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Rice: Edible Starchy Cereal Grain (Thoroughly Explained)

by Abdul Rehman
Published: Last Updated on

There are two species of rice, Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (African rice). It is generally used to refer both to wild and domestic varieties of Zizania and Porteresia; however, primitive varieties of Oryza can also be referred to as wild rice.

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Monocots
  • Clade: Commelinids
  • Order: Poales
  • Family: Poaceae
  • Genus: Oryza
  • Species: O. sativa

It is a perennial grass of the genus Oryza. In total, there are 23 species, but only two of these are known to have a commercial value and can be cultivated. Two of these species are Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (African rice). While Oryza glaberrima is grown exclusively in South Africa, Oryza sativa is the most commonly grown species worldwide.

There are three subspecies of Oryza sativa found in Asia, namely indica, japonica, and javanica. Tropical and sub-tropical varieties, commonly known as indicas, are grown throughout Asia and southern China.

Genetic origin of rice


Among domesticated grains, it is the most widely consumed staple food in Asia and Africa, especially for the half of the world’s population living in those regions. According to the International Rice Federation, rice is the third-largest agricultural commodity produced worldwide after sugarcane (1.9 billion metric tons or 2.1 billion short tons) and maize (1.0 billion metric tons or 1.1 billion short tons).

Rice provides more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide, due to the fact that sugarcane and maize crops are used largely for purposes other than human consumption. It comes in many varieties, and regional culinary traditions differ to a great extent. Rice is:

  • Self-pollinated crop
  • Semi-aquatic plant

Rice Edible Starchy Grain

There are two kinds of rice: the edible starchy cereal grain rice (Oryza sativa) and the grass plant by which it is produced (Poaceae). One-half of the world’s population is dependent on rice as a staple food, including almost all of East and Southeast Asia; 95 percent of the world’s rice crop is consumed by humans.

It can either be boiled or ground into flour. It can be found in Asia, the Middle East, and many other cuisines as a stand-alone ingredient or in soups, sides, or main courses. Aside from breakfast cereals and noodles, it is used to make alcoholic beverages like Japanese sake.


Physical Description

morphology of riceA cultivated rice plant grows to a height of around 1.2 meters (4 feet) as an annual grass. Branches and leaves are hollow and carry long, flattened leaves. The fibrous root system is sometimes extensive and widespread. In a panicle or inflorescence (flower cluster), flowers are borne which produce the fruit, or grain. There are many differences in the size, shape, and weight of the panicle and the overall productivity of a variety.


The Green Revolution of the 1960s, which produced improved strains of many crops, including miracle rice, to reduce the threat of world hunger, was the result of global scientific research. With a short, sturdy stalk that minimizes drooping loss, this variety is bred for disease resistance and increased productivity. Despite its well-intended general success, poor soil conditions and other factors hampered it.


Domestication and Cultivation

In addition to China, India, and Southeast Asian civilizations, many cultures have evidence of early rice cultivation. Yet, the earliest evidence for a civilization dates back to 7000–5000 BCE and comes from central and eastern China. It accounts for more than 90 percent of the world’s production. The majority is produced in Asia, primarily in China, India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, with smaller amounts produced in Japan, Pakistan, and other Southeast Asian nations. Also, It is cultivated in parts of Europe, in North and South America, and in Australia.

origin of rice

In tropical, semitropical, and temperate regions the plant grows primarily on submerged land, except in the type called upland rice. In Thailand, seeds are planted in prepared beds, and at 25 to 50 days old, the seedlings are moved to an enclosed paddy below the surface of the water, remained below the surface during the season. Often, rice paddies are terraced in hilly regions to maintain flood levels at varying elevations.

A good crop demands adequate irrigation, including dams and waterwheels, and good soil. Long periods of sunshine are also necessary. There is great variation in rice yield, ranging from 600 to 3,500 pounds per acre (700 to 4,000 kilograms per hectare). It is absolutely essential for productive land use to have sufficient irrigation, that is, flooding the fields to several inches deep during the growing season.

