Major Crops of Himachal Pradesh

Agriculture is a crucial source of employment in Himachal Pradesh, engaging 71% of the population and contributing approximately 30% to the state's domestic product. The newly cultivated area spans 538,412 hectares, with a total cropped area of 940,597 hectares and a significant irrigated area of 70 lakh hectares.

The economic backbone of Himachal Pradesh predominantly relies on the cultivation of cash crops, which contribute significantly to the state's revenue. The region cultivates a variety of food crops, including wheat, maize, rice, barley, seed-potato, ginger, vegetables, vegetable seeds, mushrooms, chicory seeds, hops, olives, and figs. Himachal Pradesh is often referred to as the 'Apple State of India' due to its extensive fruit production, which is a boon for the state's economy. 

Farmers in Himachal Pradesh focus on cultivating cash crops that are tailored to the agro-climatic conditions of the region, aiming to maximize revenue. The principal cereals cultivated include wheat, maize, rice, and barley. Noteworthy production hubs for these cereals include Kangra, Mandi district, and, to some extent, the Paonta valley of Sirmur district. Wheat, maize, and rice production thrive in these regions, while barley finds its prime cultivation ground in Shimla district. This strategic distribution ensures a well-rounded agricultural output across various districts, contributing to the overall economic stability of Himachal Pradesh.

The agro-climatic zones in Himachal Pradesh include:

Zone TypeGeographical Area (%)Cultivated Area (%)Major CropsSuitable Cultivation Opportunities
Shivalik Hill Zone3540 Wheat, Maize, Paddy, Gram, Sugarcane, Mustard, Potato, VegetablesOkra, French bean, Ginger, Brinjal, Cucumber, Pea, Onion
Mid Hill Zone3237Wheat, Maize, Barley, Black Gram, Beans, PaddyCash Crops (Off-season Vegetables), Temperate Vegetables (Cauliflower, Root Crops)
High Hill Zone3521Wheat, Barley, Lesser Millets, Pseudo-cereals (Buckwheat and Amaranthus), Maize, PotatoPea, Potato, Cauliflower, Turnip, Radish, French Bean, Cabbage, Carrot, Beet
Cold Dry Zone82Wheat, Barley, Pseudo-cerealsPotato, Cabbage, Pea, Temperate Onion, Hops

This table provides a concise overview of the geographical area, cultivated area, major crops, and special cultivation opportunities in each of the mentioned zones. 

Food Grains in Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh boasts a diverse range of food grains, with wheat, barley, paddy, and maize standing out as the primary staples.


  • Wheat takes the lead as the most crucial cereal crop in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Sown extensively during the Rabi season, it finds its home throughout the state, except in specific regions like Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Pangi, and Bharmour areas of Chamba district.
  • The sowing period spans from mid-September to November, with a harvest window from mid-April to June.
  • Notable wheat varieties in foothill areas include Kalyan Sona, Sonalika, Surbhi (HPW-89), and RR-21. High-yielding varieties such as RR-21, Kalyan Sona, and Sona Lika have been introduced to increase wheat production.
  • Wheat exhibits its versatility by adapting to various soil types, excluding waterlogged soils.
  • In 2016-17, wheat covered approximately 38% of the land area, with 359 thousand hectares and a production of 704 thousand tonnes, prominently in districts like Hamirpur, Kangra, Kinnaur, and Bilaspur.
  • In 2020-21, 572.2 thousand hectares were occupied by wheat, and production was 601.0 thousand tons.


  • Following closely is barley, the second vital Rabi cereal crop in the state.
  • Main varieties like Dolma, Vimal (HBL-13), and Gopi (HBL-316) find their niche in drained loam soil.
  • In 2016-17, barley spanned 23 thousand hectares, yielding 35 thousand tonnes, primarily in districts Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur, Pangi, Bharmour (Chamba).


  • Paddy, a major Kharif crop, adds to the agricultural panorama of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Hasan Sarai, Kasturi, Himalaya-741, and Palam Dhan-957 are prominent varieties adapting to soils ranging from sandy loam to clayey.


