Guyana is one of the top producers of rice in the Caribbean, and GBTI supports much of its agriculture through its loan services. In fact, GBTI has emerged as a leader in agricultural lending in Guyana, where agriculture is a key part of the overall economy. Rice is a staple food across a number of different cultures, yet few people understand how the crop is grown. As a staple food around the world, rice feeds more people than any other crop, so it is important to understand what makes this food so popular, from the ease of growing it to its nutritional value. The following are some interesting facts about rice:
1. All rice originates as brown rice.
While some people may think that brown and white rice are difference parts of the same plant, this is not a correct assumption. In reality, all rice starts out as brown rice, which is considered a whole grain since it has a bran, germ, and an endosperm. White rice results from removing the husk, bran, and germ of each grain. In addition, white rice is typically polished after this process, which makes it appear more uniform and palatable. Often, white rice is fortified with key nutrients such as iron and calcium. Brown rice has more protein than white rice, as well as large amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fat.
2. More than half the world consumes rice as a staple food.
Around the world, people consume rice in massive quantities. For example, in Asia, the typical person eats about 300 pounds of rice each year. However, people in Asia are not the largest consumers of rice. In the United Arab Emirates, the average person consumes 450 pounds of rice each year. Americans tend to eat over 20 pounds of rice on an annual basis. One of the countries in which individuals eat the least amount of rice is France, where the average person consumes an average of 10 pounds of rice per year.
3. Rice requires more cultivation than corn and wheat.
Aside from rice,the primary staple foods are corn and wheat. Rice actually requires more effort to grow than these other two foods. Farms grow rice from seeds in different beds. Once seedlings start to appear, the plants are relocated to flooded rice paddies, where they can finish growing. The plants can be grown on any continent except Antarctica, where the climate is too cold. Cultivating rice requires a large amount of water, as well as labor. Rice harvests occur once a year. The actual techniques involved in rice farming vary quite a bit between the East and West. In the West, lasers level the land, and airplanes are used to drop seeds. In the East, animals are used to plough fields, and the seeds are often planted by hand.
4. Rice is one of the oldest-known foods.
Archaeologists trace the consumption of rice back to about 2,000 BCE in China, which makes it the oldest-known food that is still widely consumed today. Moreover, cultivation first began throughout China, India, and Thailand in about 5,000 BCE. Merchants most likely carried the crop to the West, where it also became a popular crop. However, cultivation has always been more widespread in Asia than in other parts of the world. In India, Japan, and Thailand, rice is closely associated with specific goods, which made it an important part of the daily diet.
5. Farmers classify rice according to the variety and type.
In general, there are three different types of rice: short-, medium-, and long-grain varieties. Historically, long-grain rice has been considered the best option because it does not easily clump. In terms of variety, more than 40,000 kinds exist. In the West, people tend to prefer aromatic varieties such as Basmati and Thai Jasmine, although Italian Arborio has also become popular because it is used in risottos. Some varieties are considered to have a natural sweetness and are thus used in puddings, as well as other desserts such as cake. Basmati rice is considered the most fragrant variety in the world, and it is produced primarily in the Himalayas between Pakistan and India.
6. The Guinness World Records has a record for the largest bowl of rice.
Currently, the Guinness World Records recognizes a bowl of rice weighing 6,944 pounds produced by the Turkey Culinary Federation as the largest ever produced. In 2015, 300 cooks in China teamed up to break this record, and they collectively made a bowl of Yeung Chow fried rice that weighed 9,242 pounds. Unfortunately, the bowl of rice was deemed unfit for human consumption. Guinness ruled that the entirety of the bowl of rice needed to be edible in order to qualify for the record.
7. Sticky rice holds the Great Wall of China together.
The Great Wall of China was built in the 15th and 16th centuries under the Ming dynasty. During construction, workers used rice mixed with calcium carbonate as a sort of mortar to hold the stones in the wall together. Remarkably, this mortar still holds strong, although anyone who has had to scrape caked rice from the bottom of a pot is probably not surprised by this fact.