Paddy is traditionally cultivated in three main soil types in Asia: clays with firm bottoms deep below the surface; silts and soft clays with soft bottoms that become hard on drying; and peat and “mucks,” provided the peat is not excessively deep. It is essential that the fields are drained and dried prior to harvest. In the case of combine harvesters or binder threshers, grain must be dried to about 14 percent moisture before storage to prevent deterioration. Reaper binders protect grain by shock conditioning the crop in various ways to prevent rain from getting to it.

Types of Rice

The Oryza sativa plant can come in thousands of varieties, each with its own size, thickness, stickiness, color, aroma, and taste. According to the shape or method of processing, rice is generally classified into the following groups:

Long, Short, or Medium Grain

Types of Rice

This refers to the length and width of the rice grain after cooking:

  1. Long grains: Unlike short grains, long grains have slender kernels, which are at least four times as long as they are wide. The grains of long-grain rice remain separate and fluffy after cooking (e.g., Jasmine and Basmati rice).
  2. Medium grains: The kernels of such grains are shorter and wider than those of other grains (e.g., Arborio rice).
  3. Short grains: Rice with a short kernel has a kernel twice as long as it is wide, and produces a sticky-tacky texture when cooked (e.g., sushi rice).

Whole or Refined Grain

Has the rice been milled and polished, as in “white” rice, or in its whole, intact form, as in “brown” rice?

  1. Whole: In addition to bran, germ, and endosperm, it has three more edible components, the hull being removed before eating. Whole grain rice is often called brown rice, but this does not describe a specific variety, rather the colour of the grain. In addition to white, black, purple, and red shades, whole grain rice is also available in black, purple, and red. They typically take longer to cook, and possess a nuttier and chewier texture than refined white rice since the fibrous bran layer and nutrient-rich germ remain intact.
  2. Refined: The name “white rice” refers to the color of the rice, not to a particular type. In other words, polished it is stripped of the bran layers and embryo, leaving only the starchy, white endosperm. As part of the milling and polishing process, most of the naturally occurring B vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber are removed; thus, iron and B vitamins must be added. These need to be indicated on the label as “enriched.” The amount of these nutrients added back to the food is however only a fraction of the original volume.

Traditionally, certain varieties of rice are selected for their unique qualities when cooking. The following are some popular types:

  • Arborio: Risottos and puddings commonly contain this medium-grain rice. Compared with long-grain rice, this rice undergoes a less thorough milling, so it retains more starch, which is released during cooking to produce a creamy texture without becoming mushy. Risotto must be infused with water gradually in segments, and constantly stirred, in contrast to other rice cooking methods. Both brown and white Arborio rice can be found in supermarkets.
  • Basmati, Jasmine: They are long-grain rice varieties that have a fragrant aroma. Brown and white versions are both available.
  • Black rice, Black (Forbidden), Purple, or Red: A natural plant phtochemical, anthocyanins, is found in these kinds of short or medium-grain colorful rice. Flavonoids like anthocyanins have antioxidant properties and are also present in blueberries and blackberries. Both of their bran and germ layers are intact, like brown rice.
  • Glutinous: This sticky rice is named for the fact that it has the consistency of glue (but doesn’t contain gluten). There are various types of rice that contain both amylopectin and amylose, but this type contains mostly one form of starch, amylopectin. There is a variety of glutinous rice available in colors such as white, brown, and black/purple in Asia.
  • Often found in Asian cuisines, sticky rice is short-grain rice. Known as glutinous rice or sweet rice, sticky rice has a distinct taste. The grain can be ground into flour for use in dumplings. Additionally, it is used in the manufacture of rice vinegar and Japanese sake.
  • Wild rice: A seed from a reed-like aquatic plant is unrelated. White rice varieties have fewer vitamins, minerals, and fibers than brown rice varieties, which are typically served as a side dish.
  • Wild pecan rice: It is made from wild pecans is a uniquely flavored long-grain rice with a nutty flavor and fragrant aroma.

