RQ | Growing wheat and rice in India

One of the most massive data sets on data.gov.in is district-wise data on the total area under cultivation and production of various crops for each season for each year from 1998 to 2010. In this post we will look at which states utilize the most amount of land growing each crop.

First, a note on the data. The data is district-wise and season-wise. The irritating thing is that the seasons are not mutually exclusive. The seasons in the data set are “Summer”, “Kharif”,  ”Autumn”, “Winter”, “Rabi” and “Whole Year”. First of all, I don’t know what “Autumn” means in India – as far as I know India doesn’t have one such season. Granting some liberties, it is irritating that seasons overlap.

Here is how I’ve consolidated the data. For either crop, for each year, I took the total area under cultivation for each state for each season. Next, I looked at the maximum area under cultivation in a particular state at a particular point in time (any time in the 12 years of data I have). So the data I present in this post is the maximum area in a particular state that was under a particular crop at some point of time in the 1998-2010 time period.

So, who grows wheat in India? The graph here shows the states with the maximum area under wheat:

Source: data.gov.in

Source: data.gov.in

Notice that Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have had much more area under wheat than Punjab or Haryana. Also notice that only eight states in India have ever had more than 5000 square kilometers of land growing wheat. To put this in perspective let us look at rice:

Source: data.gov.in

Source: data.gov.in

Here I have put the cutoff (for entry to the graph) at 10000 square kilometer, and yet fourteen states make the cut. In terms of area under cultivation at least, we can say that we are a predominantly rice growing country. Again, in rice, notice that Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have more area under cultivation of rice than more “traditional” rice growing areas like Orissa or West Bengal.

Which state has the biggest proportion of its land area under wheat? And rice? The next two graphs show the proportion of land under wheat and under rice in each state (note again that these are maximum values over a decade).


There is much more information in this particular data set. We will revisit it in subsequent posts.

DISCLAIMER: This is an archived post from the Indian National Interest blogroll. Views expressed are those of the blogger's and do not represent The Takshashila Institution’s view.