New Hope for Indian Food Security? The System of Rice Intensification
Rice is the main source of food for more than half the world’s population and its cultivation secures a livelihood for more than two billion people. The introduction of high-yielding~varieties, fertilisers, pesticides and irrigation has improved rice yields significantly and expanded the area under which rice is cultivated. However, in the last 20 years yields and~the area under rice have stagnated. The two most significant reasons for this stagnation are the lack of adequate water for irrigation and the increased costs of cultivation.
India will need to produce a lot more rice if it is to meet the growing demand, likely to be 130 million tonnes of milled rice in 2030 according to some estimates. Since there is not much scope to increase the area of rice cultivation (due to urbanisation and severe water constraints), the additional production will have to come from less land, less water and less human labour.