India is the world’s largest exporter of rice. Rice is such an integral part of many cultures that some countries even credit the development of their civilizations to the cultivation of rice. It is the staple food for over half of the world’s population and is the world’s most-consumed cereal after wheat. It accounts for over 50 per cent of the daily calories ingested by over half of the world population. Not only has rice been of great importance in the past, but its value and use remain considerable even today. Rice is the most rapidly-growing source of food in Africa, and it is of great significance to food security in an increasing number of low-income food-deficit countries.
Each year, close to 700 million tonnes of paddy [450 million tonnes of milled rice] is produced, with over 90% of the production concentrated in Asia, given the favorable climatic conditions and the relatively lower costs of production. China and India account for almost two-thirds of this production with Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Myanmar making up the balance. International trade in rice is only around 30 million tonnes with Africa and Asia making up for over 85% of the internationally traded rice volume.