Normal monsoon to aid eastern states improve rice production

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 7 2012, 08:20am hrs
With the eastern states getting normal monsoon rains, the region is expected to better its output and strengthen its position as the biggest contributor to the countrys rice production this year. This comes close on the heels of the government having initiated measures for a second green revolution to augment food production in the eastern region.

The eastern region, which consists states and parts like Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh, is set to increase its share in the countrys rice production following adequate rainfall during the current monsoon, say agricultural scientists. The traditional rice-growing states in eastern India account for 61% of the total acreage and 51% of total production in the country. A major portion of rice-growing areas are rainfed.

The monsoon rains have been vigorous in most parts of eastern India and wherever the rains have been delayed, we have suggested farmers to go in for direct seeding method, Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) director Trilochan Mohapatra told FE.

Even more than normal monsoon rains in Andhra Pradesh, the countrys biggest rice producer, is expected to give boost to total rice production, added Mohapatra of the Cuttack-based premier institute under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research. With good monsoon rains in the September, we could match last years rice production figure of 103.4 million tonne, he noted.

The transplantation of paddy is in full swing in most of the eastern states but there has been a delay of around two weeks in paddy sowing because of the delay in the arrival of monsoon, according to an agriculture ministry official.

The government has earmarked R1,000 crore for the current fiscal under Initiative of Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) that aims to increase paddy production. Allocation for the BGREI was only R400 crore in 2011-12.

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data, Assam (2%), Chhattisgarh (+ 3%), Orissa (-8%), and eastern Uttar Pradesh (- 8%) have received fairly normal monsoon rains till now. IMD officials are also hopeful that with August showers, Jharkhand (-16%) and West Bengal (-26%) would also receive near-normal rainfall.

Meanwhile, the country as a whole received 401 milimetre (mm) of rain till now, against the normal rainfall of 490 mm, a deficiency of 18%.

According to the latest agriculture ministry data, rice had been sown in 23.3 million hectare (mh) against the 24.8 mh reported in the normal monsoon year. The total area under rice cultivation is expected to be around 40 mh.

Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has recently stated that there is no concern about paddy, cotton, sugarcane and oilseeds, as planting of all these crops have picked up. We do not anticipate significant fall in paddy acreage this year, an agriculture ministry official said.

This is despite the fact that some of the paddy-growing region of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat have got deficient rains till now.

Rice production during 2011-12 was at 103.41 million tonne (mt), out of which 90.75 mt was grown in the Kharif season.

Due to the failure of monsoon during 2009-10, paddy production had declined by around 14% to 89.09 mt.