  • Maize stands out as a crucial Kharif crop, thriving in various soils from loamy sand to clay loam.
  • Main varieties like Ganga-3, Vijay, Parvati, and Him-123 find their place in the state's agricultural landscape.
  • Main producers of maize are districts Mandi, Kangra, Hamirpur, Chamba, Bilaspur, Una, Kullu, Solan, and Sirmaur.They contribute 63% of production to state.
  • H.P ranked 5th in the production of maize after the U.P, Bihar,Punjab, Rajasthan.


  • Pulses play a pivotal role in Himachal Pradesh's food diversity, with Kharif pulses covering an approximate area of 67 thousand hectares.
  • Urad, Arhar dal, alsi, bean, moong, mash, kulthi, and rajmah take the forefront, with Mandi, Shimla, and Sirmaur leading in pulse cultivation.


  • The state also contributes significantly to oilseed production, with rapeseed, mustard, and toria taking the center stage.
  • Chamba district stands out as a hub for rapeseed and mustard cultivation, covering nearly 50% of the area dedicated to these crops.
  • Toria, suited for cultivation in the foot and mid-hills, adds to the oilseed diversity.
  • In total, oilseed crops cover around 14 thousand hectares, featuring varieties like brown sarson, raya, and linseed.

Vegetable Cultivation in Himachal Pradesh

Despite the state facing a deficit in foodgrains, Himachal Pradesh has witnessed remarkable progress in various spheres of agriculture, particularly in the cultivation of diverse crops such as seed potatoes, ginger, mushrooms, chicory seeds, hops, olives, and figs. This agricultural diversity not only adds vibrancy to the landscape but also contributes significantly to the economic tapestry of the region.


  • Potato holds a pivotal position in the state's economy due to favorable climatic conditions.
  • The cool temperate climate, high wind velocity, and moderate humidity in higher hills create ideal conditions for potato cultivation.
  • Major Kennedy initiated large-scale potato production in Shimla in 1823.
  • Varieties like Kufri Chandramukhi, Kufri Jyoti, Kufri Alankar, and Up-To-Date thrive in the state.
  • Well-drained sandy loam and fertile loam soils are most suitable for potato cultivation.
  • Prominent cultivation districts include Chamba, Kullu, Shimla, Mandi, Sirmaur, and Lahaul and Spiti.
  • Himachal Pradesh is the 'Home of Seed Potato' and produces high-quality seed potatoes. Potatoes are a significant source of income for the state's people, including those in tribal areas, and play a crucial role in the state's economy.


  • Ginger serves as a cash crop in the mid and low hills, with Bilaspur being a leading producer.
  • The state's fresh ginger finds markets in neighboring states like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • In 2016-17, ginger cultivation covered 3 thousand hectares, yielding 35 thousand tonnes.
  • Cultivation is prominent in districts like Sirmaur, Solan, Mandi, Shimla, Kangra, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, and Chamba.


  • Mushroom cultivation, known as "khumb," started in India in 1961, with commercial cultivation in 1968.
  • Himachal Pradesh pioneered edible mushroom cultivation with centers in Chambaghat, Solan, and Palampur, Kangra.
  • Districts like Solan (including Kasauli and Chail), Shimla, Kangra (Palampur), and Chamba (Dalhousie) witness thriving mushroom cultivation.


  • Kuth, a unique crop, finds its niche in Lahaul and Spiti, and to a lesser extent in Kullu and Kinnaur valleys.
  • Cultivated in about 100 hectares, Kuth contributes approximately 4% to the total cropped area in Lahaul and Spiti and Kullu valleys.
In HP, growing vegetables is not just a job but a way of life with many advantages:
  • creation of sources of income for remote residents
  • creation of job opportunities
  • provision of vegetables as a nutrient-dense food
  • establishment of long-term farming in the mountainous regions 
In upcoming article we will read about Organic Farming and traditional food grain crop of himachal Pradesh.

ALSO KNOW ABOUT: Minerals in H.P

HPAS,HPGK.himachal,Crops of H.p,HPAS MAINS, general study

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