Rice production in India

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Major cropping areas in India. Rice shaded in light jade green indicates the most important and extensive growing areas in the east of the country
Working in a rice paddy

Rice production in India is an important part of the national economy[1]

Dry productive Paddy Fields in South India

India is one of the world's largest producers of white rice and brown rice, accounting for 20% of all world rice production. Rice is India's pre-eminent crop, and is the staple food of the people of the eastern and southern parts of the country.[1] Production increased from 53.6 million tons in FY 1980 to 74.6 million tons in FY 1990, a 39 percent increase over the decade. By FY 1992, rice production had reached 181.9 kg, second in the world only to China with its 182 kg.[1] Since 1950 the increase has been more than 350 percent. Most of this increase was the result of an increase in yields; the number of hectares increased only 0 percent during this period. Yields increased from 1,336 kilograms per hectare in FY 1980 to 1,751 kilograms per hectare in FY 1990. The per-hectare yield increased more than 262 percent between 1950 and 1992.[1]

The country's rice production declined to 89.13 million tonnes in 2009-10 crop year (July–June) from record 99.18 million tonnes in the previous year due to severe drought that affected almost half of the country.India could achieve a record rice production of 100 million tonnes in 2010-11 crop year on the back of better monsoon this year. The India's rice production reached to a record high of 104.32 million tonnes in 2011-2012 crop year(July–June.

Rice is one of the chief grains of India. Moreover, this country has the biggest area under rice cultivation, as it is one of the principal food crops. It is in fact the dominant crop of the country. India is one of the leading producers of this crop. Rice is the basic food crop and being a tropical plant, it flourishes comfortably in hot and humid climate. Rice is mainly grown in rain fed areas that receive heavy annual rainfall. That is why it is fundamentally a kharif crop in India. It demands temperature of around 25 degree Celsius and above and rainfall of more than 100 cm. Rice is also grown through irrigation in those areas that receives comparatively less rainfall. Rice is the staple food of eastern and southern parts of India. In 2009-10, total rice production in India amounted to 89.13 million tonnes, which was much less than production of previous year, 99.18 million tonnes.

Rice can be cultivated by different methods based on the type of region. But in India, the traditional methods are still in use for harvesting rice. The fields are initially ploughed and then fertiliser is applied which typically consists of cow dung and then the field is smoothed. The seeds are transplanted by hand and then through proper irrigation, the seeds are cultivated. Rice grows on a variety of soils like silts, loams and gravels. It can also tolerate alkaline as well as acid soils. However, clayey loam is well suited to the raising of this crop. Actually the clayey soil can be easily converted into mud in which rice seedlings can be transplanted easily. Proper care has to be taken as this crop thrives if the soil remains wet and is under water during its growing years. Rice fields should be level and should have low mud walls for retaining water. In the plain areas, excess rainwater is allowed to inundate the rice fields and flow slowly. Rice raised in the well watered lowland areas is known as lowland or wet rice. In the hilly areas, slopes are cut into terraces for the cultivation of rice. Thus, the rice grown in the hilly areas is known as dry or upland rice. Interestingly, per hectare yield of upland rice is comparatively less than that of the wet rice.

The regions cultivating this crop in India is distinguished as the western coastal strip, the eastern coastal strip, covering all the primary deltas, Assam plains and surrounding low hills, foothills and Terai region- along the Himalayas and states like West Bengal, Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, eastern Madhya Pradesh, northern Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. India, being a land of eternal growing season, and the deltas of Kaveri River, Krishna River, Godavari River and Mahanadi River with a thick set-up of canal irrigation, permits farmers to raise two, and in some pockets, even three crops a year. Irrigation has made even three crops a year possible. Irrigation has made it feasible even for Punjab and Haryana, known for their baked climate, to grow rice. They even export their excess to other states. Punjab and Haryana grow prized rice for export purposes. The hilly terraced fields from Kashmir to Assam are idyllically suited for rice farming, with age-old hill irrigational conveniences. High yielding kinds, enhanced planting methods, promised irrigation water supply and mounting use of fertilizers have together led to beneficial and quick results. It is the rain fed area that cuts down average yields per hectare.

In some of the states like West Bengal, Assam and Orissa two crops of rice are raised in a year. Winter season in the north western India are extremely cold for rice. Rice is considered as the master crop of coastal India and in some regions of the eastern India where during the summer monsoon rainy season both high temperature and heavy rainfall provide ideal conditions for the cultivation of rice. Almost all parts of India are suitable for raising rice during the summer season provided that the water is available. Thus, rice is also raised even in those parts of western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana where low level areas are waterlogged during the summer monsoon rainy season.

Winter rice crop is a long duration crop and summer rice crop is a short duration crop. At some places in the eastern and southern parts of India, rice crop of short duration is followed by the rice crop of long duration. Winter rice crop is raised preferably in low lying areas that remain flooded mainly during the rainy season. Autumn rice is raised in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Summer, autumn and winter rice crops are raised in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Orissa. Summer rice crop is raised on a small scale and on a small area. However, winter rice crop is actually the leading rice crop accounting for a major portion of the total Hectare under rice in all seasons in the country. Moreover in the last few years, several steps in order to augment yield per hectare were taken up very seriously at all levels.Wheat is a rabbi crop in this country. India ranks fourth in the production of wheat in the world. Favorable Geographical Condition for Wheat Cultivation: In India, wheat is a winter crop. Wheat requires a moderate cool climate with moderate rain. In India, it is grown in winter. It needs temperature 10 degree C to 15 degree C for its cultivation. It thrives well in an average temperature of 16-degree C. Warm and sunny weather is essential at the time of ripening. Wheat requires a rainfall of 50 cm to 100 cm during the growing season. Too much rain is injurious to the plant. On irrigated lands, a rainfall of 40 cm to 50 cm is sufficient. Light rainfall and cloudiness before the grain ripens increase the productivity. Alluvial level plains are ideal for wheat cultivation. Slightly rolling plains are also suitable. Plains should be well drained so that water cannot stand there. Wheat requires fertile alluvial soil. Clay loamy soils or even black cotton soils are suitable. Soil should retain moisture. A certain amount of lime in the soil is beneficial. Labor factors are not as important in the wheat cultivation as in the case of rice. However, labor is essential for the cultivation. The other requirements of wheat cultivation include (i) irrigation, (ii) high yielding varieties of seeds and (iii) capitals

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "India: A Country Study:Crop Output". Library of Congress, Washington D.C. September 1995. Retrieved March 21, 2009.