What Happens After Harvest?

Drying and storage


Grain is dried when its moisture content is reduced to a level that is acceptable for storage. Drying rice crops is the most vital stage of the process. If the grain is not dried properly, or if it isn’t dried at all, it will decrease in quality and cause loss.


Grain storage is necessary to avoid grain loss due to weather, moisture, rodents, birds, insects, and micro-organisms. Since the husk protects the rice from insects, paddy rice is generally better to store than milled rice. During the International Rice Genebank’s centennial celebration, its seeds are conserved from 11,880 different varieties of rice in vacuum-packed freezers at -18 °C, where they can last for 100 years.

Facilities to store rice vary in terms of size, purpose, and location, depending on the grain being stored.

Storage systems should include the following features:

  • Ensuring proper storage hygiene keeps insects, rodents, and birds out
  • It is easy to load and unload
  • Utilization of space efficiently
  • Management and maintenance are easy
  • The prevention of moisture reentering the grain after it has been dried
  • Rice storage in the humid tropics requires specific solutions


It is crucial to mill rice after it has been harvested. Rice milling systems are designed with the basic goals of removing the husk and producing food-grade rice that is sufficiently milled, free of impurities, and edible. Rice that has only the husk removed is described as brown rice. Further milling or polishing of the rice removes the bran layer revealing ‘white’ rice.

There should be no more than a minimal amount of broken grains depending on the requirements of the customer.

The rice milling process can be as simple as a one- or two-step procedure or it can have several stages. Rice milling systems can be classified into the categories of village rice mills and commercial mills based on whether the paddy is milled for local consumption or for export.

Packaging and Transport

A milled grain of rice is packaged and transported to its destination, which might be local or foreign, once it has been milled.

Is rice a grain?

Yes, rice is a grain. It is one of the many types of grain crops that produce edible seeds that can be harvested and consumed by people and animals alike. Grains – wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or corn – are the raw materials for making grain products. Pasta, bread, cereals, grits, tortillas, and breakfast cereals are examples of grain products. Grains also include products like popcorn, rice, and oatmeal.

Is rice a grain

Typically, grains fall into two groups: whole grains and refined grains.

  • Whole Grains: include the germ, bran, and endosperm as well as the entire grain kernel. As a whole grain, brown rice is a wonderful option, along with whole-wheat flour, oats, and cornmeal.
  • Refined Grains: By milling the grain, the bran and germ are removed from the grain kernel. As compared to its whole counterparts, the end result offers a finer texture and a longer shelf life. However, this process removes iron, several B vitamins, and dietary fiber from grains, which leads to a significant loss of nutritional value.

It belongs to the cereal grass family such as wheat, oats, and barley. The plant completes its life cycle in six months, from planting to harvesting. In addition, it is semiaquatic, meaning that it can grow on land and in water. The majority of cultivars come from the Oryza sativa, O. glaberrima, or O. rufipogon species.

It is true that rice plants in the Riverina start their lives as individual grains sown in irrigated fields formed by land-formers to maximize water retention. Eventually, they grow into grassy plants between 60 and 100 cm high. Rice plants contain many golden heads full of grains that signal when it is time to harvest.

Generally, it is divided into two types of species: Indica (adapted to tropical climates such as Asia and Australia) and Japonica (adapted to more temperate climates such as Europe and North America). The grains in Indica varieties are generally long, slender, flat, and fluffy when cooked, while those of the Japonica varieties are small, round, flat, and fluffy upon cooking. Rice-breeding programs have resulted in some Indica characteristics being introduced into our rice industry, but the majority is Japonica.

What is in a grain of Rice?

Whole grain

There are three main layers in rice grains: the outer shell or hull, the inner hull or endosperm, and the inner bran and germ.

