Top 10 Crops Which Require Less Water in India

profile picture BookMyCrop Sep 18, 2023

The assertion that "Agriculture serves as the fundamental pillar of India's economy" is a statement firmly entrenched in the nation's historical and contemporary context. Agriculture has historically served as a significant means of subsistence and nourishment for millions, with more than 50% of the people engaged in this sector and having a significant effect of monsoon on Indian agriculture.

The agricultural sector in India assumes a crucial role in forming the socio-economic landscape of the nation. The agricultural sector not only contributes to the generation of employment opportunities for a substantial proportion of the people, but it also plays a crucial role as the principal supplier of food and raw materials for other sectors. The agricultural sector in India exhibits significant diversity, characterised by a multitude of crops and farming techniques that vary across distinct locations, owing to the country's numerous agro-climatic zones.

India cultivates a variety of significant crops, including rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, and pulses. The Green Revolution, implemented throughout the 1960s, brought about a significant transformation in India, shifting it from a nation grappling with food scarcity to becoming a prominent global player in food production. The agriculture sector continues to make significant contributions to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) by selling various agriculture products online in India, despite the ongoing diversification of India's economy.

Additionally, agriculture holds significant cultural and social importance in India, being intricately connected to traditional practices and celebratory events. Notwithstanding the expansion of various industries, a considerable segment of the populace continues to depend on agriculture as their primary means of sustenance. Therefore, governmental programmes and initiatives continually strive to bolster and optimise the productivity and sustainability of this particular sector.

Nevertheless, the agricultural sector in India has various obstacles, including the issue of fragmented land holdings, paucity of water resources, utilisation of outmoded farming techniques, and the adverse effects of climate change. In order to preserve its pivotal position in the economy, India should prioritise investments in the modernization of farming techniques, enhancement of infrastructure, and promotion of sustainable agricultural practices. By doing so, the entity may effectively ensure its food security, enhance rural livelihoods, and foster overall economic growth.

Types of Crops in India:

In the Indian agricultural context, crops are commonly categorised into three primary seasons, mostly determined by the temporal aspects of their cultivation and the prevailing weather circumstances. The aforementioned seasons are commonly referred to as kharif, rabi, and zaid. The following is a comprehensive summary of the various types of crops cultivated during each respective season.

Kharif Crops (Summer Crops):

  • Sown: June to July
  • Harvested: September to October
  • Monsoon-dependent: These crops rely on the southwest monsoon for their water supply.

Major Kharif crops affected by less rain:

  • Rice
  • Maize
  • Sorghum (Jowar)
  • Pearl millet (Bajra)
  • Pulses
  • Cotton
  • Groundnut (Peanut)

Rabi Crops (Winter Crops):

  • Sown: October to December
  • Harvested: March to April
  • Dependence on Winter Rain and Irrigation: These crops rely on winter rainfall and irrigation.

Major Rabi crops:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Mustard
  • Chickpea (Gram)
  • Linseed
  • Potatoes

Zaid Crops (Summer-Season Crops):

  • Sown: March to June
  • Harvested: June to September
  • Dependence on Irrigation: Zaid crops are typically grown between the kharif and rabi seasons and require irrigation.

Major Zaid crops:

  • Cucumber, Watermelon, and Muskmelon
  • Bitter gourd (Karela)
  • Cucumber (Kheera)
  • Maize (Baby Corn)

Book My Crop - a trusted company that operates in the online agri market in India recognises the paramount importance of sustainable farming practices. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the top 10 crops that exhibit notable adaptability in the context of limited water availability.

List of Crops Which Require Less Water in India:

  • Sorghum (Jowar):

Sorghum, scientifically referred to as Sorghum bicolour, is a widely cultivated cereal crop in India that demonstrates notable resilience to drought conditions. This particular plant species is very suitable for areas characterised by unpredictable precipitation patterns and is widely acknowledged for its ability to thrive in environments with limited moisture availability. This renders it a highly important option for farmers who are faced with limitations in water availability.

