One of the most important issue is increasing number of small and marginal farmers:

A small farm size means that rice production will constitute a small proportion of the gross income earned by the farmer. The farmer will be forced to engage in multiple activities not just involve in the production of a single crop. In addition to rice, they also grow many other crops, produce livestock and also engage in non-farm activities where possible. For small and marginal farmers, the share of rice in the total household income can be less than 15 per cent. Such farmers may value other economic activities more than the additional production of rice, especially if there are clear trade-offs. Thus, only those rice technologies that mesh well with other components of the livelihood systems are likely to be adopted. Farmers who migrate seasonally for work after planting rice are unlikely to practice an intensive crop care that requires a regular monitoring of crop and soil conditions. Also, a long-duration rice variety is unlikely to be adopted if the farmers use the land for high-value post-rice crops or for grazing soon after the harvest of short-duration rice varieties. Mint are cultivated in between the rice cultivations to add up the earnings these days that also sometimes divert full attention to rice production. The crop establishment methods that requires precise and careful planting are likely to be rejected in favour of simpler but robust methods mostly by small farmers.

Small and marginal farming of rice

Although India has made tremendous progress in reducing poverty at the national level from 37 per cent in 1991 to 26 percent in 2000 to 6% of extreme poverty in year 2021. The level of poverty in eastern India is still higher than the national average. Bihar and Orissa still have the poverty ratio exceeding average of eastern India. More than half of the poor people of India live in eastern India, a further reduction in the national poverty level is dependent largely on the success in eastern India and too good cultivation of rice and wheat are pivotal.

It appears that easier gains have already been made and further productivity growth will require a concerted effort in several directions. To keep the rate of rice output growth balanced in this important region of India above the rate of population growth, a new wave of technology and investments are required for rice productivity. Further, agriculture growth in eastern India is as important now as it was earlier that the research and development strategies for eastern India must be cognizant of the evolving characteristics and new challenges that have arisen during or post CoViD-19 pandemic.