How to increase Your Profit From Rice Cultivation in India

India is the largest producer of rice in 2019 with production on over 43 million hectares. But indian farmers don’t find the profit they expect. The government MSP for rice in Kerala is rs.25 Per KG of rice grain for consumption and rs 30 per KG for seeds. This may seem like a good price and it is for most farmers. Considering the minimal effort required for cultivation of rice, the profit seems quite good. 

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But… How can you increase the profit on rice cultivation? If you put things into the perspective of a business person rather than a cultivator, the factors of profit come down to increased production + reduced overhead = More profit. It makes sense. So let’s just see how to increase production.

According to a study Productivity of rice per hectare is 2191 KG per hectare in india. Productivity Worldwide is 3026 KG per hectare. Clearly something is very wrong when you produce 1/3rd less than the global average! Increasing yield in rice cultivation to global average alone will give indian farmers an advantage of 30% at least in their income. 

So why is India’s Productivity in rice cultivation lower than that of the global average. How do we farmers rectify this huge gap in productivity? What are ICAR and other research bodies doing to help farmers improve yield in rice cultivation? Are there any farmers in India who are producing to the global average of 3026KG per hectare? Are they doing it steadily? Has the weather, soil condition or nature had any role in lower production of rice in india? These are a lot of questions and they need to be looked at carefully and answered in detail before we move forward.

Productivity Tonnes Per hectare
China6.5
Bangladesh4.42
indonesia5.79 to 6.74 
Vietnam5.41
burma 3.7-4.7 
Brazil6.3

While the average Productivity in India is only 2.19 Tonnes per hectare, China has a productivity of 6.5 tonnes per hectare. Burma has double the productivity of rice per hectare when you compare it to india. 

Move to New varieties of Rice , Preferably hybrid

It is important that Farmers take up new varieties to increase yield . The latest development in the field of rice has increased and improved over the past few years. The KAU (Kerala Agricultural university has introduced 8 varieties of Rice in 2018. 5 Varieties in 2015.

 Many of these varieties are still not cultivated widely. Farmers are still cultivating rice which were developed in the late 90’s today!

New varieties are tested to be Resistant to various pests and disease apart from high yield. Since these rice are developed by KAU, A government body, Rice can be sold to the government at the MSP. You can always increase your Yield and thus the profit per acre by moving to hybrid varieties. Expect at least 30% increase in Yield per which adds up to 30% more in income. 

Cultivate Heirloom Variety of rice

There are plenty of rice with medicinal values or aromatic features. Navara or Njavara Rice is known to have a plethora of medicinal benefits. The Navara rice is used in ayurveda treatment and also consumed widely now. The product is marketed already and has a wide customer base. The navara rice is also exported to various countries. The price for navara rice ranges from 150Rs per kilo to 300 Rs per Kilo. that is 3-5 times more than the price you would be able to get from normal rice varieties. 

Of course cultivating heirloom rice has its own set of pitfalls. Marketing is tough and the market is not educated to the benefits and qualities of the rice. If you are cultivating in 3-5 acres, it may seem to be a lot of work to market your produce. 

Fortunately there are plenty of sources today to get your product in the market. All it needs is a few registrations (FSSAI, GST Etc), means to pack your produce and check for quality  and You are set to sell. You could sell on a range of online platforms from amazon to flipkart and even setup your own website with little investment. The opportunities are limitless

Common Varieties of Medicinal and aromatic rice cultivated in Kerala are 

Every state has its own set of rice varieties which are native to the area. You could always find the benefits of these rice, market it well and reap the benefits.

Today Navara rice is cultivated by Unny’s Navara Eco Farm(http://www.navara.in/). He owns a medium sized farm and cultivates only navara. His website sells the produce online and he finds no problems selling his produce in wholesale or retail. As a matter of fact, his produce is always in demand and he finds it hard to meet them.One KG of Navara Rice sells for Rs 520 on his website and that’s a lot more than you could get for a normal rice!

The market is open for a range of heirloom rice varieties. Find the benefits of these products. Add extra effort by going organic and the profits are manifold. 

Go Organic

Organic Produce has its own set of benefits. Cultivating organic produce may be a bit harder and the fear of pests always looms over a farmers head. Find natural pesticides and fertilizers which are organic. Cultivate organic Rice. Organic Rice is worth double the amount of traditionally cultivated rice. Just this edge alone is enough to increase your profit by 50-100%. The variety of the rice is immaterial in most cases, but if the variety is heirloom and if you can cultivate the best quality rice (in terms of looks and size), you have a clear winner. 

Processing Techniques

Most rice mills process rice in a straightforward way. Remove the Husk, germ and bran, polish and pack. The nutritional values or the germ and bran are completely removed. The fiber content is less and the rice improves digestion. Unfortunately, the unpolished rice does not suit most people’s taste. They are a bit rough and grainy. On the other side, there are a lot of benefits to unpolished rice. This is one reason why many people are moving to brown rice today. The rice with Germ and bran makes rice more nutritious. Take advantage of these research and process your rice accordingly. State the benefits to your customers and on your marketing material. All these will help set you apart from the mass, increasing and improving your products value.

While this may all seem easy said than done, its surely possible. Today more farmers are selling their produce with their own brand name than it was possible 2 decades ago. Its easier now to setup a company to sell your produce at a price you set. Going by MSP is not an option for farmers who want to make a profit from their hard work. 

Reference :

http://www.fao.org/3/x6905e/x6905e0f.htm

https://keralabiodiversity.org/images/2019/brochures/Aromatic_medicinal_rice_varieties.pdf

http://www.kau.in/basic-page/varieties-released

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/indias-crop-yields-lower-than-us-europe-and-china/articleshow/55558872.cms