New district-level maps of rice cropping in India: A foundation for scientific input into policy assessment


We combined several district-level and state-level data sets of rice cropping in India to develop a single dataset of district-level rice cropping systems for all of India in 1999–2000. The data set contains district-level areas for 34 different single-, double-, and triple-cropping combinations (e.g., rice–rice, rice–rice–pulse, rice–pulse–fibrecrop, rice–wheat, and rice–fallow). The dataset specifies cropping by season (e.g., Kharif and Rabi) and area in two water management systems (irrigated or rainfed) for each cropping system in each district. The total rice sown area is 44.9 million hectares (Mha), 91% in the Kharif (wet) season. Total rice land area was 41.6 Mha, with upland rice accounting for 13% of this area. Rainfed rice (including upland and deepwater) accounted for 44% of the total rice sown area, and rice–fallow for 38% of the total rice sown area. The total multiple cropping area with rice occupied 17.6 Mha, with dominant systems being rice–wheat (8.8 Mha), rice–pulse (3.2 Mha), rice–rice (2.2 Mha), and rice–oilseed (1.2 Mha, including rice–groundnut). We combined these maps with a simple, monthly time-step water balance model to estimate irrigation water demand for irrigated rice by district; total national demand was 200 km3 y−1. A complete national, district-level set of maps and data of rice cropping systems and water management will be useful as inputs to a range of studies on agricultural productivity, resource use, and environmental impacts of rice agriculture.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Field Crops Research



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