Hull: The outer shell of rice, called a hull, is hard and can’t be eaten by humans. When grain is milled, the hull is removed.

Rice bran: The bran and germ layer is located under the hull, and it is a thin layer of skin that holds the hull and bran together. This layer lends a brown color to brown rice. The bran and germ layers are removed before making white rice.

Endosperm: The endosperm is the innermost part of the rice grain, which is typically hard and white, and contains a lot of starch.

Rice Processing and Uses

Rice kernels cultivated for paddy, or rough, rice, are surrounded by hulls, or husks. Kernels are usually milled by removing both their hull and bran, and they are then coated with glucose and talc to give them a shiny appearance. Brown rice is that has only the husks removed and is composed of about 8 percent protein, small amounts of fat, and thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, iron, and calcium.

Rice Processing

White rice that is milled without the bran is much lower in nutrients and is called white rice. The consumption of white rice can result in beriberi, which is caused by thiamine and mineral deficiencies. White rice that is parboiled before milling retains most of its nutrients, while enriched rice is enriched with iron and B vitamins.

Despite its primitive nature, most of Asia still uses mills, but Japan and some other countries have large ones. Paddy hulling is typically carried out with a pestle and mortar by hand, foot, or with the aid of a water pump. There has been some progress. Whether or not milled rice will yield a certain amount depends on how ripe the grain is, as well as how much sunlight it receives.

There are some mills, usually handling 500 to 1,000 tons of paddy per day, that have specialized hulling plants, thus losing less grain by breaking it. Instead of sun drying, they generally employ modern milling techniques and controlled drying plants.

Occasionally, by-products of milling, such as rice bran and polish (finely powdered rice bran and starch), are used as livestock feed. The bran is also processed to produce oil for both food and industrial uses. In addition to being used in brewing and distilling, broken rice is also used in rice flour manufacturing and starch production.

Among other things, the hulk is used for fuel, packing material, grinding for industrial use, fertilizer production, and in the manufacturing of an industrial chemical called furfural. In addition to being used for feed, livestock bedding, roof thatching, mats, garments, packing material and broom straws, straw has other uses as well.

Rice Nutrition Facts

Listed below are the nutritional facts for 1 cup of cooked, enriched, short-grain white rice (186g).

  • Calories: 242
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 53.4g
  • Fiber: 0.6g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 4.4g

Health Benefits And Effects

When you choose the unprocessed, brown rice variety, rice can play a key role in a balanced diet. The vitamins and minerals that rice provides contribute to its health benefits.

Supports Bones, Nerves, and Muscles

Calcium provides structural support for bones and is an essential mineral for proper nerve conduction and muscle contraction. Magnesium aids hundreds of enzyme reactions involved in DNA synthesis and protein synthesis.

Improves Colon Health

Resistance starch is found in rice, which can help produce healthy fatty acids that protect the colon. It has also been suggested that these fats may prevent colorectal cancer.

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

It has been found that eating whole grains, like brown rice, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Most of the time, aim to choose brown rice over white rice and 100% whole wheat bread over white bread — which is what the American Heart Association recommends.

Safe for People with Celiac Disease

People with celiac disease and non-celiac sensitivity can benefit from rice, since it is naturally gluten-free. Besides making flour, noodles, bread, and syrup, rice can also be used in baking. In addition, it can also be made into milk, so it can be substituted for regular cow’s milk.

Provides Quick Energy

White rice is a good choice for athletes who need a lot of carbohydrates for energy. Because white rice is high in carbs and low in fiber, many people prefer it over brown rice.


It is possible to have a rice allergy, although it is uncommon. There are more allergies to it in Asian countries since rice is a large part of the typical diet. In addition to rice, some people may also be allergic to corn, soy, and barley.

