Difference Between Cash Crops and Food Crops

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Cash Crops and Food Crops

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


Farming is a crucial practice in the global market. It’s one of the largest occupations that people engage in. The occupation is profitable to a large extent. So, why not note the nitty-gritty factors associated with it? Farming is meant growing your crops and selling them in the market for different reasons. These are highly beneficial for the people associated with the agricultural industry. So, here comes the requirement for cash crops vs food crops.

Cash crops and food crops are two significant crops associated with the farming industry. To get a better insight into a successful farming journey one needs to know about the crux of these two major crops. Even though the crops used for cash crops and food crops are the same, the techniques are pretty different. So, why wait? Let's get into the crux without further delay!

Cash Crops Vs Food Crops

The main difference between cash crops and food crops is that the main motif for planting cash crops is for generating money. Cannabis is an extremely valuable cash crop. Some of the cash crops are consumed throughout the globe. Some cash crops in India are sugarcane, jute, and tea.  On the other hand, the objective of farming for food crops is to grow crops essentially for personal necessity. These crops are generally legumes.

Vegetables, fruits, and tubers. The farming requirements for food crops are according to the needs of the farmer's family. The next section will explain the main points of difference between cash crops and food crops in a table. So, their popularity is much more than food crops. So, if there’s any question regarding what cash crops you need or the differences between food crops and cash crops, stay tuned

Difference Between Cash Crops and Food Crops in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison Cash Crops Food Crops
Definition Cash Crops are crops that are grown for monetary requirements. These are called cash crops because these crops are ultimately processed into products for financial consumption. As the name food crops depict, these crops are grown for personal consumption. These crops consist of legumes, vegetables, fruits, and tubers. These crops differ from cash crops because these are generated for domestic consumption and not for financial needs.
Way of Farming An important mode of distinction between the two crops is the mode of farming. Intense effort is put to generate cash crops. Cash crops' main motive is to provide financial benefit. So, farmers focus on the extensive yield of these crops. One of the primary ways of yielding cash crops is by using artificial means like fertilizers and pesticides. The mode of farming differs when we come across food crops. We do not put much effort into the yield of food crops. As food crops are primarily for domestic consumption, farmers do not focus much on increasing their production.
Risks while farming Farmers undergo several risks while farming cash crops. These risks are mainly for increasing the yield of the crops. The risks that involve cash crop farming are price variability, production quality, degradation of soil, and more. Not many risks linger when it comes to the farming of food crops. These crops are primarily for domestic consumption. So, producers do not deal with the acceleration of the yield of these crops going through stages of risks.
Markets for growth Cash Crops are meant for international markets. Food crops on the other side are grown for local farmers and local markets. Some cash crops' names include coffee, sugarcane, and tea. Food crops on the other side are grown for local farmers and local markets.
Productivity of Crops The productivity of crops is different for each of the crops. More emphasis or stress is provided when it comes to cash crop production. If there's no large yield, then making a profit becomes difficult in the case of cash crops. So, crop productivity for such crops becomes an essential issue to manage. Crop productivity is not very important when we come across food crop production. These crops are produced for domestic consumption. So, hard measures are not implemented to increase the yield of such crops.
Start-Up Capital of Crops The two types of crops differ in their capital to start. An important means of cash crop production is that it requires intense capital to start its production. This capital comes in the form of setting up of farming equipment, land, fertilizers, seeds, and much more Start-Up capital is not an important issue when it comes to food crops. Food crops do not require much capital for their setting up and productivity. Its production process is much simpler than cash crops. There's no use of fertilizers as there's no need to accelerate its yield. Also, farming techniques are very handy when it comes to food crops.

What Do You Mean by Cash Crop?

If you have ever come across the term "Cash Crop" you must have wondered why it sounds so commercial. But your guess is right. As the name of the crop depicts, its purpose of it is parallel to the name. "Cash Crop" is one such crop the purpose of which is to generate income or revenue. These crops assist farmers or producers to build their farming careers commercially. These help farmers to become independent in economic terms.

 The main purpose of farming cash crops is to accelerate the yield of these crops. The basis of these crops is to sell them for commercial product building. So, the more it generation, the more the profits. So, farmers make maximum use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides while dealing with such crops.

Farmers also deal with several risks while farming cash crops. Techniques such as adaptive techniques and reducing strategies are employed when farming cash crops. Some tips for cash crop farming are mandatory to have a look at.

Some of Cash Crop Production Tips to Go for:

Option for Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is a smart technique when it comes to cash crop production. Here you can grow different forms of crops and find out which is the best of them. This technique also reduces the consumption of the same sort of soil nutrients. This leads to better use of water resources and improvement of soil structure. So, consider this method while dealing with cash crop production.

