Rice (Oryza sativa), one of the three most important food crops in the world, forms the staple diet of 2.7 billion people. It is grown successfully in different parts of the world from 39°S south (Australia) to 50°N latitude (China). It can grow at altitudes ranging from 10 feet below sea level to 10,000 feet above sea level. Rice is a major food crop that is grown in dry land (or upland) conditions on mountain slopes as well as in wetland conditions in Valley bottoms and in terraced fields. It is a subsistence crop for most farmers. Rice is the longest continuously grown cereal crop in the world and according to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) it is “one of the most important developments in history”. It is grown in all the continents except Antarctica, occupying 150 million hectare (M ha) and producing 573 million tones (Mt) paddy with an average productivity of 3.88 tones per hectare (t ha-1). Its cultivation is of immense importance to food security of Asia, where more than 90% of the global rice is produced and consumed. Rice is seen as a political good in many Asian countries due to its big impact on economy, society and political stability. Rice production is highly diversified and there are strong consumer preferences and a low degree of substitutability in both production and consumption. Almost three billion people worldwide are dependent on rice for their calorie intake, and farming and milling provides employment to many people in the world. In Asia and the Pacific alone, rice production is employing about 300 million people.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations had declared 1966 the Year of Rice. Due to the importance of rice, year 2004 was declared the International Year of Rice by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2002 with the aim of once again turning the attention of the world on rice as an instrument of food security and poverty reduction. This is the second time that the United Nations has paid such a special tribute to rice, the only food crop honoured twice. Rice is the single most important employment and income source for the rural poor. Besides being an essential food, rice is also an important factor in enriching culture, lifestyles and ecosystem functions. Rice is a symbol of cultural identity, global unity and life. Rice has a meaning beyond just food supply and employment in Asia, namely it is also seen as a political good due to its massive influence on social, economic and political stability.
The origin of paddy rice cultivation is located somewhere in the Southeastern part of Asia and is said to date back at least 7,000 years. Since that time, the distribution of paddy rice cultivation has been greatly expanded, but even today it is basically confined to monsoon Asia, near its place of origin. This is not the case for other major cereals such as wheat and maize, which have expanded their area of distribution throughout the world. Kawaguchi and Kyuma consider that this specific distribution pattern of rice is the result of two factors. One is the concentration of rainfall, often more than 1000 mm during the rainy season and the other is the very large expanse of lowlands in monsoon Asia. This indicates that tropical Asia, with only 1/13 of the world's land area, has more than 1/3 of the potentially arable lowlands. Rice is the crop best suited to such lowlands, where water inundates naturally as rainfalls and rivers flood. Thus, a unique combination of climate and landform has helped create the paddy rice system in Asia.
The rice-plant is a type of grass whose grain is what we call rice. The rice takes between 90 to 200 days to mature and there exist about 1, 20,000 different types of rice, both cultivated and wild varieties. In the International rice gene bank at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) there are more than 1, 00,000 rice accessions stored. Differences between species are based on characteristics such as biotic factors; productivity, resistance to disease and insects, and so called non-biotic factors, toleration of cold and drought etc. and many other variables. The genus Oryza has two cultivated and 22 wild species. Of the two cultivated species, O. sativa (2n=24 AA), commonly referred to as Asian rice, is grown worldwide, whereas O. glaberrima (2n=24 AA), “African rice,” is cultivated in a limited area in West Africa. Rice grown in Asia has two subspecies Oryza sativa L. subsp. india which originated in India and Oryza sativa L. subsp. japonica which has its origin in the eastern part of Asia. Rice can be divided into different groups depending on its characteristics and is usually classified after the shape of the grain and its kernel form. Rice is divided into long-, medium- and short-grain varieties, where long-grain rice is usually longer than 6.2 millimeters (mm) or about three times long of its width. Medium-grain rice is approximately 2.1 to 2.9 times long of it is width. And last, the category short-grain rice is less then twice as long as it is wide. Rice can be divided into different sub-groups such as aromatic rice which includes types of rice with strong tastes such as jasmine and Basmati, which are both long-grain and non-glutinous. Another group is glutinous rice, also called sticky rice, which contains a high degree of starch and of which there are both long- and short grain varieties. Fourteen different varieties of rice are grown in different areas and are also consumed in different parts of the world.
Rice and rice-based products derived from rice grain and rice flour include parboiled rice; quick-cooking rice and ready to eat convenience foods; rice flours; rice starch; cakes and puddings; baked breads and crackers; breakfast cereals and expanded rice products; extrusion-cooked and puffed rice snacks; noodles, paper and pasta; by/weaning foods; fermented foods and beverages; pet foods; and bran products. Rice is processed and used as various kinds of foodstuffs besides direct food use, such as parboiled rice, fermented rice wine, rice noodles, rice crackers, rice cakes, rice snacks, rice flour, and other fermented rice products.
