[Answered] Highlight the concerns associated with Rice exports. What are the factors that are aggravating the issues associated with Rice cultivation in India?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain some concerns associated with Rice exports. Also write factors that are aggravating the issues associated with Rice cultivation in India.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

It is India’s largest agricultural crop (accounting for over 40% of the total foodgrain output). India exports rice to more than 130 countries, constituting around 40 percent of the global rice trade. But India’s rice yield is lower than the world average.

Concerns associated with Rice exports:

  • The export uncertainties affect the credibility of Indian exporters; create a disincentive for future exports, and enables buyers to shift towards other major rice-exporting countries.
  • Though Indian farmers in general lack market access, and hence do not take advantage of high market prices.
  • The fall in prices may adversely affect a section of farmers who hope to get a better price for their produce through exports.
  • The exporters who face the burden of the unfeasibility of exports may pass it on to farmers in the form of lower prices during procurement.
  • Rice exports are leading to an indirect export of water to other countries i.e. a virtual water trade (VWT) because the relative per capita water availability in India is lower than a majority of its major importing countries.

The following factors aggravate the issues associated with Rice cultivation in India:

  • India’s rice production declining significantly because of deficient monsoon rainfallin Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Gangetic West Bengal.
  • Yields in Punjab and Haryana turn out lower due to a new virus that has caused “dwarfing” of paddy plantsin many fields there.
  • Insufficient MSP realization is reflected in paddy households selling their produce to the APMC reducing from 17 per cent (2013) to 2.7 per cent (2019) because of poor participation of private traders, low infrastructure, unawareness, etc.

Way forward:

  • Save water and the input requirements in the form of wider adoption of water-saving practices such as the system of rice intensification (SRI), etc.
  • There is need for a comprehensive rice strategy, with focus on new systems, technologies and new rice seed varieties.
  • Risk mitigation measures, crop insurance, price stabilization measures and optimum use of agro-climatic conditions can reduce the dependence on the monsoon.
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