Which country is the largest producer of rice?

Largest rice producers in Latin America

Rice is an indispensable food in the consumption basket of the world’s population, and particularly in the diet of Asians and Africans. Population growth and the consequent increase in basic food needs are driving its demand worldwide, making this a market not only with great potential but also with great challenges.

Technological development has had a considerable impact both on the evolution of rice production yields in the world and on varietal improvement. It has been possible to extend the area planted and improve the performance of irrigation systems in Asian countries. However, limitations have recently emerged: some stagnation in planting areas and yields, technological ceilings and new challenges: producing more with fewer resources when production increases at a slower rate than consumption.

World rice production reaches around 750 million tons per year (500 million tons of which correspond to milled rice). Ninety percent of production and consumption is concentrated in Asia.

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Rice producing countries in Latin America

Rice is the second most consumed cereal in the world; production is geographically concentrated and more than 85% comes from Asia. Just seven Asian countries (China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand) produce and consume 80% of the world’s rice.

World paddy rice production in 2005 was 628 million tons. China is the largest producer with 28% of the total volume, followed by India with 22%, Indonesia with 9%, Bangladesh and Vietnam with 6%, Thailand with 5%, Myanmar with 4% and other countries with 20%.

Data from this UN agency indicate that the increase will be mainly in Asia, with an estimated 643 million tons of grain, an increase of 29 million tons over 2009 figures.

According to the FAO price index, the grain went from 271 to 251 points since January 2009 and 2010, and last April it fell again to 206 points, which is detrimental to producers’ income.

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World’s largest wheat producer

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With a rice production of approximately 209.6 million tons, mainland China became the world’s leading rice producer in 2019. India and Indonesia, two other Asian countries, ranked second and third respectively. In fact, the ranking was monopolized by that continent, which is not surprising considering the import of this grain in their diet.

Why China is the largest rice producer

Among the top 3 food crops in the world, one is rice, while the other two are corn and wheat.  Together they provide about 42% of the caloric intake needed worldwide.

As for rice, in 2009, humans consumed 78% of what was produced and, for more than 3.5 billion of the world’s population, it constituted the staple food.  This means that it feeds at least half of the people on the planet.

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Of course, it is fairly easy to guess where the largest amount is produced.  In fact, it is the Asian countries that produce most of the world’s rice, but also in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, consumption and demand have increased significantly.