What Are Cash Crops And Food Crops And How Do They Differ?

What Are Cash Crops And Food Crops And How Do They Differ?

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Basically, there are four categories of crops, and even thou we will mention them in this article, our focus will be on what are cash crops and food crops, and how do they differ from one another.

Food crops are any plants intentionally grown with the primary purpose of being eaten by humans or animals, while cash crops are an agricultural product that makes the profit in return of selling by grown of crops.

So, as we said, there are four categories of crops:

  • Food Crops (Wheat, Maize, Rice, Millets, and Pulses, etc.)
  • Cash Crops (Sugarcane, Tobacco, Cotton, Jute, and Oilseeds, etc.)
  • Plantation Crops (Coffee, Coconut, Tea, and Rubber, etc.)
  • Horticulture crops (Fruits and Vegetables)

What are Food Crops

A food crop can be anything that is grown specifically for human consumption, either directly or as an ingredient in other foodstuffs.

For example, corn is considered a food crop if it is to be eaten directly by people (corn on the cob or nibbles), or made into cooking oil or cornmeal or high fructose corn syrup, or used to feed animals that will later be consumed.

Corn is not a food crop when it is grown to be converted into ethanol.

The use of corn was a good example, however, some things not usually considered food crops can be one if they are for use as an ingredient.

One example that comes to mind is marijuana, which is not grown as a food crop normally, but when used specifically for infusion of the THC into foods can be considered a food crop.

Hops aren’t used in food, but rather in beer production, which defines it as a food crop as well.

Not all food crops are trees, but some trees are food crops. Trees that we harvest apples, nuts, sap, and other components such as roots, are considered food crops. The coffee plant yields its seeds, likewise raspberries and blueberries.

Herbs are also food crops, but in some parts of the world can also have medicinal uses. If a plant has a generally accepted product or component that is used as food or is a part of a multi-part food product, it is a food crop.

What are Cash Crops

A cash crop or profit crop is an agricultural crop that is grown to sell for profit. It is typically purchased by parties separate from a farm.

The term is used to differentiate marketed crops 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 developed countries, almost all crops are mainly grown for revenue. In the least developed countries, cash crops are usually crops that attract demand in more developed nations and hence have some export value.

Prices for major cash crops are set in commodity markets with global scope, with some local variation (termed as “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. This system has been criticized by traditional farmers.

Coffee is an example of a product that has been susceptible to significant commodity futures price variations.

Some examples of cash crops:

Coconut palms are cultivated in more than 80 countries of the world, with a total production of 61 million tonnes per year.

The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics.

How do cash crops and food crops differ?

As you can probably conclude from our text above, here is the breakdown of how do cash crops and food crops differ.

Food Crops:

Food crops are any plants intentionally grown with the primary purpose of being eaten by humans or animals. The vast majority of store-bought fruits, vegetables, and grain-based foods started in this category like :

  • Grains
  • Dried beans and legumes
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit

Cash Crops:

The cash crop is an agricultural product that makes the profit in return for selling by grown of crops. Cash crops are grown for sale rather than for personal use by the grower or cultivator. Cash crops can be divided into three groups :

  • Fibers
  • Drugs and Beverages
  • Oilseeds

Cash crops generally have to be processed in some way to get them to the products they’re used for.

For example, wheat has to be milled to make bread. Corn has to be sent to an ethanol plant to make biofuels. These aren’t bad forms of processing. That’s not where preservatives are added. Or cash crops are mainly used for animal feeds. Like field corn. We don’t eat that as humans unless it is in the form of chips or tortilla shells. Or corn oil.

Food crops can be considered things like produce and added value crops like honey. People often grow both cash and food crops on their farms.