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Cultivating Rice Crop in India

Cultivating Rice Crop in India

Rice is a major staple crop in many countries, mostly in South-Asian countries. India is the world’s second largest rice crop producer after China. India produces about 20% of world’s rice and is a majorly consumed crop in India.

Rice is very rich in carbohydrates and minerals and used in multiple dishes and forms. The origins of Rice crop are still uncertain but it is believed to be originated in Indian and the name ‘Rice’ is believed to have come from Tamil word ‘Arisi’.

India being the second largest producer of rice in the world produces up to 106.5 million tonnes of rice as per the 2014-2015 US agricultural survey report. With China leading in world production with 114. Million tonnes.

The Rice production was boosted in India during the Green Revolution and hasn't been backed down since. With its ongoing demand around the globe, the mass production of rice has drastically increased since the past few years. There are many varieties of rice consumed in India such as Jasmine, Basmati, White Rice, Red Rice, Brown Rice, sticky rice, etc. Majorly consumed rice is white rice and basmati in India.

Rice is a dominant crop in areas of over 200 cm annual rainfall and is still an important crop in areas of 100-200 cm rainfall. In areas receiving less than 100 cm annual rainfall, rice can be grown with the help of irrigation, as it is done in Punjab, Haryana and western U.P. About 40 per cent of the rice crop in India is raised under irrigation.

A lesser amount of rainfall is required as the harvesting time approaches. The fields must be flooded under 10-12 cm deep water at the time of sowing and during early stages of growth. Therefore, the fields must be level and have low mud walls to retain water. This peculiar requirement of rice makes it primarily a crop of plain areas. Rice grown in well-watered lowland plain areas is called wet or lowland rice.

In hilly areas, the hill slopes are cut into terraces for the cultivation of rice. Such cultivation in which the hill slopes are cut into terraces is called terraced cultivation. The supply of water to the hill terraces is not as much as in the plain areas and the rice grown in hilly areas is called dry or upland rice.

Rice can be grown on a variety of soils including silts, loams and gravels and can tolerate acidic as well as alkaline soils. However, deep fertile clayey or loamy soils which can be easily puddled into the mud and develop cracks on drying are considered ideal for raising this crop.

Such soil requirements make it dominantly a crop of river valleys, floodplains, deltas and coastal plains and a dominant crop there. High-level loams and lighter soils can be used for quick maturing varieties of rice. Black lava soil is also useful for rice cultivation.

Rice culture is not much suited to mechanization and is called ‘hoe-culture’. Most of the work in preparing the seed-bed, in broadcasting seeds, or in transplantation of plants from nurseries to the fields, in harvesting and in winnowing operations is done by human hand. Thus it is a labour intensive cultivation and requires a large supply of cheap labour for its successful cultivation.

It is, therefore, primarily grown in areas of high population density which provide abundant labour and at the same time, offer a ready market for its consumption.

To sum up it can be said that rice needs plenty of heat, plenty of rain, plenty of alluvium and plenty of labour to provide plenty of food for plenty of people. There is no other food crop which is as plentiful as rice in India.



 16/02/2019  Ajinkya Sakhare

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