In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for money. The term is used to differentiate from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family. In earlier times cash crops were usually only a small (but vital) part of a farm's total yield, while today, especially in the developed countries, almost all crops are mainly grown for cash. In non-developed nations, cash crops are usually crops which attract demand in more developed nations, and hence have some export value.
In many tropical and subtropical areas, jute, coffee, cocoa, sugar cane, bananas, oranges and cotton are common cash crops. In cooler areas, grain crops, oil-yielding crops and some vegetables predominate.
Prices for major cash crops are set in commodity markets with global scope, with some local variation (called basis) based on freight costs and local supply and demand balance. A consequence of this is that a nation, region, or individual producer relying on such a crop may suffer low prices should a bumper crop elsewhere lead to excess supply on the global markets.
Issues involving subsidies and trade barriers on such crops have become controversial in discussions of globalization. Many developing nations take the position that the current international trade system is unfair because it has caused tariffs to be lowered in industrial goods while allowing for high tariffs and agricultural subsidies for agricultural goods. This makes it difficult for a developing nation to export its goods overseas, and forces developing nations to compete with imported goods which are exported from developing nations at artificially low prices. The practice of exporting at artificially low prices is known as dumping, and is illegal in most nations. Controversy over this issue led to the collapse of the Cancún trade talks in 2003, when the Group of 22 refused to consider agenda items proposed by the European Union unless the issue of agricultural subsidies were addressed.
Agribusiness, with its high-capital-investment and industrial-scale agricultural practices, very often skews production towards cash crops and away from anything that is consumed locally or which cannot be preserved, shipped and sold abroad. When used in conjunction with practices which seek to maximize crop yield and which favor monoculture, increasing reliance on cash crops tends to have adverse, long term environmental consequences. The prevalence of cash crops also makes ethical consumerism difficult, as production practices cannot easily be determined and removed.
Cash Crops of India
Among cash crops fiber crops are specially important. Jute accounts for the maximum area and turn out among all the cash crops.Orissa is the fourth largest producer of jute after West Bengal, Bihar and Assam. Rice and jute compete with each other as they require almost similar soil and climatic conditions. Cultivation of jute is primarily confined to the coastal plains of Cuttack, Balasore and Puri districts.
A considerable amount of Mesta is also cultivated. It dominates in the districts of Cuttack, Ganjam, Balangir and Koraput districts.
Sugarcane is the second most important cash crop in Orissa in area as well as production. It is grown in irrigated areas. Orissa stands eighth in sugarcane production in India. A considerable amount of cultivation occurs in Cuttack, Sambalpur, Balangir, Kalahandi and Puri districts, Orissa also produces a small quantity of tobacco. In cash crop production, Cuttack district tops the list.
New Cash Crops
Among the new cash crops, the most important is cashew which has been planted extensively in the low level latiritic plateaus at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats. These cashew plantations are mostly confined to Cuttack, Puri and Ganjam districts. The Cashew Plantation Board is responsible for the development of cashew cultivation in the state. Cashew is also being planted on the sand-dunes on the entire coastal belt. This is because of the suitable edaphic and climatic conditions in these areas. On the degraded and deforested hills of the Eastern Ghats, cashew is planted to check soil erosion. As a result, Orissa is earning a lot of foreign exchange by exporting cashew through Pradeep.
To protect the degraded hill slopes of Eastern Ghats, rubber plantation have been taken up by Rubber Board. Bright prospect for the growth and development of natural rubber exist in the northern Orissa - Mayurbhanj, Kendujhar and Baleshwar due to favourable agro-climatic conditions. Orissa is a non-traditional area for rubber plantations. Inland hill areas of Cuttack, Puri, Ganjam and Dhenkanal districts have agro-climatic conditions suitable for rubber cultivation.
Cotton cultivation has been taken up extensively in Koraput, Balangir and Kalahandi districts where suitable soil and climate conditions are found. Sea island cotton can be grown in the Ballipal region of Baleswar district.
It is concentrated in areas of Eastern Ghats, Kendujhar, mountainous region of Phulbani and Koraput.
It is concentrated in forest lands of Eastern Ghats, Koraput, Kalhandi, Malkangiri, Rayagada, G.Udayagiri and Balliguda areas of Kanohanthal district.