Indian economy is mainly based on agriculture. Growth rate for overall GDP of India was 8.5% whereas for agriculture and allied sectors it was 10%. India is the largest growing country (8°N to 34°N latitude) of the rice under varying climatic conditions and it accounts for more than 40% of food grain production, providing direct employment to 70% people in rural areas. Being the staple food for more than 65% of the people, our national food security hinges on growth and stability of its production.
Aromatic rice and its characteristic features
Every state in the country has its own quality/specialty rice varieties. Aromatic or scented rice have long been highly regarded in Indian society not only because of their excellent quality but also because they had been considered auspicious. The aromatic rice varieties in the states of West Bengal, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Bihar and North East region are very short, fine grained and highly scented. Each one is highly priced in the locality where they are grown. These varieties are characterised by weak stem, very long growth duration, low grain weight and poor yield. Farmers mainly grow these varieties for their own consumption and ceremonial purposes and they do not have well developed market.
There is another category of aromatic rice varieties, which is long grained with a unique combination of grain, cooking and eating quality. Quality traits of these rice varieties are best expressed when grown in northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. India and Pakistan are the traditional producers and exporters of Basmati rice and in the world market it fetches three times high price than high quality non Basmati type rice. Due to polygenic nature of inheritance of the several quality characters, it has been difficult to increase the yield potential of Basmati rice varieties while retaining the same quality characteristics.
The word “Basmati” has been designed from two Sanskrit roots: vas (meaning aroma) and mayup (meaning ingrained or present from the beginning).Thus the word Basmati implies “ingrained aroma”. So it is the aroma that gives Basmati its novel characteristics unmatched by any other rice grain anywhere else in the world. Many scented varieties of rice have been cultivated in the Indian sub-continent from time immemorial but Basmati distinguishes itself from all other aromatic rice due to its unique aromatic characteristics coupled with silky texture of its long grain. There is general notion that any aromatic rice is Basmati, however this is not the case. No single criterion can distinguish Basmati rice from other rices.
A harmonious combinations of minimum kernel dimensions, intensity of aroma, texture of cooked rice high volume expansion during cooking made up by linear kernel elongation with minimum breadth wises swelling, fluffiness, palatability, easy digestibility and longer self life quality makes a rice to be Basmati in consumers and traders view. The special characteristics of Basmati rice are (a) a ‘greasy’ look without any abdominal white, (b) an entire rice grain, (c) fully developed and uniform kernel, (d) neither too soft nor too hard when crushed under the teeth, (e) nearly double elongation after cooking, (f) absence of bursting or stickiness and (g) sweetness and special aroma of the cooked rice.
Area and production of rice crop
Worldwide production and yield of crops have been increasing since 1960 due to the adoption of modern varieties, the expansion of agricultural lands, and the use of intensification measures. Yield growth accounted for almost all of the increases in food production in developing countries. Modern varieties accounted for 21% of the growth in yields and about 17% of production growth in the early Green revolution period, and accounting for almost 50% of yield growth and 40% of production growth in the late stage for all developing countries. Land expansion accounted for about 20% of the increases in production and the rest came from intensification of input use.
Rice production has been increased tremendously from 20.6 Mt in 1950-51 to 93 Mt in 2001 -02 due to increase in area under rice from 30.8 to 44.6 M ha and productivity from 668 to 1804 kg ha-1. The Paddy production in Gujarat was 1277 thousand tones from 675 thousand hectares in 2003-2004 whereas it was 1197 thousand tones from 679 thousand hectares in 2004-2005 i.e., production was decreased by 6.26% over previous year even though area was increased by 0.59% over previous year. The Productivity of rice in Gujarat state is very poor i.e., 1,356 kg ha-1 as against 1,947 kg/ha average productivity of the nation. More than 40% rice area is concentrated in very low productivity group followed by nearly 40% area in medium to low productivity group.
The major factor that has contributed to poverty alleviation is the reduced unit cost of production and the downward trend in real prices of food. Low food prices benefited the urban laboring class and the rural landless and marginal farmers who are net buyers of food from the market. As a result, the food entitlement of the poor improved substantially. In future, expansion of area under rice is very unlikely due to tremendous increase in population and urbanization. Therefore, increasing demand has to come from increase in productivity per unit area. For achieving this, one of the prime requirements and non monetary input is transplanting the suitable cultivars at an appropriate time.