Use Optimal Crops

Using optimal crops by consulting an agronomist is a useful piece of advice you could take to grow the production of cash crops. The perk is that Agronomists are well-versed in the crop market. As they are specializers and work with several producers they may help you to increase your cash crop yield in the best way possible.

Understand The Most Profitable Crops. These Help You to Make Money in The Best Way Possible

This option depends on where you are located and what options of crop cost are available to you. The farmer needs to estimate the yields produced by each cash crop. After this decision, the farmer needs to determine the best out for them. One needs to make sure to cover the production cost involved in the particular crop with crop marketing. Otherwise, a huge loss is probable!

Get Yourself New Buyers!

Yet another step to increase the cash crop yield is to get yourself brand new buyers. Along with crop rotation consider the rotation of your buyers. There is no scarcity of new buyers for crops. You need to find the right ones for your crops. Turkey farmers, feedlots, organic animal farms, and others are the organizations that consider buying specialty crops offering good profit. These are the farmers who use cash crops for spoon-feeding purposes all-round the year. So, new crops invite new buyers. Keep a lookout for it!

What Do You Mean by Food Crops?

Now here comes yet another concept. If you are acquainted with what is a cash crop, you should not miss out on the opportunity on knowing about food crops. These are not some other variety of crops. The crops are used for different purposes. Knowing about these helps you to use crops accurately and get the best profit out of them!

Food Crops chart domestic consumption. Farmers invest their time in food crops for their personal needs. Food crops consist of legumes, vegetables, fruits, and tubers. So, the farming requirements are usually based on the producer's family's needs. In general, the objective of growing food crops is to feed the farmers. It's meant for consumption purposes.

The method of farming while growing food crops does not require the usage of fertilizers and pesticides. There's no risk involved in growing up these crops. There's no involvement of stringent measures to accelerate crop productivity as well. Also, food crops do not require expensive means of start-up capital for their production.

Food crops are easier to grow. But they do not bring profit to the farmers. These crops are good to stress if you are not widening your market commercially and gaining profit from crop sale strategies.

Main Differences Between Cash Crops and Food Crops in Points

  • Cash crops are specifically grown for the market. These crops are solely for monetary advantage. These include coffee, tea, cocoa, and others. These crops are moved in for processing. Products are made out of these for public consumption. On the other hand, food crops are grown for domestic requirements. These consist of legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
  • The farming technique forms the second point of distinction. Great effort is invested to farm cash crops. More the cash crops, the more the products in the market like coffee and tea. These lead to larger profits. So, farmers use several fertilizers to increase the yield of such crops. On the other hand, farmers do not put much effort into the yield of food crops. These are meant for domestic consumption and do not require large growth.
  • Farmers undergo a good variety of risks while dealing with cash crops. These include the chances of soil degradation, price variability, and more. Farmers take these risks as entrepreneurs to get a larger yield for their market. On the other spectrum, producers do not think risks are mandatory for food crops.
  • Government policies are implemented for cash crop production. These are done for a better yield of such crops. But there has been no necessity to implement policies for domestic crops like food crops. Food crops are for personal use. So, no public policy is implemented on them.
  • Productivity is another area of difference between cash crops and food crops. Large production is necessary when it comes to cash crops. These are meant for public needs. So, policies and instruments are implemented in the case of cash crops. But food crops are free from large production. These crops are meant for individual farmers and their families. So, large production and techniques related to it are not required.
  • Start-up capital is meant by those materials which are required to set up the production process of a crop. Start-up capital in the cases of cash crops and food crops are different. Cash crops require huge start-up capital for their production process. These include setting up farming commodities, seeds, and others.

 So, the production of cash crops is costlier and harder than food crop production. On the other side, the production of cash crops is easier. It does not require any start-up capital, to begin with. Fertilizers are not used in the case of food crops. Farming requirements are also very straightforward.


Food crops and cash crops have their perks and disadvantages. Knowing these two types of crops helps one to make use of them in the right way. Cash crops are for monetary use. Some of these are cotton, sugarcane, cocoa, tea, and coffee. Food crops on the other side are for domestic use. Some of the well-known food crops' names are sorghum, maize, potatoes, yams, and others. Both the crops have major differences between them. Cash crops require great investment to begin their production journey.

While food crops do not require any start-up capital because they are consumed by small families of farmers. Risks are taken while producing cash crops. This is done for the sake of improving its yield. But no such requirement is present in the case of food crops. So, knowing these mediums of distinction is important while considering your area of interest in crop production activity. Now you know about the usage of these two sorts of crops. So, get your learning implemented in your farming journey!


  • https://www.farmprogress.com/blogs-5-tips-cash-crop-selection-10619


Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between Cash Crops and Food Crops." Diffzy.com, 2024. Fri. 14 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-cash-crops-and-food-crops-1082>.

Edited by

Share this article