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Demand projections and prospects of achieving
Primarily based on the actual consumption visa vis population growth and rising per capita income as well as the need to take into account the growing export prospects and maintenance of the stipulated bufferstock, rice demand in the next 10-20 years, though estimated variedly by economists, would be no less than additional 20 and 35 million tonnes respectively over and above what is being produced today. Given the many a still existing and emerging problem bound to impede the desired pace of growth, achievement of such high targets would not be an easy task. Especially, the shrinking water resource, decreasing soil health and soil productivity, over one half of the rice area remaining rainfed with very low and unstable productivity, declining farm return from rice farming dissuading farmers to shift to more remunerative non rice crops and dwindling labour availability in rural areas and still manual labour dependant cultural practices like transplanting and harvest/post-harvest processing are going to seriously impede the pace of rice production growth. Increasingly limiting but badly required genetic variability in the nature provided genepools visa vis the unfolding new problems arising from changing climate coupled with continued reservation against genetically modified crops that are directly in the food chain of man as rice would further compound the problem.