In Chhattisgarh, the main crop is rice which is grown on around 77% of the total sown area. Only 20% of the area is under irrigation; the rest depends on rain. About 73% of the Chhattisgarh plains, 95% of the northern hills and 97% of the Bastar plateau are rain fed from the three agro climatic zones. Only 87,000 ha in Chhattisgarh plains and 2300 ha in Bastar plateau and northern hills are the irrigated area available for double cropping. The farmers are unable to acquire financial benefits from agriculture due to less productivity of rice and other crops as agriculture is the main occupation of over 80% of the populace.
In Chhattisgarh state, about 22% of total cropped area was under irrigation as compared to Madhya Pradesh which was 36.5% in the year 1998-99, while the average national irrigation is about 40%. The irrigation is categorized by a high order of variability ranging from 1.6% in Bastar to 75.0% in Dhamtari. About 0.43% additional area is brought under irrigation every year as compared to 1.89% in Madhya Pradesh and 1.0% in the country as a whole depending upon the average growth trend in irrigated area. Thus, irrigation has been growing at a very low rate in Chhattisgarh and the leap of irrigation is so slow. So, it would take about 122 years to reach the 75% level of net irrigated area in Chhattisgarh at the present growth rate.
Chhattisgarh has a limited irrigation system along with canals and dams on some rivers. Irrigation is the major requirement of the state for its complete development and therefore the state government has given top priority to irrigation and its development. The state’s average rainfall is around 1400 mm and the complete region falls under the rice agro climatic zone. Large variation that occurs yearly in rainfall directly affects the rice production.
A total of 4 major, 33 medium and 2199 minor irrigation projects have been finished and 5 major, 9 medium and 312 minor projects are under construction, as of 31 March 2006.