Eastern India can be country’s rice bowl: Assocham

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Bhubaneswar: India’s eastern region has the tremendous potential to emerge as the country’s ‘rice bowl’, a recent study industry body Assocham said.

The study titled ‘Towards Second Green Revolution in Eastern India: A Road Map’ also said the eastern region would be able to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about ten per cent in paddy production, if the country manages to bridge the gap between potential yield and actual yield.

“The paddy production in the eastern region of India can reach about 670 lakh tonnes (LT) by 2017-18 from the current level of over 580 LT as the region holds tremendous potential to emerge as the ‘Rice Bowl of India,’ as every quintal increase in yield would push rice production by over two million tonnes,” the study said.

West Bengal spearheads eastern India in paddy production to the tune of about 150 lakh MT followed by eastern UP (140 LT), Odisha (70 LT), Bihar (68 LT), Chhattisgarh (63 LT), Assam (47 LT) and Jharkhand (34 LT), it said.

According to the study, Odisha’s paddy production may reach 82 LT in three to four years time period.

By 2017-18, the study predicted, Odisha can reach this feat through increased usage of high yielding varieties of seeds, improved soil drainage, spreading rice-fish culture and taking other such measures.

It also said that discouraging rice cultivation in marginal lands and diversifying in favour of oilseeds and pulses, utilisation of rice fallows are certain significant steps required to increase cropping intensity and crop productivity in Odisha.

In its study, Assocham has suggested that apart from rice suitable evaluation of promoting other crops like maize, pulses and oilseeds should be undertaken for optimum utilisation of land and local needs in the region.

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