Kharif crops or monsoon crops are domesticated plants that are cultivated and harvested in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh during the rainy season, which lasts from April to October depending on the area.
Both Kharif and Rabi words have their origin in Arabic. These came to be used in India with the ascent of the Mughal empire in the Indian subcontinent and have been widely used ever-since. Though Kharif literally means "autumn" in Arabic, since this period coincides with the beginning of autumn in the Indian sub-continent, the monsoonal sowing season is called "Kharif period".
Kharif crops are usually sown with the beginning of the first rains in January, during the south-east monsoon season in parts of India and in Bangladesh. In other parts like Maharashtra, the west coast of India and in Pakistan that see rains in June, kharif crops are sown in May, June and July.
In India, the kharif season varies by crop and state, with kharif starting at the earliest in May and ending at the latest in January, but is popularly considered to start in June and to end in October.  Kharif stand in contrast with the Rabi crops, cultivated during the dry season.
Kharif crops are usually sown with the beginning of the first rains towards the end of May in the southern state of Kerala during the advent of south-west monsoon season. As the monsoon sowing dates vary accordingly and reach July in some north Indian states.
These crops are dependent on the quantity of rain water as well its timing. Too much, too little or at the wrong time may lay waste the whole year's efforts.
Common Kharif crops
- Rice (paddy and deepwater)
- Maize (corn)
- Bitter Gourd
- Linseed (flax)
- Green Gram (moong)
- Sesame (till)
- Arhar (tur)
- Black Gram (urad)
- Cowpea (chavala)
- Das, N.R. Crops of India. 1 January 2011: Scientific Publishers Journals Dept. ISBN 8172336810.
- Gupta, Akhil (20 July 1998). Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India. Duke University Press Books. ISBN 0822322137.
- Gopal, Lallanji (8 September 2014). History of Agriculture in India from C. Ad 1947 to the Present (History of Science, Philosophy & Culture in Indian Civilization). Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture/Munshirm Manoharlal Publishers. ISBN 8187586664.
- Crop Calendar of Major Crops, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India
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