Adverse Effects

For food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), rice is one of the most common triggers. Inflammation of the small and large intestines is characteristic of this condition, which usually affects babies and young children. This condition is not actually an allergy, but the symptoms can appear to be as such. You may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or even shock in severe cases of gastrointestinal distress.

In some cases, heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic are found in rice. The FDA now limits the amount of arsenic in infant rice cereal because this is a concern for babies and small children.

Productivity in Global Rice Environments

There are more than a hundred rice-growing countries, with total harvested acreage estimated at 158 million hectares, producing more than 700 million tons of rice each year (470 million tons of milled rice). 90% of the world’s rice production is grown in Asia, which produces 640 million tons. About 19 million tons are produced by sub-Saharan Africa, and about 25 million tons are produced by Latin America. The majority of it is grown on small farms of 0.5-3 ha in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

In intensive temperate irrigated systems, yields range from less than 1 to more than 10 tons per hectare. The low incomes of rice farm families are due to small, and in many instances shrinking, farm sizes. It is adaptable to a wide range of environments and produces large yields in many situations that other crops cannot handle.

Traditional rice cultivation has increased yields in high-latitude, long-day areas that are characterized by intensive farming techniques, or in low-latitude, deep-soil desert areas with a high solar energy yield. Among the best examples are Australia’s southwest, Hokkaido in Japan, Spain, Italy, northern California, and the Nile Delta.

Global Rice Production and Consumption

In rice-producing Asia, it dominates overall crop production and overall food consumption more than anywhere else in the world (measured by its share in total farmland harvested) as well as total energy intake.

Global Production and Consumption

India and China are by far the world’s biggest rice producers. China’s rice production is greater despite its smaller area harvested compared with India’s because China has nearly all of its rice area irrigated, whereas less than half of India’s area is irrigated. As a matter of fact, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, and China are the next largest rice producers. The annual paddy production in these seven countries totaled more than 30 million tons in 2006-08, accounting for more than 80% of total world production.

It is an essential part of many other cultures around the world, despite Asia’s dominance in rice production and consumption. For example, in western Africa and some Indian Ocean countries, rice has been the primary staple food for at least 50 years. If we define a staple food as the food that provides the most calories among three main crops, rice is that food for most people.

As a general rule, rice hasn’t contributed much to the increase in calories in these countries. But in other African countries, rice has displaced other staples thanks to the low cost of importing rice from Asia and the ease of preparing rice, which is especially important in urban areas. Despite the rapid increase in production, rice consumption has increased even more rapidly in Africa, driving up the imports to balance things out.

In 2006-2008, Western Africa accounted for more than 40% of African production. Based on individual country production figures, Egypt (7.0 million metric tons) is the biggest producer of paddy (2006-08), followed by Nigeria (3.8 million metric tons), and Madagascar (3.2 million metric tons).

From the early 20th century to the mid-20th century, rice was a primary crop in Latin America and the Caribbean, grown in savannas in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Uruguay, and Venezuela and on forest margins throughout the region. Several Latin American countries, including Ecuador and Peru, Costa Rica and Panama, Guyana and Suriname, as well as the Caribbean nations of Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Haiti, rely heavily on rice as their primary dietary source.

However, wheat, maize, and beans play a major role in regional diets, so it is less dominant than in Asia. Almost half (46% in 2006-08) of the region’s paddy production is produced in Brazil, the region’s biggest producer. As a result, after Brazil (11.6 million t), Peru and Colombia (2.5 million each in 2006-08) are the two largest producers, followed by Ecuador (1.6 million t).

On the other hand, California and the southern states near the Mississippi River are the most important production centers of paddy in the United States, which produced 9.0 million t on average in 2006-08. Italian, Spanish, and Russian producers account for most of the production in Europe. Due to recurring droughts, Australia has seen its production decline significantly in recent years.

In the past two decades, its consumption has increased rapidly among Pacific islands. Except for a small amount grown in Papua New Guinea, all the rice in the country is imported, and it has replaced traditional starchy root crops as a major staple due to changing tastes, ease of storage, and sometimes price.

