why is rice an important food crop

It has been estimated that half the world's population subsists wholly or partially on rice. Ninety percent of the world crop is grown and consumed in Asia. American consumption, although increasing, is still only about 25 lb (11 kg) per person annually, as compared with 200 to 400 lb (90 181 kg) per person in parts of Asia. Rice is the only major cereal crop that is primarily consumed by humans directly as harvested, and only wheat and corn are produced in comparable quantity. Plant breeders at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, attempting to keep pace with demand from a burgeoning world population, have repeatedly developed improved varieties of "miracle rice" that allow farmers to increase crop yields substantially. Studies have shown that rice yields are adversely affected by warmer nighttime temperatures, leading to concerns about the effects that global warming may have on rice crops. Brown rice has a greater food value than white, since the outer brown coatings contain the proteins and minerals; the white endosperm is chiefly carbohydrate. As a food rice is low in fat and (compared with other cereal grains) in protein.

The miracle rices have grains richer in protein than the old varieties. In the East, rice is eaten with foods and sauces made from the, which supply lacking elements and prevent deficiency diseases. Elsewhere, especially in the United States, rice processing techniques have produced breakfast and snack foods for retail markets. Deficient in gluten, rice cannot be used to make bread unless its flour is mixed with flour made from other grains. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia,
6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. 2. The effect of rice on the global economy Rice is also the most important crop to millions of small farmers who grow it on millions of hectares throughout the region, and to the many landless workers who derive income from working on these farms. In the future, it is imperative that rice production continue to grow at least as rapidly as the population, if not faster. Rice research that develops new technologies for all farmers has a key role to play in meeting this need and contributing to global efforts directed at poverty alleviation.

Agricultural population densities on Asias rice producing lands are among the highest in the world and continue to increase at a remarkable rate. Rapid population growth puts increasing pressure on the already strained food-producing resources. The aggregate population of the less developed countries grew from 2. 3 billion in 1965 to 4. 4 billion in 1995. Asia accounted for 60% of the global population, about 92% of the worlds rice production, and 90% of global rice consumption. Even with rice providing 3580% of the total calories consumed in Asia and with a slowing of growth in total rice area, rice production more than kept up with demand in 2000. The largest producing countriesChina, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Thailand together account for more than three quarters of world rice production. The worlds annual rough rice production, however, will have to increase markedly over the next 30 years to keep up with population growth and income-induced demand for food.

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