Rice production in the country would get a big push with the Union Budget 2013-14 committing Rs 1,000 crore to the Eastern states, spearheading the second Green Revolution, experts have stated.
Despite having immense potential, the Eastern part of the country comprising West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, Assam along with Eastern UP had always lagged behind owing to poor management of resources and agricultural practices coupled with non-availability of appropriate inputs. While Northern states like Punjab have an average productivity of more than four tonne per hectare, these states struggled to achieve even two tonne per hectare.
The situation has changed after extension of the second Green Revolution with States like West Bengal surging ahead in productivity. Odisha too has posted a quantum jump, raising its average yield from a miserable around 1.8 tonne to over 2.3 tonne per hectare. “A district like Sonepur has even surpassed all expectations by achieving a yield rate of an overwhelming seven tonne per hectare,” Director of Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) Dr Trilochan Mohapatra stated.
Even as efforts are on to replicate the scenario in other parts, rice production in India is up against stiff challenges of sustainability in the face of increasing demand due to population rise, climate change, shrinking agricultural land and biotic and abiotic stresses.
Rice is the staple diet for more than 70 per cent population in India. With the present production hovering around 105 million tonne, the requirement is projected to rise to more than 130 million tonne by 2025. “We have, thus, to redesign packages of agronomic and management practices for breaking yield barriers and achieving sustainability. Population pressure apart, climate change is a major challenge for agriculture,” Dr Mohapatra said.
In a bid to address various issues of research and devising strategies for ensuring food and livelihood security, CRRI is all set to play host to more than 400 top rice scientists from across the globe. It will stage Association of Rice research Workers (ARRW) symposium on “Sustainable rice production: challenges and opportunities” from March 2 to 5.
The thrust of the symposium would be on genetic improvement for enhancement of yield, sustainable production and value addition along with socio-economic issues, Dr Mohapatra stated.