Aromatic rice growing regions Basmati rices have been traditionally cultivated in northern India, confined mainly to Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and adjoining districts of Rajasthan. It is said that Basmati grows best and produces best quality grains under warm, humid, valley like conditions. Experience has also shown that when true Basmati varieties are cultivated outside these traditional Basmati areas, the grains do not have the same quality. During vegetative period high humidity (70 to 80%) and a temperature ranges of 25 to 35°C are favourable. From flowering onwards bright and clear sunny day with a temperature range of 25 to 32°C, comparatively cooler night (20 to 25°C) moderate humidity and gentle wind velocity at the time of flowering and maturity are considered necessary for proper grain and aroma development. The area under Basmati rice cultivation in India is 1 M ha and in Pakistan is 0.75 M ha. In India highest area under Basmati rice is in Uttar Pradesh (0.4 M ha) followed by Haryana (0.25 M ha), Uttranchal (0.10 M ha), Punjab (0.10 M ha), Jammu & Kashmir (0.05 M ha) and Rajasthan (0.05 M ha) documented by Sharma and Nayak (2005).
Basmati rice has been in cultivation for generations in North Western India confined mainly to Punjab, Haryana, Western U.P. and adjoining district of Rajasthan. Introduction of high yielding varieties further contributed to the reduction in acreage during the early seventies. However, with the establishment of modern mills in the early eighties and on increase in the export demand, there has been continuous increase in the area under Basmati rice cultivation. At present, India produces about 1.2 Mt (rough rice basis) with an average of 1.5 to 1.8 t ha-1 from 0.7 to 0.8 M ha which is 1.6 to 1.9 per cent as compared to the area under non-Basmati rice.
Status of rice production and its requirement by 2030
The rice is a staple food and continuous supply is to be maintained to the consumers. To ensure regular supply of the food grain proper steps are required to be taken in advance. If supply is not maintained uninterrupted than there are chances of a large number of human population drowning in perpetual hunger. About 1 billion households depend on rice cultivation for employment and their main source of livelihood. As the rice consuming population continues to grow, and the land and water resources needed for rice production diminish, we may face a potential crisis. World rice production has been less than rice consumption since 2000. This insufficiency has been addressed by drawing on rice from buffer stock. In this context, advances in science and technology, as well as rice research, are increasingly critical to enhance rice production and sustainable agricultural development. Ensuring an increase in sustainable rice production will require innovation and cooperation within the scientific community, as well as commitment and shared responsibility among all stakeholders.
Paddy rice and wheat could have an equivalent share in global cereals production till 2030. Paddy rice and wheat is estimated to account for 2/3 of the cereals production. Both paddy rice and wheat should be the dominant cereal food in the world before 2030. Per capita cereals production for developed countries, wheat would amount to 1/3 of cereals and paddy rice has a very low proportion, which demonstrates that wheat should be the dominant cereal crop in these countries. Unlike developed countries, paddy rice is expected to be the dominant cereal crop (1/2) and wheat is just 1/2 of paddy rice in developing countries per capita production.
Paddy rice yield would increase by 2030 to 24.7 to 35.5% and reach 5.28 to 5.73 metric tones/hectare (mt ha-1). Paddy rice production in developing countries is estimated to grow at annual rate of 9, 476, 885 mt, much higher than developed countries (74, 027 mt yr-1). Till 2030 the production in developing countries is expected to significantly raise 30.9 to 41.8% against the probable increase of 7.6 to 21.0% in developed countries. Yield increase in developing countries (25.6 to 36.9%) may also be higher than developed countries (4.0 to 23.1%). With a projected production of 5.9 to 7.7 mt, Asia is forecasted to be still the major region for paddy rice production in the world. By 2030 Asia’s paddy rice yield is estimated to increase 11.7 to 23.4% and reach 4.59 to 5.08 mt ha-1. On the other hand, Europe (79.0 to 139.2 kg ha-1 yr-1), Oceania (69.3 to 106.7 kg ha-1 yr-1) and North & Central America (65.8 to 74.0 kg ha-1 yr-1) are estimated to have higher annual rates in paddy rice yield, and the production in these regions is expected to reach 7.6 to 9.7 mt, 8.8 to 12.4 mt and 7.4 to 8.2 mt respectively by 2030.
Per capita cereals production of the world is estimated to probably increase 4.5% (1.3 to 10.2%) and reach 375.3 kg yr-1 by 2030. Per capita production in developed countries (7.9 to 39.5%) may have a much higher level than developing countries (0.2 to 7.7%) and is projected to be three times of the later (899.1 kgyr-1 vs. 273.8 kg yr-1) till 2030. Oceania (955.2 kg yr-1) and North & Central America (833.6 kg yr-1) may have the greatest per capita cereals production, while per capita production in Caribbean (62.1 kg yr-1) and Africa (122.2 kg yr-1) should be lower by 2030. Asia is forecasted to be the largest region in cereals production but per capita production in this region (233.3 kg yr-1) may still be lower.
