Rice is an edible grain grown from the Asian rice or African rice plants and there are about 40,000 different varieties available. Rice is the most important staple food throughout much of the world, but it is especially important in Asia where it was first domesticated. It is second only to maize (corn) in terms of worldwide production, and the largest producers of rice include China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh. The largest non-Asian producer of rice is Brazil. Have you ever wondered how this important food is grown and harvested? Keep reading to find out.
How is rice grown?
Rice is grown in two main ways. The first is growing rice in a flooded field, commonly known as a paddy. These paddys can be artificially constructed with a levy system or in naturally low areas and wetlands. They are plowed, fertilized and then flooded ready for the rice to be planted. The farmers grow the seeds in seedbeds and transfer the plants to the paddy after about 30-50 days. The paddys are constantly kept in a flooded state.
For the second method the rice is planted directly in the ground and the ground is watered often, but not flooded. Only certain varieties of rice will grow under these conditions and this method is used far less often.
How is rice harvested?
The rice is ready to harvest somewhere between 3-6 months depending on the variety. The first step in harvesting rice is to drain the area and allow it to dry. The next step is to harvest the rice and this is usually done by hand. The rice is then allowed to dry so that it is ready for threshing. In this process the edible parts of the rice is separated from the inedible portion. This can be done by hand, by having an animal walk on the grain or with a machine. The rice is then sent for further processing. Harvesting and threshing rice by hand is labor intensive and farmers often employ a number of people to help with these stages.
The following video shows rice being threshed by hand.