"Rice-wheat cropping pattern is cornerstone of India's food security". Discuss critically.

Published: October 27, 2015

Model Answer: The Rice-wheat cropping system is India’s most widely adopted cropping system practiced on an estimated area of around 11 million hectares. This system is main feature of Indo-gangetic plains (IGP) and is found in Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh etc.
It is called cornerstone of India’s food security because of the high production and productivity boosted by green revolution and government support that made India self reliant in production of food grains. Further, this pattern has also supported the mixed farming feature of Indian agriculture because green fodder has been readily available.
However, Cultivation of rice and wheat over a prolonged period has caused degradation of natural resources (groundwater, soil) to a great extent. Thus, the sustainability of rice-wheat system is affected due to overmining of vital nutrients from soil; declining groundwater levels; diseases / pests; disturbance in soil due to rice puddling etc. The governments have been promoting the alternate crops like Summer Moong, Sunflower and Maize in order to reduce the wheat and paddy crop rotation because legume crops have capability to increase soil nutrition. (184 words)

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