The crops of the Indus civilisation were wheat, barley, gram, peas, sesame, rape and cotton. In addition the people of the Indus region grew dates and grapes. They also collected beror Indian jujube. Possehi says “They were also great fish eater, exploiting the rivers and lakes, especially in Sindh”. We also have information relating to kharif or summer crops from some Indus sites.
The main kharif crops grown by them were jowar or African millet, bajra or pearl millet and ragi or finger millet. As noted by Possehi “The importance of these plants is that they are summer grasses that prosper during the Southwest monsoon, unlike wheat and barley, which are winter grasses that do not thrive as monsoon crops. The millets thus led to double or year-round cropping and were important, if not critical, additions to the prehistoric food supply.
“The appearance of these plants coincides with the beginnings, or at least the expansion, of significant maritime activity in the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean. It is proposed that an extension of his maritime activity took Indus sailors at least so far as the southern end of the Red Sea and possibly farther South along the East coast of Africa.
It is in this environment that they came in contact with the millets, integrated them into their food supply, and eventually carried them back home to the subcontinent”. In the end we can say that the livelihood pattern of the Indus peoples was, as suggested by Possehi, a “complementarily of settled agriculture and pastoralism.
While there must have been a variety of occupations for the peoples of the Indus Civilisation, most of them would have been farmers and/or pastoralists. They produced the food that sustained the nonagricultural people in the great cities and towns of this civilisation”.