Rice is the most important crop for food security and livelihoods of the rural population in Bihar, India. In spite of good soil and water resources, rice water productivity (WP) is very low in Bihar. Trends in WP and key factors influencing WP over 20 years (1991–2010) in 11 Bihar districts were analysed using panel data to help elucidate reasons for low WP values. The annual average rice yield of 938 kg/ha, WP of 0.22 kg/m3
, and marginal physical productivity (MPP) of 249 g/m3
are very low in Bihar compared to both the national average for India and other rice growing areas in the world. Rice WP and MPP were higher for the garma
(dry) season than for the kharif
(monsoon) season. Temporal analysis showed that WP was slowly declining in most districts, while spatial analysis showed a significant variation in WP across the districts. Regression analysis showed that the availability of irrigation facilities, occurrence of flood and drought, and cropping intensity had significant influence on rice WP. Causes for temporal and spatial changes in WP are highlighted and actions to improve rice WP in Bihar are suggested.
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