Cropping Seasons in India: Rabi, Kharif and Zaid Season

Agriculture in India began during the Indus Valley Civilization. In the area of India and Pakistan, the agricultural year has been divided in two main parts. Climatic conditions in these cropping seasons support specific crops. Therefore, farmers sow crops according to the season. Two main cropping seasons in India are:

  1. Rabi season
  2. Kharif season

In between these two seasons, there is a small Zaid season as well. You might be wondering about the meaning of these words. Well, these words come from Arabic language. During the Mughal period, these words became common use to refer to the cropping seasons. Let’s look at these seasons in details.

Rabi Season Crops

The word Rabi has been derived from Arabic and it means Spring. The Rabi crops are harvested during the spring time in India. These crops are also known as winter crops.

  • Sowing time for Rabi crops: October to December
  • Harvesting time for Rabi crops: February to April

Examples of major Rabi crops

  • Wheat (genhu)
  • Barley (bajra)
  • Gram (chana)
  • Potato (aaloo)
  • Mus­tard (sarson)
  • Masoor
  • Linseed
  • Pea (matar)

agriculture in india. Cropping seasons in India

Kharif Season Crops

The word Kharif means Summer in Arabic language. The Kharif crops are harvested during the summer time in India. Therefore, these crops are also known as summer crops.

  • Sowing time for Kharif crops: May to July
  • Harvesting time for Kharif crops:  September to October

Examples of major Kharif crops

  • Jowar
  • Bajra
  • Rice (chawal)
  • Millet
  • Maize (makka)
  • Sugarcane (Ganna)
  • Cotton (kapas)
  • Jute
  • Hemp
  • Tobacco (tambakoo)
  • Groundnut (moongfali)
  • Oranges

Zaid Season Crops

The word Zaid in Arabic means to prosper. Zaid crops are summer time crops. These crops do not depend on monsoon and are raised using artificial irrigation. Zaid crops need dry weather for major growth period and longer day length for flowering. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are main Zaid crops.

Sowing time for Zaid Rabi crops: February to March
Harvesting time for Zaid Rabi crops:  April to May
Examples of Zaid Rabi crops: Watermelon, Turai, Cucumber, leafy vegetables

Sowing time for Zaid Kharif crops: August to September
Harvesting time for Zaid Kharif crops:  December to January
Examples of Zaid Kharif crops: rapeseed, oilseeds

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