Map showing rice growing countries, mainly in Asia
The importance of rice
Around the world, rice is the most important food crop with more than 90% produced in Asia. In most of Asian countries, rice is not only the staple food, but also a source of work for the rural communities. In many countries, rice provides 50 to 70% of the energy and protein in people’s diet. It is also a staple food in many Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The ‘classic’ rice field (right) is deep green because of the stage of the rice plants which are largely immersed in water which is channeled in. The ‘terraced’ or stepped farming method is a fantastic solution to growing on steep slopes, so aligned with the contours. Photo copyright Henricus Peters
How rice is grown
Watch <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/s28wEIL56Zs” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
The topography – how the land is shaped – is a massive scale. Where there is no flat land, only the reason for the
Each one of the ‘swirls’ is a terrace of human height made from earth, for growing rice. The terraces run up and down the hillside of the land
Where are these terraces – in the countryside of many countries of Asia including China, India, Japan, Cambodia . The rice ‘paddies’, a system of growing rice in artificial (man-made) ponds, were likely first created by Chinese farmers. Paddies saves water and also helps to kill weeds.
The main reason for flooding the rice fields is that most rice varieties maintain better growth and produce higher yields when grown in flooded soils, than when grown in dry soils. The water layer also helps to kill keep weeds.
The water-filled ponds in each terraces change colour depending on rice growth and local weather. The rice terraces are beautiful especially at sunrise and sunset.
Did you know:
- Rice is actually a ‘grass, where people actually eat the seed
- Growing of rice began in Thailand about 4,000 BC
- Because of this importance – and their beauty – rice terraces are now World Heritage Sites .
The Issue: water use
With water being the most important component for rice production, producing more rice with less water is a challenge. There will be great difficulties to increase the rice area, as industry and cities continue to grow too.
Keywords: Asia | artificial | staple | yields | staple foods
History for Kids http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/food/rice.htm
For further research:
- Rice Terrace Bali (worldamazingplaces.wordpress.com)
- Longsheng Rice Terrace (foochinatour.wordpress.com)
- A farmer on Longji Rice Terrace by Woosra Kim (500px.com)
- Honghe Hani Rice Terraces Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site (amusingplanet.com)