Rice Cultivation in India
Rice is not only the principal food crop of India but it also occupies the largest area under cultivation. It is an important cereal of India.
After paddy is husked it is used as food in many forms. It is used as rice, puffed rice, flat rice etc. The husk and straw of the paddy plant is used as animal fodder.
In the villages of India, straw is also used as thatch. Today, oil is produced from rice bran oil which is said to help diabetic patients.
Geographical conditions for rice cultivation:
Rice is the main Kharif crop of India.
Climate: Rice requires temperature between 20° to 30°C and rainfall between 100 cm to 200 cm.
Soil: Loamy soil is most suitable for rice cultivation. Best production occurs in the alluvial soil of the river valley.
Relief: Level land is especially suitable for it allows stagnation of water which is ideal.
Labor: Plenty of labor is required for rice production. The land has to be ploughed. Transplantation must be carried out. Wedding is necessary. Harvesting, threshing etc. requires labor.
Sowing Season: Rice is sown mainly thrice in a year:
Aman – sown in the rainy season (July-August) and harvested in winter. India produces aman rice mainly.
Aus – rice sown in summer along with the pre-monsoonal showers and harvested in autumn is called aus rice. The quality of this rice is rather rough.
Boro – rice sown in winter and harvested in summer is called boro rice or spring rice.
Rice Producing Areas in India:
Nearly all states and union territories of India produce rice. The most important states are West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, etc.
1. West Bengal ranks 1st in India in rice production producing 14% of the total production in India. Nearly 72% of agricultural land in West Bengal is under rice cultivation. The leading producers of rice are the districts of North and South 24 Parganas, East and West Midnapur, Jalpaiguri, Bardhaman, Bankura, Birbhum, North and South Dinajapur etc.
2. Uttar Pradesh ranks 2nd in rice production. Plenty of rice is produced in the east in the plains of the Ganga. The areas of production are Pilibhit, Kheri etc.
3. Andhra Pradesh ranks 3rd in rice production. High production occurs in the river valleys of Godavari and Krishna and their deltas.
4. Other States: In Assam rice is produced in the Brahmaputra Valley, in Orissa in the Mahanadi Valley and delta, in Tamil Nadu in the delta of the Kaveri, in Bihar plains of the Ganga, Punjab, Haryana, Tripura and coastal regions of Kerala rice is also produced in large amounts. In the south in Kerala, rice crop has no season. At any time of the year, as one crop is harvested, another is sown. Water is available nearly all the year round. In Kashmir, Rice is grown in summer in low lands. Much rice grows in the flat lands around Anchar Lake.
Problems of cultivation and solution:
Rice production in India has many problems:
1. Rice yield per hectare is low. So high yielding varieties of seed, fertilizers, insecticides etc should be introduced to increase rice yield per hectare.
2. Farmers do not get a suitable price for their crop as middlemen buy it cheaply from them at harvest time and sell it at a higher price making profits themselves. Thus, cooperatives should be set up, procurement price should be prefixed by the Govt. they should come forward to sell the rice directly in the market so that the profits are enjoyed by the farmers.
3. Proper storage of rice is not available. Unless more storage facilities are created, high production would be pointless as they would be damaged while being improperly stored.
4. Proper distribution of land needs to be undertaken as rice cultivation is mainly done by landless laborers and not by the land owners. So proper attention to cultivation is essential.
At present food grain production has increased so rice imports do not take place regularly. Good quality rice like Basmati is exported.
Rice Research Institute:
The Central Rice Research Institute of India is located at Cuttack in Orissa. Other centers of rice research are located in different agricultural universities and national farms and in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research which is located in Pusa situated in the suburbs of Delhi.
High Yielding varieties of rice:
To increase the production of rice many HYV seeds are in use. These seeds generally require large quantity of water and varieties of organic and chemical fertilizers as well as insecticides.
Recently there has been a great rise in its production by the help of irrigation. For it now the wonder seed IR-8 is used. Fertilizers and insecticides are used to make the crop a success.