Rice is the most important staple food crop of India. It is a Kharif crop that is grown extensively in the northern plains, northeastern parts of the country, and coastal and deltaic regions. The cultivation of rice requires a high temperature above 20°C–35°C and high rainfall between 150 cm and 300 cm. During the earlier phase of its growth, the crop requires 5–10 cm of standing water. India is the second-largest producer of rice in the world after China.
Methods of Rice Cultivation
Rice in India is cultivated by two methods—the dry method and the puddle method.
The dry system of cultivation is mainly confined to regions that depend on rainfall and do not have sufficient irrigation facilities. In this method, seeds are scattered by hand in areas of moderate rainfall and are sown in rows with the help of drills in areas of heavy rainfall.
Puddle or wet method of cultivation is practiced in regions that have an adequate supply of water. After ploughing, the land is filled with 3–5 cm of water. The cultivation of rice is carried out by the following steps:
- Sowing of seeds
Sowing of Seeds
Seeds are sown by various methods. These are
Broadcasting Method: In this method, seeds are scattered all over the field. This method is prevalent in regions where labour is scarce and the soil is infertile.
Drilling Method: In this method, seeds are sown in furrows with the help of a drill usually made of bamboo. The germination of seeds is high as seeds fall into furrows systematically. This is however a time-consuming way to sow seeds.
Dibbling Method: In this method, seeds are sown at regular intervals in furrows.
Transplanting Method: In this method, seedlings from nurseries are transplanted into rice fields in groups of four to six at a distance of 30–45 cm. Initially, the field is covered with 2–3 cm of water. The level of water is then increased to 4–6 cm till the crop matures. This method is popular as it gives a higher yield.
Japanese Method: In this method, the seedlings are prepared in nurseries. The rows of plants are then fixed at a distance of 25 cm, and the distance between the plants is about 15 cm. Manure is used extensively to increase yield. Plants give higher yields by this method.
Harvesting and Processing
- The rice fields are drained dry just before the crop is harvested. Each stalk is then hand reaped.
- The moisture content of the stalk is reduced by drying stalks in the Sun.
- In threshing, grains are separated from the stalks. It is done in the field to reduce the cost of transport.
- During winnowing, unwanted husk is removed from the grains by pouring them from a height.
- Milling is then done to remove yellowish husk from the grains.
India produces 22% of the total rice in the world. It is mainly grown in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, and Tamil Nadu.
Also, Read Agriculture in India-Food Crops