Yield Improvement Practices

High-yieldingDevelopment of high-yielding varieties: The Green Revolution

During the 1960s, modern agricultural inputs such as irrigation, fertilizer, seeds, and pesticides resulted in an increase in the yield of cereal crops referred to as “the Green Revolution.”. In 1966, IRRI released IR8, a high-yielding semidwarf rice variety. About 2 t/ha of rice was produced on average around the world in 1960, thanks to thousands of years of experience. It is amazing to think that, as the Green Revolution spread, it grew to 4 t/ha in just 40 years. Some areas of the world now produce 6–10 tons of rice per acre because of rice varieties developed during the Green Revolution.

Due to widespread hunger and malnutrition, particularly in Asia, it was vital that wheat and rice production be increased to prevent famine.

IRRI was founded in 1960 in response to the crisis, along with its sister institutions as part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research system (CGIAR).

Fine-tuning the technologies

The development of high-yielding varieties (HYVs) was critical for boosting cereal yields, which were increased by irrigation and fertilizer. Compared to semi-dwarf varieties, these semi-dwarf rice varieties developed shorter, stiffer straws, which would not collapse when heavy heads of grain were added. Furthermore, they are capable of maturing faster and are not affected by daylight hours, allowing more crops to grow on the same piece of land over the course of a year.

In 1966, the IR8 HYV became the first of its kind. As a result, HYVs quickly became popular in Asia, and by 1980, about 40% of the total cereal field area was planted with modern varieties. Around 80% of that area was cultivated by 2000.

HYV rice varieties increased yields dramatically, but also had less desirable cooking traits and had a higher susceptibility to pests and diseases. With the continued investment in agricultural research, later-generation varieties were developed that offered good pest and disease resistance and preferred consumption characteristics.

Policy framework

It was primarily a technology revolution, but it required strong public support and policies for the technologies to be developed, the infrastructure built, markets, finance, and input systems designed, and farmers to have enough knowledge and economic incentives to adapt new practices. 

Small farmers were particularly vulnerable to public interventions in Asia as they did not want to be left behind, and without their support, the Green Revolution would have been less effective. By 1972, Asian governments were spending 15.4% of their overall budgets on agriculture, and by 1985 their expenditures had doubled in real terms.

Agricultural resources were also subsidized by government, as were key inputs – especially fertilizer, power, and water – and markets were intervened on to ensure farmers received adequate prices year after year so that the technologies would be profitable. Small farms were not left behind by many governments thanks to their interventions. 

At the time, extensive empirical evidence showed the most effective producers were small farms in Asia, and land reform and small farm development programs were implemented to help create and support a large number of small farms. Growth in small farms was successful not only in terms of efficiency but also in terms of poverty reduction, bringing growth and poverty reduction together.

Impact of the Green Revolution

As a result of the Green Revolution, yields were not only increased, but also production costs decreased. A win-win outcome of this was that consumers achieved lower cereal prices and farmers and agricultural workers, on the other hand, were able to earn higher incomes.

It is unclear how the Green Revolution is related to poverty alleviation, and the debate has generated a lot of controversy. Researchers have discovered that village and household studies conducted shortly after the release of Green Revolution technologies raise concerns that large farms are the main beneficiaries of the technologies, while poorer farmers are either unaffected or left behind.

Some studies, however, found that inequality was reduced over the longer term.

Production, Area, and Yield Trends Over Time

There was an annual compound growth rate of 2.24% in rice production worldwide between 1961 and 2010 (2.21% in rice-growing Asia). A major part of the increase in rice production can be attributed to increasing yields at an annual average growth rate of 1.74%, as compared to an area harvested growth rate of 0.49%. On average, paddy yields rose 51.1 kg/ha per year in each of the last five years, although both relative and percentage growth rates have declined.

