India is the second largest producer of rice in the world after China. It is grown on about one-fourth of the total cropped area and provides food to about half of the country's population.
Rice is the major food of more than 70% of total population. Production of rice at present is 1895 kg per hectare. Rice cultivation thrives in hot and humid climate. It requires temperature of 24°C and a rainfall of 100 centimeters and above.
In 1950-51 area under rice cultivation was 300 lakh hectares and its production was 350 lakh tonnes. These figures have risen to 434 lakh hectares and its production was 823 lakh tonnes in 1997-98. They have further risen to 450 lakh hectares and production up to 895 lakh tonnes in 1999-2000.
Its distribution in India is eastern coastal plains, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana. Two to three crops of rice are raised annually in the deltas of Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri. Nowadays Punjab and Haryana are known for its cultivation. It depends upon irrigation. Besides, rice is grown on terraced fields of the hills from Kashmir to Assam.