Global Rice Production. 7 Surprising Facts

Global Rice Production

7 Surprising Facts About Global Rice Production

Rice is one of the most important staple foods in the world, feeding more than half of the global population. But how much do you know about this versatile grain? Here are seven surprising facts about global rice production that you may not have heard before.

1. Rice is the second most produced cereal crop in the world, after corn

According to Statista, nearly 510 million metric tons of milled rice were produced worldwide in the last harvesting year. That’s enough rice to fill more than 200,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

2. China and India are the top two rice producers in the world, accounting for more than half of the global production

According to Our World in Data, China produced over 212 million metric tons of paddy rice in 2021, followed by India with over 169 million metric tons. These two countries also consume the most rice, with China consuming over 154 million metric tons and India consuming over 106 million metric tons in 2022/2023.

3. Rice is grown on every continent except Antarctica

Rice can adapt to a wide range of climates and soils, from tropical lowlands to temperate highlands. According to Statista, the global leading rice producing countries based on area harvested in 2021/2022 were China (30.6 million hectares), India (43.8 million hectares), Indonesia (11.9 million hectares), Bangladesh (11.5 million hectares), and Vietnam (7.6 million hectares).

4. Rice comes in many varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes

There are more than 40,000 different types of rice in the world, classified by grain length, color, aroma, texture, and cooking characteristics. Some of the most popular varieties include basmati, jasmine, arborio, sticky, wild, red, black, and brown rice.

5. Rice is more than just food

Rice has many uses beyond human consumption, such as animal feed, biofuel, paper, cosmetics, and medicine. Rice straw and husks can also be used as building materials, fertilizer, fuel, and bedding for animals.

6. Rice is a symbol of culture, religion, and art in many parts of the world

Rice has a long history and a deep connection with many civilizations and traditions. For example, rice is often thrown at weddings as a sign of fertility and prosperity; rice is offered to gods and ancestors as a gesture of respect and gratitude; rice is used to make intricate patterns and sculptures as a form of artistic expression.

7. Rice is a key crop for global food security and poverty reduction

Rice provides more than 20% of the calories consumed by humans worldwide. It is also a source of income and livelihood for millions of farmers and workers in developing countries. Improving rice production and quality can help reduce hunger, malnutrition, and environmental degradation.

Global Rice Production: Trends and Challenges

Rice is one of the most important staple foods in the world, feeding more than half of the global population. According to Statista, nearly 510 million metric tons of milled rice were produced worldwide in the last harvesting year. However, rice production faces several challenges, such as climate change, water scarcity, pests and diseases, and changing consumer preferences. In this blog post, we will examine some of the trends and challenges of global rice production, based on data from Our World in Data, Statista, and Visual Capitalist.

Rice Production by Region

The world’s rice production is concentrated in Asia, which accounts for about 90% of the total output. China and India are the leading producers, followed by Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. Together, these five countries produce more than 70% of the world’s milled rice. Africa is the second-largest rice producing region, but its share is only about 4% of the global total. Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, North America, and Oceania produce less than 2% each.

Rice Production by Country

The top 10 rice producing countries in the world are shown in the table below, based on data from Statista for the crop year 2021/2022.

CountryMilled Rice Production (million metric tons)

As we can see, China and India dominate the global rice production, with more than four times the output of the third-largest producer, Indonesia. However, their production growth rates have slowed down in recent years, due to factors such as land degradation, labor shortages, environmental regulations, and shifting dietary patterns. Meanwhile, some African countries, such as Nigeria, Tanzania, and Senegal, have increased their rice production significantly in recent years, thanks to improved varieties, irrigation systems, and government policies.

Rice Consumption and Trade

Rice consumption is also largely concentrated in Asia, where it is a staple food for many people. The top rice consuming countries are China, India, and Bangladesh in that order. In 2022/2023, China’s rice consumption amounted to over 154 million metric tons. However, per capita rice consumption has declined in some Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, due to changing lifestyles and preferences for other foods. On the other hand, per capita rice consumption has increased in some African and Latin American countries, where rice is becoming more popular as a cheap and convenient source of calories.

The global rice trade is relatively small compared to other grains, such as wheat and corn. This is because most rice is consumed domestically or regionally, and only about 10% of the global production is traded internationally. The main rice exporters are Thailand, India, Vietnam, Pakistan, and the United States. The main rice importers are China, Nigeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines.


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