Rice - production & trade
Production in South Asia
Indian states of the south and the east are very strong rice cultivation areas. These include the highly populated states of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu and midsized states with distinctive cultural traditions such as Kerala and Orissa. Rice is also grown to an extent across much of the rest of India. Rice fields can even be found up to moderate elevations in India's Himalayan states.
|This rice rake is a traditional tool for rice cultivation in India.|
Until the 1950s, few rice farmers in Asia were using modern agricultural methods; they were using unimproved cultivars of rice. These cultivars were tall, weak-stemmed and late-maturing; yields were relatively low.
The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) was set up in 1960 to look at ways to improve rice crops. Breakthroughs in breeding have produced remarkable rice plants which, together with improved cultivation techniques, yield three times more rice than before. World rice production increased from just over 215 million tonnes in 1961 to almost 590 million tonnes in 2003.