India is essentially an agricultural country with over three-fourths of the population living in rural areas and dependent on agriculture related occupations. Pre-Independent India was badly hurt by frequent famines and drought. The eminent economist Amartya Sen owes his major works on hunger to the devastations of the great Bengal famine which had made deep impressions on him when he was still a child. If India today is self sufficient in food, it is in no small measure due to indigenous agricultural research. Of course, India still has a long way to go. The population is increasing; the land area under cultivation is decreasing and excessive use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides are adversely affecting the environment. Far more needs to be produced than now, and produced in a much safer way. These are enough challenges to keep our agricultural research establishment busy. Modern day rice variety have yield potentials much greater than their traditional predecessors, a characteristics that has greatly increased rice production worldwide.
Rice production increased with time, this might be due to technological advances and more efficient use of inputs coupled with increased area under cultivation. Still there are few downfalls which clearly states that prevailing weather has significant effect on yield of rice. Rice production may change as a result of global warming through the CO2 increase, temperature rise and change in precipitation. Thus, policymakers require reliable projections of the regional impacts on the production in order to consider mitigation and adaptation techniques. Projections of regional climate change and impact on rice production are important in relation to food security for these areas, as stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Third Assessment Report.
Role of aromatic rice in the export earnings
India is one of the important countries in the world in export of rice. India's exports are expected to go up further during current financial year. Hence, Indian rice exports are set to reach second place in the world markets after Thailand edging out Vietnam in the process as per the report of the Food and Agricultural Organisation. Basmati export market is a lucrative area. Though India and Pakistan enjoy to have the maximum shares in this market, competitors from others countries are already coming up. Basmati varieties have special characteristics that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Rice export from India constitutes the major share of Basmati rice. Nearly two-third of Basmati rice produced in India is exported. Basmati rice is the leading aromatic fine quality rice of the world trade and it fetches good export price in the international markets. Infact, Basmati rice is a gift from "Mother Nature" to the Indian sub-continent and grows in the Indo-Gangatic plains only. Basmati rice being novel product is characterized by its unique grain size, aroma and cooking qualities. Being high value product, it has got good export demand. Hence, the export has been very high and exports have been steadily growing. During the year 2000-01, Basmati rice export touched an all time high record figure of 8.52 lakh mt (provisional) showing on increase of 62.9% over 1996-97.
The percentage share of export value of Basmati rice in the food grains export earnings was 76.10 per cent during 1993-94. About 60-70 per cent of the total Basmati production in the country exported every year to the international market mainly Saudi-Arabia, U.A.E, Kuwait, Oman, Russia, U.K and U.S.A. During 1997-98, India exported around 581791.0 metric tones of Basmati rice. There is vast scope for further expansion of Basmati rice export, provided we could supply to farmers dwarf high yielding Basmati varieties along with appropriate production technologies. Hence, to fill this gap between demand and supply, the present investigation will be carried out for achieving this by selecting suitable aromatic cultivar and appropriate time of transplanting.
Future prospects of aromatic rice
For centuries Basmati rice has been the food of choice for rich and enlightened people. Awareness about the unique cooking and eating qualities of Basmati rice is increasing. Every year the domestic and the international demands are on the increase. In India Basmati cultivation is spreading to neighboring districts of Basmati growing states. Modern rice mills with complete automation have further improved the physical quality of Basmati rice. Now, it is possible to separate well developed, high density kernel of uniform size and colour with desired degree of milling. Scientific packing and transportation make it possible to deliver the best product without any deterioration in quality or colour anywhere in the world. Since present day varieties require less input, there is a wave to grow these varieties organically. Basmati rice grown organically has tremendous potential in domestic and international market. Unique climatic conditions available in North West India for growing best quality Basmati rice are unparallel in the world. If high yielding, disease and pest resistant varieties of identical grain and cooking quality are made available, the area under Basmati rice will defiantly increase.
Preference for quality rice has expanded from Southeast Asia to Europe, Africa and United States of America. Over the past few years, there has been a remarkable increase in India’s foreign exchange earning from export of Basmati rice. India has made a definite dent in the global rice trade and, in the coming years it will get a leading slot in the international rice trade.
Mohammad Shamim, K.K. Singh, B.Gangwar, Sunil Kumar and Vinay Prasad Mandal