The economy of the district is basically an agrarian one and ranks as one of the most underdeveloped district in West Bengal. The backwardness is characterised by low per capita income, low yield per acre of land, backwardness in industrialisation, shortage of capital and entrepreneurship, and also the lack of infrastructure and large labour surplus.
The district has no known mineral resources and agriculture remains the main stay. The main agricultural products are paddy, Wheat, jute and Rabi-crops.
Despite this backwardness, Malda occupies and important place in the map of the State for the production of raw-silk yarn. The annual estimated production of raw-silk yarn in this district is about 85 % of the total output of the State which, if taken in terms of money amounts to approximately rupees 4 crores. Production of mango is another important aspect of Malda's economy. About forty five thousand acres of land are covered by mango orchards which, in normal years., bear fruit to the extent of 3,60,000 tonnes the value of which in money terms comes to about Rs. 5.5 crores.
It will not be out of place to put in a few words about the mango production of Malda district, which has earned fame for this district. Mango is abundantly grown Over the whole district with the exception of "Barind' area. Englishbazar is by far the highest and the best mango-growing thana. It is followed by other thanas namely. Ratua, Manickchak, Kaliachak, Chanchal, Malda and Harischandrapur in that order . There are mainly two varieties of mangoes (i) the 'gooti' or the ordinary varieties of mango grown from 'seed' and (ii) 'Kalam' which is grown from grafting .The latter is of superior-quality and fetches higher price. The finest variety is the Gopalbhog, though there are other varieties namely , Brindaboni, Langra, Kshirshapati, kishanbhog and Fazli.
The mango trade is one of the most important feature of the economy of this district and one which leaves important impact on the economy of this district. The price of mango varies according to its class and the effect of weather on the crop, for hail and heavy rains are most injurious to the formation of a goods fruit. In recent years, there have been several failure of crops and there seems to be a cycle of good and bad years. A bumper crop usually comes once in four years and is followed by a bad year in which the production may come down to 25% 30% of the average production. Then comes a moderate crop with production ranging between 45-50% followed by a second bad year. The only consolation for such a bad year is that the price rises in proportion to the extent of failure of crop. Such fluctuation in the total product and price make it very difficult to reach an accurate estimate of the annual value of the mango trade.