.

Importance of Tea Cultivation

  • It is one of the main contributors of state revenues in the tea growing states of India. For instance, it contributes 15% of state GDP of Assam.
  • It is also an important foreign exchange earner as India is the 5th largest exporter of tea in the world.
  • Proliferation of small tea businesses in place of large tea estates have given rise to immense employment opportunities in rural areas.


Top Cash Crops - Coffee

Coffee is one of the most important cash crops in India, with a rich history dating back to the 16th century. India is among the top 10 coffee producers in the world, with over 250,000 coffee farmers spread across 14 states. India contributes around 3% of the global coffee production. In terms of exports, according to Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), India is the 8th largest exporter of coffee globally.

The country produces two types of coffee, viz., Arabica and Robusta coffee, with Arabica being the more popular and preferred variety. However, Robusta coffee is the main export from India, which is low in acidity and high in bitterness compared to Arabica.

Coffee is a cash crop that is grown primarily in the southern states of India, including Karnataka, which is the largest producer of coffee in India. This southern state contributes around 70% of the total coffee production. It is followed by Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.

Importance of Coffee Cultivation

  • It provides direct employment to around 20 lakh people in rural areas of India.
  • It is an important source of foreign exchange in India.
  • It also aids in reducing soil erosion, is an important carbon sink and aids watershed management.
  • It helps maintain biodiversity in areas of mixed cropping on small farmlands.


Top Cash Crops - Rubber

Rubber was introduced on the hill slopes of Kerala in India in 1895. But as a commercial crop it was first grown in 1902. Today, India is the 4th largest producer of natural rubber in the world after Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

In India, rubber is grown primarily in the southern states of India, with Kerala contributing around 90% of the total rubber production in the country.

Importance of Rubber Cultivation

  • It is also used for erasing pencil marks.
  • It also contributes to Indian export revenue.
  • The demand for rubber mainly comes from transport sector and footwear sector in India.


Top Cash Crops - Silk

Silk is a major cash crop grown in India and process of cultivating silks is known as sericulture. The four main types of silk grown in India are Mulberry, Tasar, Eri, and Munga. The mulberry silk is the largest silk produced in the country. Today, India is the second largest producer of silk in the world.

In India, silk is mainly produced in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, and Gujarat, among others. Karnataka is the largest producer of silk in the country with 32% share in total silk production.

Importance of Silk Cultivation

  • Silk is the one of the largest contributors to foreign exchange kitty of India.
  • It employs around 1 crore people in semi-urban and rural areas of the country.


Top Cash Crops - Spices

India is known as the land of spices, and several spices such as black pepper, cardamom, and turmeric are grown in the country. India is the largest producer, consumer, and exporter of spices in the world.

Different spices grown in India includes pepper, cardamom (large and small), chilli, turmeric, ginger, and cumin seeds, among others. In fact, chilli, coriander, cumin seeds, and ginger share in spices production in India is around 75%.

In India, the largest state to produce spices is Madhya Pradesh, followed by Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.

Fruits and Vegetables

Top Cash Crops - Fruits & Vegetables

India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world after China. The major fruits and vegetables grown in India includes mangoes, bananas, tomatoes, and onions. These crops generate significant revenue for farmers in the country.

Uttar Pradesh with 14% share is the largest producer of vegetables in India. It is followed by West Bengal. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of fruits in India.

Challenges for Cash crop in India

Cash Crops are a major source of income for farmers in India, but they are prone to certain challenges. Some of the challenges include dependence on monsoon, market volatility, and climate change, among others.

Dependence on Monsoon

India's agricultural sector is highly dependent on the monsoon season for water supply, and the erratic nature of the monsoon can make it challenging for farmers to plan their cash crop cultivation. A delayed or insufficient monsoon can result in crop failure, reduced yields, and decreased income for farmers.

Market Volatility

Cash crop prices are often subject to market volatility, which can have a significant impact on the income of farmers who rely on them. Farmers may be forced to sell their crops at lower prices during times of oversupply or when prices drop due to international market trends. Additionally, the lack of infrastructure and efficient supply chains in some parts of the country can make it difficult for farmers to get their crops to market and achieve competitive prices.

Climate Change

Climate change is having a significant impact on agricultural productivity in India, and cash crops are no exception. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and increased incidence of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods are all impacting cash crop production. This can result in reduced yields, lower quality crops, and increased vulnerability to pests and diseases.

Land Degradation

Cash crops often require large amounts of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, which can lead to land degradation and reduced soil fertility over time. This can make it increasingly difficult for farmers to maintain the productivity of their land and achieve sustainable yields.


In conclusion, India's agriculture sector is diverse and produces several cash crops that generate significant revenue for the farmers and the country. The top 10 cash crops in India are Mustard, Jute, sugarcane, tobacco, tea, coffee, rubber, silk, spices, fruits, and vegetables.

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