Explore Assam's long history with rice and how it has become an essential part of every meal and the backbone of the state's agricultural economy.
In the heart of India's enchanting northeastern region lies a land that thrives on a grain of immense significance. Welcome to Assam, where the rhythmic sway of paddy fields tells a tale of abundance and prosperity. Here, rice reigns supreme, weaving its golden strands into the very fabric of the state's economy. Every meal begins and ends with rice, and though Assam’s many tribal communities each have their rituals and traditions, rice is one thing that they all share a love for.
Though it may be an emotional connection today, Assam’s relationship with rice was down to a fortuitous set of factors. Assam, blessed with fertile soil and a generous monsoon, is home to a diverse array of rice varieties. The people of Assam, with their age-old technique and deep-rooted knowledge, perfected the art of rice cultivation over centuries, nurturing this humble grain into a symbol of identity and a lifeline for their economy.
Economic Significance Of Rice In Assam
Today, the significance of rice in Assam's economy can be felt in every aspect of life. According to the Rice Knowledge Bank Of Assam, it makes up 2.54 million ha (hectares) of the gross cropped area of 4.16 million ha and is 96% of the food grain production of the state. Assam is also very well-recognised for its rich rice genetic diversity. It is the backbone of agriculture, a pillar on which countless farmers rely to support their families.
Moreover, rice extends its influence beyond the borders of Assam, as it becomes a vital component of trade and commerce. Exported to neighbouring states and even foreign lands, the rice of Assam carries with it the essence of its rich soil and the hard work of its farmers. As of 2021, Assam began exporting its Red Rice, Bao Dhan to the USA and the sale of non-Basmati rice exports jumped 125% from the year before (via PIB Delhi). It’s easy to see that when done right, rice opens doors to economic growth, generating income and providing livelihood opportunities for countless individuals.
Beyond the fields, rice spills into bustling markets, where its value reverberates. The aroma of freshly cooked rice dances through the air, tempting palates and stirring appetites. And amid vibrant bazaars, rice sellers and traders barter and bargain, a symphony of commerce and culture awaits. The pulse of Assam throbs in harmony with the humble rice grain.