The Production of Rice Throughout the World: The East Asia Rice Working Group

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Rice is an annual cereal grass that is widely cultivated in warm climates for its seed and is used for food and for its by-products (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate).
Rice is classified as a cereal and shares equal importance as a leading food source with wheat. Rice is a staple food for more than half the world’s population. Rice grows on every continent in the world with the exception of Antarctica. There 21 different known wild varieties and three distinct cultivated species. Oryza sativa japonica, is believed to have been domesticated in what is today central China around 7,000 BC (Hirst). This crop has been grown in more than 100 countries, spanning an area from a latitude of 53° north to 35° south. Around 95 percent of the rice in the world is grown and consumed in Asia. The highest level of per capita rice consumption (130 to 180 kilograms [kg] per year, 55 to 80 percent of total caloric source) takes place in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Vietnam (Kiple and Ornelas).
Today rice accounts for about 20 percent of the world's total calorie intake. Rice is not just a staple in diets worldwide, but rice is central to the economy and landscape of ancient and modern Asian civilizations. Predominantly in contrast to Mediterranean cultures, which are primarily based on wheat (Hirst). On the international market rice commands a higher price than that of wheat. However, less than five percent of the world’s rice enters the trade market, in comparison to about 16 percent of the world’s harvested wheat. In low-income countries, such as China and Pakistan are often able to export their rice with a greater cost than it takes them to import wheat (Kiple and Ornelas).
Rice has been a so...

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...created. The East Asia Rice Working Group, for example, was created in an effort to exempt rice from trade liberalization (The Rice Industry).
Since the dawn of civilization, rice has served humans as a life-giving cereal in the humid regions of Asia and, to a lesser extent, in West Africa. Introduction of rice into Europe and the Americas has led to its increased use in human diets. In the eastern half of Asia, where 90 to 95 percent of the rice produced is locally consumed, the grain is the largest source of total food energy. In the year 2000, about 40 percent of the people on earth, mostly those in the populous, less-developed countries, depended on rice as the major energy source. The question, of course, is whether the rice-producing countries with ongoing technological developments can keep production levels ahead of population growth (Kiple and Ornelas)

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