Rice History

Introduction To Rice

Rice, throughout history, has been one of man’s most important foods. Rice is intimately involved in the culture as well as the food ways and economy of many societies. Today, this unique grain helps sustain two-thirds of the world’s population, yet, little is known about the origins of rice cultivation. Archeological evidence suggests rice has been feeding mankind for more than 5,000 years. The first documented account of rice is found in a decree on rice planting authored by a Chinese emperor about 2,800 BC. From China to ancient Greece, from Persia to the Nile Delta, rice migrated across the continents, eventually finding its way to the Western Hemisphere.

The world’s largest producers of rice are China, India and Indonesia and Pakistan. Brazil is the largest producer of rice outside Asia. Rice is also an important staple in parts of Africa including Madagascar, Senegal, Gambia and Tanzania, Nigeria and throughout the middle east. The consumption of basmati rice is increasing at a level of 30% annually therefore giving a boost to the Basmati rice’s in the European sectors. A small amount of rice is grown in Europe, principally in Italy, Spain and Portugal.

There are primarily four distinct types of rice
  • Japonica rice, typically grown in regions with cooler climates, accounts for around 12 percent of global rice trade.
  • Aromatic rice, primarily jasmine from Thailand and basmati from India and Pakistan, accounts for around 10 percent of global trade and typically sells at a premium in world markets.
  • Glutinous rice, grown mostly in Southeast Asia and used in desserts and ceremonial dishes, accounts for most of the remainder.
  • In the low varities Long Grain white rice, Pakistan India, Vietnam and Thailand are the core competitors and account for approximately 65% of the imports into the African hemisphere.

In Pakistan, rice is grown in almost the Sindh and Punjab. The former specializing in producing the Long grain white rice IRRI-6 and IRRI-9 and the latter producing world class Basmati rice’s amongst IRRI-9 amongst other varieties. Rice being climatically most adaptable cereal, various types of land management systems for rice cultivation exists, these are otherwise known as cultural types.