  • Pearl Millet (Bajra):

Pearl Millet, scientifically known as Pennisetum glaucum, is a resilient crop that exhibits remarkable tolerance to drought conditions, making it well-suited for cultivation in arid and semi-arid climates. It is commonly referred to as Bajra in various places. The versatility of this substance is readily apparent, as it fulfils roles in both human consumption and animal feed, rendering it an indispensable component of any agricultural operation.

  • Finger Millet (Ragi):

Finger Millet also referred to as Ragi is a grain with high nutritional value that exhibits the ability to thrive under conditions of limited water availability. In addition to their nutritional value, this crop is considered less water consuming crops in India and has the potential to be a profitable alternative for agricultural producers.

  • Chickpea (Gram):

The leguminous crop known as chickpea, or gramme, exhibits a lower water requirement in comparison to other pulses. The cultivation of this particular crop holds significant importance in providing a substantial protein source for the Indian population, particularly in areas that face challenges related to limited water availability.

  • Mustard (Sarson):

Mustard is recognised for its characteristic of being a low-water-consuming oilseed crop that is extensively cultivated in India. The importance of this crop as a source of income becomes apparent, especially during the Rabi season when there is a scarcity of water.

  • Groundnut (Peanut):

The groundnut, sometimes known as the peanut, is a crop that has drought-resistant characteristics and serves as a substantial supplier of edible oil and protein. It has a high degree of adaptability in places that are characterised by erratic precipitation patterns.

  • Maize (Corn):

Maize, often known as maize, is a very versatile crop that demonstrates the ability to thrive in many agro-climatic regions of India while using moderate water resources.

  • Barley:

Barley, a resilient grain crop, exhibits the ability to flourish in environments with limited moisture availability. It is generally utilised in the domains of animal feed and brewing, rendering it a vital selection for agricultural practitioners.

  • Sathu Rice:

Sathu rice is a cultivar specifically bred to optimise water conservation without compromising crop productivity. The adoption of crops which need less water in India like Sathu Rice, represents a noteworthy achievement in the growing of rice in locations with limited water resources.

  • Sesame (Til):

Sesame, often referred to as Til, is recognised as a water-efficient crop that yields seeds abundant in oil content, widely utilised in culinary applications and as a flavouring agent. Sesame presents itself as an optimal selection for growers aiming to maximise profitability while simultaneously preserving water resources.

The Effect of Monsoon on Indian Agriculture:

The monsoon season holds significant importance in the agricultural domain of India. Nevertheless, the unpredictable fluctuations of this phenomenon might have a substantial influence on agricultural yields. Kharif crops, which are cultivated during the monsoon season, frequently encounter difficulties in instances of reduced precipitation. However, via the judicious selection of crops that have lower water requirements, farmers have the ability to successfully manage and reduce the potential dangers connected with oscillations in monsoon patterns.

Book My Crop: Your Online Agri Market

Book My Crop is dedicated to offering farmers superior agricultural products and expertise to optimise their crop production and foster ecological balance. The recognition of the significance of adjusting to evolving climate conditions and promoting water-efficient agricultural practices is well-established.

Book My Crop: an Online Agri Market provides a wide array of agricultural items through an online platform in India, including but not limited to seeds, fertilisers, machinery, and tools. The fundamental objective of our purpose is to prioritise quality and sustainability, guaranteeing that farmers are provided with the highest calibre resources for their agricultural endeavours.

Final Thoughts:

The adoption of water-efficient farming practices is of paramount importance for Indian farmers in light of the ongoing impact of climate change on water supply. Choosing crops which need less water in India is a proactive approach aimed at enhancing the resilience of agriculture in India. Book My Crop is committed to providing steadfast assistance and guidance to anyone embarking on the path of sustainable and lucrative agricultural practices.


Farmers may ensure the sustainability of their livelihoods and contribute to the preservation of water resources by producing the following ten crops that are renowned for their ability to thrive in conditions of limited water availability. Collectively, we possess the capacity to facilitate the progression towards a more promising and environmentally conscious trajectory for the agricultural sector in India.

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