Kerala rice production reduced to half in last 25 yrs

But country witnessed 40 pc growth during the period

KOCHI: Kerala’s rice production has fallen drastically, by about half during the past 25 years, from 1.087 million tonne as of 1990-91 to just 549,300 tonne in 2015-16.

At the same time, the country’s total production during this period has grown by more than 40 per cent from 74.291 million tonne to 104.41 million tonne as the large rice producing states such as Punjab, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, etc have supplemented the rice production during this period.

In this regard Kerala has proved to be different from the other rice consuming states as most states with a penchant for rice have been successful in either increasing or at least arresting the fall in rice production during the period under review.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released statistics on food grain production in the country during the 25-year period between 1991 and 2016.

Despite having  a strong historical bent for rice as its staple food, Kerala never bothered to bolster its rice production in the past many decades, not to forget that there have been sincere efforts of late to conserve paddy fields, and went on converting its vast stretches of paddy fields into land that could be put into ‘better use’.

Kerala is currently a deficit state on rice and most of its rice requirement is met by imports from other states, mainly from Andhra Pradesh. However, the southern-most  state of Kerala has become a surplus state on residential units as the volume of housing units in the state far exceeds the number of family units, according to a report last year.

West Bengal is the largest producer of rice with a total production of 15.954 million tonne during 2015-16 and more importantly the state has been successful in boosting its production by more than 50 per cent during the past quarter century.

Next in the line are Uttar Pradesh with a production of 12.501 million tonne and Punjab with a production output of 11.823 million tonne during 2015-16, as per the latest authentic data available on this.

Andhra Pradesh with 7.488 million tonne and Bihar with 6.802 million tonne production also take rice production seriously and this is testified by their production history during the last 25 years which showed positive growth. Tamil Nadu though witnessed a drop in production during 2015-16 at 7.517 million tonne compared with the 1990-91 figures, the statistics show that the state has made a leap from the levels of 2014-15 when the production was an abysmally low 5.727 million tonne.

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