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Domesticated plants
Crops drying in a home in Punjab, India.

A crop is any plant, macroscopic fungus, or alga cultivated in agriculture or aquaculture (algaculture). Most crops are harvested as food for humans or livestock (fodder crops). Important non-food crops (industrial crops) are produced for clothing (fiber crops), biofuel (energy crops, algae fuel), or medicine (medicinal plants). The word crop may refer either to all harvested parts of a plant or to the harvest in a more refined state (husked, shelled, etc.).

Animals and microbes (fungi, bacteria or viruses) are only rarely referred to as crops. Animals raised for human or animal consumption are referred to as livestock and microbes as microbiological cultures. Microbes are not typically grown for food itself, but are rather used to alter food (e.g., generating citric acid, fermenting yogurt, soy sauce, or sauerkraut).

Important crops[edit]

The importance of a crop varies greatly by region. Globally, the following crops contribute most to human food supply (values of kcal/person/day for 2013 given in parentheses): Rice (541 kcal), wheat (527 kcal), sugarcane and other sugar crops (200 kcal), maize (corn) (147 kcal), soybean oil (82 kcal), other vegetables (74 kcal), potatoes (64 kcal), palm oil (52 kcal), cassava (37 kcal), pulses (37 kcal), sunflowerseed oil (35 kcal), rape and mustard oil (34 kcal), other fruits, (31 kcal), sorghum (28 kcal), millet (27 kcal), groundnuts (25 kcal), beans (23 kcal), sweet potatoes (22 kcal), bananas (21 kcal), various nuts (16 kcal), soyabeans (14 kcal), cottonseed oil (13 kcal), groundnut oil (13 kcal), nyams (13 kcal).[1] Note that many of the globally apparently minor crops are regionally very important. For example in Africa, roots & tubers dominate with 421 kcal/person/day, and sorghum and millet contribute 135 kcal and 90 kcal, respectively.[1]

In terms of produced weight, the following crops are the most important ones (global production in thousand metric tonnes):[2]

2000 2013
Sugarcane 1 256 380 1 877 110
Maize 592 479 1 016 740
Rice (paddy) 599 355 745 710
Wheat 585 691 713 183
Potatoes 327 600 368 096

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Statistics Division (2017). "FAOstats Food Supply - Crops Primary Equivalent". 
  2. ^ FAO 2015. FAO Statistical Pocketbook 2015, ISBN 978-92-5-108802-9, p. 28

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Crops at Wikimedia Commons