The recent slowdown in the rice area and yield growth

Asia’s average real yields have increased in the decades since the Green Revolution, but the rate of growth is slowing. Furthermore, the total factor productivity has declined, meaning that farmers must use higher amounts of inputs to reach the same level of production as they did previously. In rice-producing Asia, population growth has been steadily declining for decades.

This trend helped to keep rice prices in check for a while, since population growth has been the main source of rice demand growth. Regardless of population growth exceeding yield growth since the mid-1990s, the gap between supply and demand has steadily widened, creating a serious issue between supply and demand.

As a whole, Asia is on a downward trend, as well as separately for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. Eventually, prices began to rise as a result of a stagnation of the area harvested. There was a steady 67% rise in world market rice prices between April 2001 and September 2007, even before the global economic crisis.

Rice production growth is slowing in several ways: displacement by more profitable crops such as groundnuts on better lands, displace of cereals on better lands. Because modern varieties are less profitable when irrigation and fertilizer use are already high, and agricultural input costs are falling relative to cereal prices. Moreover, breeders are largely exploiting the yield potential of major Green Revolution crops, and there is concern that pest and disease resistance to modern pesticides is now slowing yield growth.

It has been shown that excessive and inappropriate fertilizer use and pesticide usage in several areas have caused detrimental environmental effects, such as the pollution of waterways and the destruction of beneficial insects and wildlife.  In areas with more water pumped for irrigation than is replenishable, agricultural practices lead to salt accumulation, abandonment of many of the best crops, and water scarcity in major rivers.

As millions of largely illiterate farmers used modern inputs for the first time, some of these outcomes were inevitable; however, the problem was exacerbated by inadequate extension and training; the lack of effective regulations of water use and quality; and the low cost and excessive use of inputs.

Production challenges

In many Asian and African countries, its consumption is driven by both population growth and economic growth. With increasing incomes, however, per capita consumption has started to decline in some developing Asian countries, such as India, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Similarly, its consumption has increased over time in other middle- and low-income Asian countries, like the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Laos.

There is some variation in the trend of Asian per capita rice consumption, but many economists expect that in the future, as incomes rise and people diversify their diets, per capita rice consumption in most Asian countries will decrease. However, there are exceptions, such as in India, where a disproportionate number of vegetarians may mean that its consumption patterns do not change significantly as income rises and urbanization increases rapidly.

While it has not yet become a staple in Asia, per capita consumption continues to rise in other regions. In the majority of African countries, high population growth combined with changing consumer preferences is causing rice consumption to grow rapidly. Nigeria, Tanzania, and Niger are among the least developed countries where people are moving away from tubers and cassava to rice as their income rises.

Middle Eastern countries have also seen substantial consumption growth with almost doubling of its consumption during the last two decades, and some Pacific island nations have seen even greater increases. As a result of strong growth in the population, the consumption of rice increased at an incredibly rapid rate.

A combination of population growth and the increase in the per capita consumption of rice has resulted in a 40% increase in consumption in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a result of the increased use of fiber in the diet and immigration from Asian countries, per capita consumption is growing in developed countries/regions, such as the United States and the European Union.

By 2035, the global rice consumption is projected to increase from 439 million tons (milled rice) in 2010 to 496 million tons (FAPRI income projections), and as much as 555 million tons (FAPRI population projections). Overall, this will represent a 26% increase over the next 25 years. The rate of growth, however, will slow from 13% for the first 10 years to 12% in the next 15 due to population growth slowing and people diversifying their diets from rice to other foods.

In spite of the continued declines in per capita consumption in China and India, it is projected that Asian rice consumption will account for 67% of the total increase from 2010 to 2035. The amount of rice needed by Africa will also increase by 30 million tons, 130% more than in 2010. It is expected that over the next 25 years, rice consumption will increase by 33% in the Americas.

