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Rice as a Crop

Rice as a crop

Rice is an important food crop as it feeds more people compared to any other crop. In 2012, more than 3 billion people; which is equal to half of the population, relied on rice every day. Rice is a staple food across Asia where around half of the world’s poorest people live. The importance of rice is increasing mainly in Africa and Latin America.

Rice is spectacularly diverse, both in the way it is grown and how humans use it. Rice is a unique crop as it is the crop that can survive and can grow in wet environments that other crops cannot survive in. The domestication of rice ranks as one of the most important developments in history and now hundreds of rice varieties are cultivated on every continent except Antarctica.

Where is Rice grown?

Rice is grown in a wide range of locations and under a variety of climatic conditions, from the wettest area to the driest area in the world. It is produced along Myanmar’s Arakan coast as the growing season records an average of more than 5,100 mm of rainfall, and at Al Hasa Oasis in Saudi Arabia, where annual rainfall is less than 100 mm. The temperatures here vary greatly. In the Upper Sindh area in Pakistan, the rice season averages 33˚ whereas in Otaru area in Japan, the mean temperature for the growing season is 17˚. Rice is mostly produced on coastal plains at sea level and in delta regions throughout Asia, and even to a height of 2,600 m on the slopes of Nepal’s mountains.

Rice is generally grown under an extreme range of solar radiation, ranging from 25% of potential during the main rice season in portions of Myanmar, Thailand and India’s Assam state to 95% of the potential in Southern Egypt and Sudan. Rice occupies an extraordinarily high proportion of the total planted area in South, South East and East Asia. This area is subject to an alternating wet and dry seasonal cycle and it also contains many of the world’s major rivers; each with its own vast delta. In this area, enormous areas of flat and low-lying agricultural land are flooded annually during and immediately following the rainy season. Only two major crops- rice and taro can adapt themselves under these conditions of saturated soil and high temperatures.

What types of rice are grown?

Two species of rice are important cereals for human nutrition: Oryza sativa which is grown worldwide and Oryza Glaberrima, which is grown in parts of West Africa. These two cultigens are known only by cultivated plants. It belongs to a genus that includes about 25 other species.

Oryza had originated about 14 million years ago in Malesia and since then it has evolved, diversified and dispersed. Wild Oryza species are now distributed throughout the topics. Genomes of Oryza can be classified into 11 groups labelled AA to LL. Most of the species are grouped into four complexes of closely related species in two major sections of the genus. As these species are diploids, they have no close relatives and are thus placed in their own sections of the genus: O. Australiensis and O. Brachyantha.

How is Rice grown?

Seed is an important living product that must be grown, harvested and processed correctly in order to realize the yield potential of any rice variety. The use of good seeds can lead to lowering seeding rates, higher crop emergence, reduced replanting, more uniform plant seeds and more vigorous early crop growth. In early stages, vigorous growth reduces weed problems and increases crop resistance to higher yields.

The growth of rice has increased as many people grow rice more than any other crop in the world. There are over 144 million rice farms worldwide in a harvested area of 158 million hectares. It is cultivated widely in range of climates and terrains, by hands or by making massive use of machinery and by small families or large agricultural corporations. The contrasts in the geographic, social and economic conditions under which rice is produced are vast.

The growth of rice is on a large scale and has led to the massive growth of rice as a crop. In industrialized countries where technology takes over, rice is grown on huge holdings with maximum use of technology and large expenditures of energy from fossil fuels.



 05/08/2019  Mukund Pratap Singh

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