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Domesticated plants New World Domesticated plants.JPG
Domesticated plants

A crop is a plant or animal product that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. [1] Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture or aquaculture. A crop may include macroscopic fungus (e.g. mushrooms), or alga.


Most crops are harvested as food for humans or fodder for livestock. Some crops are gathered from the wild (including intensive gathering, e.g. ginseng).

Important non-food crops include horticulture, floriculture and industrial crops. Horticulture crops include plants used for other crops (e.g. fruit trees). Floriculture crops include bedding plants, houseplants, flowering garden and pot plants, cut cultivated greens, and cut flowers. Industrial crops are produced for clothing (fiber crops), biofuel (energy crops, algae fuel), or medicine (medicinal plants).

Important food crops

Crops drying in a home in Punjab, India. Drying Crop in rural Punjabi home.JPG
Crops drying in a home in Punjab, India.
World production of crops by commodity group WORLD PRODUCTION OF CROPS BY COMMODITY GROUP.svg
World production of crops by commodity group

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), legume pulses (37 kcal), sunflower seed 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), soybeans (14 kcal), cottonseed oil (13 kcal), groundnut oil (13 kcal), yams (13 kcal). [3] 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. [3]

World production of crops, main commodities WORLD PRODUCTION OF CROPS, MAIN COMMODITIES.svg
World production of crops, main commodities

In terms of produced weight, the following crops are the most important ones (global production in thousand metric tonnes): [5]

Sugarcane 1,256,3801,877,110
Maize 592,4791,016,740
Rice 599,355745,710
Wheat 585,691713,183
Potato 327,600368,096

See also

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  1. "Definition of CROP". Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  2. World Food and Agriculture – Statistical Yearbook 2020. Rome: FAO. 2020. ISBN   978-92-5-133394-5.
  3. 1 2 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Statistics Division (2017). "FAOstats Food Supply - Crops Primary Equivalent".
  4. World Food and Agriculture – Statistical Yearbook 2020. Rome: FAO. 2020. ISBN   978-92-5-133394-5.
  5. FAO 2015. FAO Statistical Pocketbook 2015, ISBN   978-92-5-108802-9, p. 28

Further reading