If world market prices are to remain at affordable levels for the billions of consumers, then global rice yields need to rise faster than they have in recent years given the slow pace of area expansion. The agricultural industry needs to produce at least 8–10 million more tons of paddy rice each year, which is about 1.2–1.5% more than it did a decade ago, equivalent to an increase in yield of 0.6 t/ha.

On a long-term basis, its consumption growth is expected to slow, but yields will have to increase faster than they are now due to pressure from urbanization, climate change, and competition from other high-value agriculture in the developing world. In order to feed the growing world and keep its prices affordable beyond 2020, yields will need to increase by 1–2% annually.

Read More: Modern Chinese Rice Production Technology Is Favorable In Pakistan

Common Pests and Diseases


Rice diseases

  • Bacterial leaf streak Xanthomonas oryzae
  • Leaf scald Microdochium oryzae
  • Rice Bacterial blight Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae
  • Bakanae Fusarium moniliforme
  • Brown spot Cochliobolus miyabeanus
  • False smut Ustilaginoidea virens
  • Narrow leaf spot (Cercospora leaf spot) Cercospora oryzae
  • Rice blast Magnaporthe grisea
  • Sheath blight Rhizoctonia solani
  • Stem rot Magnaporthe salvinii
  • Grassy stunt Rice grassy stunt virus (RGSV)
  • Tungro Rice tungro bacilliform virus (RTBV)


Rice Pests

  • Leafhoppers & planthoppers Nephotettix spp.
  • Mole cricket Gryllotalpa orientalis
  • Rice bug Leptocorisa oratorius F. and Leptocorisa acuta Thunberg
  • Rice case worm Paraponyx stagnalis Stagnalis (Lepidoptera : Pyralidae)
  • Rice gall midge Orseolia oryzae
  • Rice mealy bugs Brevennia rehi
  • Stem borers (Yellow stem borer, Striped stem borer, White stem borer, etc.) Scirpophaga incertulas, Chilo suppressalis, Scirpophaga innotata

Meiosis and DNA repair

Research on meiosis and DNA repair in higher plants has been performed using rice as a model organism. A meiotic cell produces haploid cells that develop further into gametophytes (female cells) and gametes (male cells) during meiosis. There are 28 known meiotic genes in rice.

In rice, this gene is required for correct homologous recombinational repair of DNA, especially during meiosis when double strand breaks occur. During meiosis, rice gene OsDMC1 was essential for pairing homologous chromosomes, and rice gene OsMRE11 was required for both synapsis of homologous chromosomes and repair of double-strand breaks.

Cultural Roles of Rice

Religions and popular beliefs attribute a great deal of significance to rice. Most cultures scatter rice in the bride and groom’s presence during or after a wedding ceremony.

During Nepalese weddings, pounded rice is ritually thrown into the air. When the groom requests it politely from the bride, she gives him a pounded rice plate on a leaf.

Rice wine, also called tapuy, is used for weddings, rice harvesting ceremonies, and other important events in the Philippines.

Traditionally, Dewi Sri is revered as the rice goddess by Indonesians living in Java, Bali, and Sundanese regions. Rice is the staple food of the region, so most rituals associated with Dewi Sri relate to the mythical origin of the plant. Similarly, in Thailand there is a rice goddess known as Phosop, which is more linked to ancient folklore than a conventional religious deity.

Po Ino Nogar is known as this rice goddess in Cambodia and Nang Khosop is known in Laos. In each of the corresponding cultures, rice offerings are made in honor of the Rice Goddess at different stages of rice production.

Among Han Chinese communities, a study conducted in 2014 found that rice farming leads to greater psychological interdependence, whereas wheat farming leads to greater independence.

The beginning of the rice-planting season in certain Asian countries is marked by a Royal Ploughing Ceremony. These ceremonies are still held in Cambodia and Thailand.

Source: Britannica, Harvard College, Very Well Fit, Ricepedia, Sunrice, Plant Village, Wikipedia, Agropedia

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