Rice Production Trends in India

Rice Production in India - National Trends & State Contribution

Rice is the staple food for more than 50% of the population across the globe. As a labor-intensive crop, rice cultivation provides livelihood and employment to millions of people. 

It’s the third-largest global crop, behind corn and wheat, and it’s been cultivated in Southeast Asia and China for about 7,000 years. It’s now grown in over 100 countries and on every continent except Antarctica.

While other grains like quinoa compete for space on grocery-store shelves, we’re seeing a greater variety of modern rice products emerging as well. This is partly due to the popularity of gluten-free lifestyles: rice flour stands in for wheat flour in bread, pastries, and pasta, and rice milk caters to dairy-free diets.

Rice is mostly eaten steamed or fried, but it can also be dried and ground into flour. Like most grains, rice can be used to make beer and liquors. Rice has such a neutral flavor that it can be integrated into almost any kind of dish, paired with virtually any flavor. In India, rice is often steamed and served alongside savory dals and many Indian curries. Rice straw is used to make paper and can also be woven into mats, hats, and other products.

Since it has been such an important grain worldwide, the domestication and cultivation of rice are one of the most important events in history that has had the greatest impact on billions of people. When and where the domestication of rice took place is not specifically known, but new archaeological evidence points to an area along the Yangtze River in central China and dates back as far as 11,000 years.

As the most populous country in the world, China also consumes more rice than any other country, with 149 million tons consumed in 2020. Following China, India is ranked second with 117.47 million tons of rice consumption in the same period.

How is rice made?

Rice production starts with the selection of healthy seeds of a locally adapted variety. Good seed means a high yield potential and is the foundation of a good harvest. Thousands of varieties of rice are cultivated all over the world, depending on end-use and geography. Long-grain rice is typically grown for steamed or fried recipes, while shorter-grain rice is used in cereal, flour, and liquors. 

Next, rice farmers prepare the land for the crop to be directly seeded or transplanted. Rice loves warm and wet environments. It is spread across a field flooded with several inches of water, known as a paddy field. Some rice farms are naturally irrigated through the monsoon rain while others use manual methods to control water through pumps, ditches, and reservoirs. 

Rice production trends in India :

India’s rice market is projected to register at a CAGR of 2.7% during the forecast period (2021-2026).

The COVID-19 has resulted in increasing consumption of rice due to changes in health habits in the country. However, travel restrictions have shown a slight impact on the market.

Rice production in the country has increased by 3.5 times in the last 60 years. Higher demand for Indian rice from North America and European regions coupled with good climatic conditions are supporting the growth of the market. This also results in higher productivity than other Asian countries such as Thailand and Pakistan. Major rice-producing states in India are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and Bihar.

Rice is the most important cereal food crop of India, occupying one-fourth of the gross cropped area of the country. As the basic food crop, rice is cultivated comfortably in a hot and humid climate. In the country, the crop is mainly grown as a Kharif crop in rainfed areas that receive heavy annual rainfall. 

According to ITC trade Map, In 2019 India was the top exporter in the global rice trade, accounting for 29.3% of the global rice exports. According to the ITC Trade Map, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, and other middle east countries are the major importers of rice from India. There is a high demand for the Indian basmati rice variety in the European Union and the United States which is further boosting the rice export from India. With the increasing demand for rice globally, exports are increasing from India. There is a growth of 6.0% per annum in the exports values between 2016 and 2019. The country exported 9,819.0 thousand metric tons of rice in 2019. Furthermore, the growing consumption of rice in emerging and developing nations across the world may drive the growth of rice exports during the forecast period.

