Rice is a staple food of South Asia and its cultivation is a major employer. A wide range of growing methods have evolved all over South Asia which easily matches its diverse range of uses as a food. There are some surprising facts about rice too, from cosmetics and crafts to medicines and mythology.
Photograph showing two ladies standing in a rice paddyfield.
Green Revolution
Thanks to the Green Revolution, world rice production increased from 215 million tonnes in 1961 to 590 million tonnes in 2003.
Not just a paddy crop
Different methods of rice cultivation have evolved in different regions according to their climate and geography. A remarkable type known as 'deep-water rice' is grown in flood-prone Bangadesh.
Golden rice
Special varieties of 'golden rice' are being genetically modified so they contain chemicals that are claimed to reduce vitamin A deficiencies in developing countries. Some experts question its role.
Annapurna is the Hindu god of rice. Her name comes from the Sanskrit word for rice, anna. She is often depicted with a rice spoon in her hand.