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Rice cultivation

It is believed that the rice plant may have originated in southern India, then spread to the north of the country and then onwards to China. It then arrived in Korea, the Philippines (about 2000 B. C.) and then Japan and Indonesia (about 1000 B. C.).

In the Indian subcontinent more than a quarter of the cultivated land is given to rice (20011-12). It is a very essential part of the daily meal in the southern and eastern parts of India. In the northern and central parts of the subcontinent, where wheat is frequently eaten, rice holds its own and is cooked daily as well as on festivals and special occasions.

History of Rice:
India is an important centre of rice cultivation. The rice is cultivated on the largest areas in India. It is believed that the indica variety of rice was first domesticated in the area covering the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas. Perennial wild rice still grow in Assam and Nepal.

Climatic Requirements:
In India rice is grown under widely varying conditions of altitude and climate. Rice crop needs a hot and humid climate. It is best suited to regions which have high humidity, prolonged sunshine and an assured supply of water.
The average temperature required throughout to the crop throughout its life ranges from 21 to 37º C. Maximum temp in which the crop can grow is 400C to 42 0C.

Nutritional value of Rice:
Carbohydrate (starch) is the important component of rice due to which it provides instant energy. Rice is poor in nitrogenous substances with average composition of these substances being only 8 per cent and fat content or lipids only negligible, i.e., 1per cent and due to this reason it is considered as a complete food for eating.
Rice flour is rich in starch and is used for making various food materials. It is also used in some instances by brewers to make alcoholic malt.

Medicinal Value:
The various varieties of rice germplasm is a rich source for many rice based products. It is also helps in treating many health related issues such as indigestion, diabetes, arthritis, paralysis, epilepsy. Medicinal rice varieties like Kanthi Banko (Chhattisgarh), Meher, Saraiphul & Danwar (Orissa), Atikaya & Kari Bhatta (Karnataka), are very common in India.

Crop Production Practices:
In India Rice is mainly grown in two types of soils i.e., (i) uplands and (ii) low lands. The crop of rice is grown with the following methods:
1. Dry or Semi-dry upland cultivation
Broadcasting the seed
Sowing the seed behind the plough or drilling

2. Wet or lowland cultivation
Transplanting in puddled fields.
Broadcasting sprouted seeds in puddled fields.

Selection of Seeds:
The use of quality seeds in cultivation of rice is an important factor to get better crop yield. Seeds intended for sowing should satisfy the following requirements:
- The seed should belong to the proper variety, which is proposed to be grown.
- The seed should be clean and free from obvious mixtures of other seeds.
- The seed should be mature, well developed and plump in size.
- The seed should be free from obvious signs of age or bad storage.
- The seed should have a high germinating capacity.
- Before sowing the seed should be treated with fungicides which protects the seed against soil-born fungi and also give a boost to the seedlings.

Paddy is grown in wide range of soil. Fertile riverine alluvial soil is best for rice cultivation. Clayey loam soil in monsoon land is considered to be the best for rice cultivation as water retention capacity of this soil is very high.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are three essential plant nutrients required for rice. Most of the paddy lands have a moderate quantity of such nutrients, but if they are deficient, organic manure or artificial fertilizers have to be used.

Basmati Sowing Likely to Increase By 25% in FY18

On the back of favourable climatic conditions and forecast of normal rainfall this monsoon season, sowing area under basmati paddy is likely to increase by 25 per cent in 2017.

At 96 per cent of long period average (LPA) with 5 per cent of plus and minus error, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasted normal rainfall this monsoon. Late beginning of rainfall coupled with dry spells in some parts of major growing regions resulted into less acreage under basmati paddy last year.

For the financial year 2016-17, rating agency Icra estimates the area under basmati paddy at 1.6 million hectares, in the previous year, around 20 percent decline from the level of 2.1 million hectares.

Joint managing director, Kohinoor Foods, producer of Kohinoor brand basmati rice, Gurnam Arora said, “This year, the area under basmati paddy, however, is estimated to rise at least to the level of 2015-16. There are two major factors which would help farmers to bring in the additional area under basmati this year – favourable monsoon and sharp increase in realisation from basmati rice this year. We are confident that basmati rice production and export would also proportionately go up."

Basmati rice constitutes a small portion of the total rice produced in India. According to the advanced estimate of the Ministry of Agriculture estimates India’s total rice output to hit the new record at 108.86 million tonnes for the year 2016-17 compared to the final output of 104.41 million tonnes for 2015-16.

While nearly 88 per cent of India’s overall output contributed by Kharif season and rabi season shares the rest. for past few years, basmati rice has witnessed growing demand from the domestic market. For the last two years, the international demand, though has remained weak, from this year onwards on Iran, the largest importer, coming back on procurement from India again, it is expected to witness some uptick.

Since January–March quarter, basmati rice exports to Iran have started. This financial year, the industry expects Iran to purchase at least 1 million tonnes.

Executive director of All India Rice Exporters’ Association, Rajan Sundareshan said, “The Chinese government has identified 14 Indian firms to export basmati rice to that country. Despite the taste being different for consumers, there has been a growing appetite for Indian basmati rice in China. We expect direct export to China to begin very shortly. Currently, India exports a small quantity of basmati rice to China indirectly through Hong Kong."

The basmati rice industry has witnessed moderation over the last few years on the back of subdued international demand, partly attributable to the delay in resumption of imports by Iran.

Basmati paddy prices have firmed up by 20-25 per cent across various varieties, primarily due to relatively lower production, in the recent procurement season, after declining considerably during the procurement season in FY16. This is likely to push up basmati rice prices in the next financial year.


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