Top 10 rice-producing states in India (During 2016-17)

State Area - Million Hectares Production - Million Tonnes Yield - Kg./Hectare
West Bengal 5.5 15.3 2784
Uttar Pradesh 5.99 13.75 2295
Punjab 2.9 11.59 3998
Odisha 3.85 8.33 2160
Bihar 3.34 8.24 2467
Chattisgarh 3.83 8.05 2101
Andhra Pradesh 2.11 7.45 3540
Telangana 1.68 5.17 3075
Assam 2.47 4.73 1916
Tamil Nadu 1.44 2.37 1642

Top 10 Rice Producing States of India 

  1. West Bengal 

West Bengal continues to be the largest rice-producing state in India. With almost half of its cultivable land being used for growing rice, it produced about 15 million tons in the 2017-18 crop year. Bengal is home to amazing varieties of indigenous rice, and this versatile food grain forms an integral part of its people’s daily lives.

  1. Punjab

Punjab was identified as the state with the second-highest rice production in India for the year 2017-18. At around 13.40 million tons, the state accounted for almost 11.85 percent of India’s total production. With a relatively small area under rice cultivation, Punjab also commands the highest level of rice grain productivity in the country. 

  1. Uttar Pradesh

In third place, the vastly fertile state of Uttar Pradesh contributed 11.75 percent of total rice production in India. Uttar Pradesh had the largest area under rice cultivation in 2017-18. The state produced close to 13.30 million tons of rice, on 5.81 million hectares of arable land. 

  1. Andhra Pradesh

Another successful rice-producing state in terms of yield per hectare, Andhra Pradesh recorded total rice production of about 8.20 million tons in the 2017-18 year. The Krishna-Godavari delta region in Andhra Pradesh is famously known as The Rice Bowl of India for its high production capacity.

  1. Bihar

Coming in fifth, Bihar produced 7.91 million tons of rice in 2017-18 for a 7 percent share in the total rice production in India. The state’s fertile land and inclination towards agriculture were given a further boost by the government with subsidies and investments in farming technology. 

  1. Chhattisgarh

Rice production in Chhattisgarh has been increasing with every passing year. Chattsigarh produced a whooping 8.05 Million Tonnes of Rice in the 2017 – 2018 year contributing to 5.3% of the total Rice Production in India. The net sown area of Chattisgarh is 3.83 Million Hectares which is about 34% of the state’s Geographical Area. Ganga, Mahanadi, Godavari, and Narmada are the four Major Water systems for Chhattisgarh.

  1. Odisha 

Odisha is a state with the Agricultural Sector contributing 16% to the State Gross Domestic Product. Odisha has 3.85 Million Hectares of land under Rice Cultivation producing 8.33 Million Tonnes of Rice. The entire cultivation land in the state is about 5.8 Million Hectares which accounts for 37% of the total geographical area of the state. Apart from Rice, Horse Gram, Groundnut, and Mustard are the important crops of Odisha.

  1. Telangana 

Telangana has produced 5.17 Million Tonnes of Rice during 2016-2017. Telangana recorded a big jump in Rice Production as it set out to produce 13 Million Tonnes of Rice during 2021-22. The Huge increase in Rice Production could be possible due to the completion of irrigation Projects like Kaleshwaram and Mission kakatiya. Apart from Rice, Maize, Soya and Groundnut are the most produced crops in Telangana.

  1. Assam 

Rice is the most significant crop of Assam accounting for 96% of the state’s total food grain production. Assam has 2.17 Million Hectares of land under Rice Cultivation producing about 4.73 Million Tonnes of Rice. Despite insufficient Irrigation systems and recurring floods, Assam stands in the top 10 Rice producing states in India. 

  1. Tamil Nadu 

During 2016 – 2017, the Rice Production across Tamil Nadu amounted to 2.37 Million Tonnes. Tamil Nadu has 1.44 Million Hectares of land under Rice Cultivation which amounts to 24.16% of the total cultivable area of the state. Thanjavur in the Cauvery delta is the second largest Rice producing district in the country.

India’s Contribution to the World’s Rice is very significant. It is said that India has over 6000 varieties of Rice. Rice is a water-intensive crop, depends heavily on Groundwater. We can expect a rapid increase in Rice production if proper irrigation methods are used while minimizing the use of Groundwater.

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