Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
Australia Medium Grain Rice #1 $ N/A    Egypt 101 #2 $760    Egypt 178 #2 Rice $730    EU Prices Baldo €660    EU Prices LG-A Ariete 5% €550    EU Prices MG Lotto 5% €500    EU Prices RG Balilla 5% €500    Russia Rapan $ 700    USA Jupiter Paddy $375    USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480    USA Jupiter Rice $630    USA Calrose #1 $830   

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What is Rice
From an early beginning somewhere in the Asian arc, the process of diffusion has carried rice in all directions until today it is cultivated on every continent save Antarctica. In this early hearth area, rice was grown in forest clearing under a system of shifting cultivation. The crop was grown by direct seeding and without standing water. Rice was grown on "farms" under conditions only slightly different from those to which wild rice was subject. A similar but independent pattern of the incorporation of wild rices into an agricultural system may well have taken place in one or more locations in Africa at approximately the same time. It was in China that the processes of puddling soil and transplanting seedlings were likely refined. Both operations became integral pats of rice farming and remain very widely practiced to this day. Puddling breaks down the internal structure of soils, making them much less subject to water loss through percolation. In this respect, it can be thought of as a way of extending the utility of a limited supply of water. Transplanting is the planting of 1- to 6- wk-old seedlings in standing water. Under these conditions, the rice plants have an important head start over a very wide range of competing weeds, which leads to higher yields. Transplanting, like puddling, provides the farmer with the ability to better accommodate the rice crop to a finite and fickle water supply by shortening the field duration (since seedlings are grown separately, and a higher density) and adjusting the planting calendar.

With the development of puddling and transplanting, rice became truly domesticated. In China, the history of rice in river valleys and low-lying areas is longer that its history as a dryland crop. In Southeast Asia, by contrast, rice was originally produced under dryland conditions in the uplands, and only recently did it come to occupy the vast river deltas. Migrant peoples from South China or perhaps northern Vietnam carried the traditions of wetland rice cultivation to the Philippines during the second millennium B.C., and Deutero-Malays carried the practice to Indonesia about 1500 B.C. From China or Korea, the crop was introduced to Japan no later than 100 B.C.

Movement to western India and south to Sri Lanka was also accomplished very early. The date of 2500 B.C. has already been mentioned for Mohenjo-Daro, while in Sri Lanka, rice was a major crop as early as 1000 B.C. The crop may well have been introduced to Greece and neighboring areas of the Mediterranean by the returning members of Alexander the Great's expedition to India ca. 344-324 B.C. From a center in Greece and Sicily, rice spread gradually throughout the southern portions of Europe and to a few locations in North Africa.

Interestingly enough, medical geographers in the 16th century played an important role in limiting the adoption of rice as a major crop in the Mediterranean area. During the 16th and early 17th centuries, malaria was a major disease in southern Europe, and it was believed to be spread by the bad air (hence the origin of the name) of swampy areas. Major drainage projects were undertaken in southern Italy, and wetland rice cultivation was discouraged in some regions. In fact, it was actually forbidden on the outskirts of a number of large towns. Such measures were a significant barrier to the diffusion of rice in Europe.

The suspicion that ricefields cased "mal-air" did not entirely disappear with the end of the Renaissance. In late 1988, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation both issued reports on the "greenhouse effect" They agreed that there has already been some warming of the earth; that irrespective of whatever action governments may take, the world is destined for a further temperature increase of at least 2 oC; and that without strong human intervention the increase may be much greater. The greenhouse effect is caused in large part by the release, though human activity, of certain gases that dirty the atmospheric window and prevent the escape of the earth's heat to outer space.

Carbon dioxide has long been the prime suspect, but it is now known that, molecule for molecule, methane traps 20 times more energy. Both reports also agree that methane concentrations are increasing at the rate of approximately 1%/yr. A major methane source, perhaps even the largest of all, is flooded riceland. Not only do methane-producing bacteria thrive in such an environment, but rice plants themselves act as gas vents, putting greater-than-expected concentrations into the atmosphere. The problem is, of course, magnified by the extension of rice area, by the expansion of irrigation facilities, and especially by the enlargement of double-cropped rice areas. Ricefields are suspected of putting 115 million t of methane into the atmosphere each year. This is at least equal to the total production from all of the world's natural swamps and wetlands. Is it possible that agricultural intensification is hastening environmental degradation? Were the 16th century geographers on the right track after all?

As a result of Europe's great Age of Exploration, new lands to the west became available for exploitation. Rice cultivation was introduced to the New World by early European settlers. The Portuguese carried it to Brazil, and the Spanish introduced its cultivation to several locations in Central and South America. The first record for North America dates from 1685, when the crop was produced on the coastal lowlands and island of what is now South Carolina. The crop may well have been carried to that area by slaves brought from Madagascar. Early in the 18th century, rice spread to Louisiana, but not until the 20th century was it produced in California's Sacramento Valley. The introduction in the latter area corresponded almost exactly with the timing of the first successful crop in Australia's New South Wales.

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Region Type Price  
Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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