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May 2024

The 10 Countries That Produce the Most Rice in the World

Written by Patrick MacFarland

More than 50% of the world’s population relies on rice as a staple. Rice is a cereal grain first domesticated in China around 11,000 years ago. African rice was domesticated around 3,000 years ago. Without rice, many people would be facing starvation of some kind. There are many cultures throughout the world, from Asia to Africa and Latin America that rely on this staple food. Although rice is guilty of causing about 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is still important for entire countries’ economies and cultures. We see rice as an important part of culture — whether it is in Spanish paella, Mexican rice, Japanese sushi, or Italian risotto. But what countries produce the most rice? Let’s take a look at the 10 countries that produce the most rice in the world.

10. Cambodia
The Cambodia rice field. The fresh rice field in Asia.
Cambodia produces nearly 6 million metric tons of rice per year.©Sengly Hong/iStock via Getty Images

The country of Cambodia, like others in the Southeast Asian region, relies heavily on the production of rice. There are around 8 million acres of land that are wholly dedicated to rice farming. The majority of Cambodia’s labor force also works in the rice sector.

9. Japan
Japanese Steamed Rice
Japan produces about 7 million metric tons of rice every year.©kaorinne/iStock via Getty Images

One of the country’s most important staples, rice farming is extremely important for not only the Japanese economy but also its history and culture. There are usually two seasons for rice cultivation, one in the spring and one in autumn. Japan has a long history of rice cultivation, starting around 6,000 years ago.

8. Myanmar
Selling rice at market in Yangon, Myanmar
Myanmar produces nearly 12 million metric tons of rice per year.©bluesky85/iStock via Getty Images

The Southeast Asian country is lucky that every area is a perfect land space for growing rice. Nearly 50% of the agricultural production of Myanmar is just rice. About 30 million acres of land are used to cultivate rice in the country. Furthermore, the prime locations for rice farming are near the Bago, Yangon, and Ayeyarwady deltas.

7. Philippines
Popular Filino Food Pork Lechon, Steamed Rice with Bagoong sauce
The Philippines produces about 12 million metric tons of rice every year.©bugking88/iStock via Getty Images

Like the other Asian countries on this list, the Philippines is no different. The country relies on rice production as an important part of the nation’s economy. It accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s rice production. Moreover, the areas where rice is mainly farmed are in Luzon, Central Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and the Western Visayas. More than 2 million farmers work in the rice farming sector.

6. Thailand
Lifestyle of Asian concept. Farmers farming on meadow terraces. Farmers shaking the soil from the seedlings of jasmine rice. The rice field countryside Thailand
Thailand produces nearly 21 million metric tons of rice per year.©Thirawatana Phaisalratana/iStock via Getty Images

Rice is a significant part of Thailand’s economy and even its labor population. There are roughly 40% of Thai people that work in the agricultural sector and about 16 million are dedicated to Rice farming. This history with rice stems back centuries, although, until the 1960s, only peasants farmed rice. In recent years, nonprofit organizations have worked with Thai rice farms to produce more climate-friendly rice.

5. Vietnam
Rice fields on terraced of Mu Cang Chai, YenBai, Vietnam
Vietnam produces about 27 million metric tons of rice per year.©wiratgasem/iStock via Getty Images

The country of Vietnam is one of the largest exporters, consumers, and producers of rice. Vietnamese people heavily rely on rice as a staple food. Moreover, about 81 million acres of land are dedicated to rice farming. The regions around the Red River and Mekong deltas are rampant with rice farms. Furthermore, these regions have provided a robust bloodline to Vietnam’s economy.

4. Indonesia
Rice field workers in Indonesia
Indonesia produces 34 million metric tons of rice per year.©SAKDAWUT14/iStock via Getty Images

An important part of Indonesia’s economy, rice plays a crucial role in Indonesians’ diets. Over 50% of the calories that Indonesians intake are because of rice. More than 100 million people rely on rice for their diet, pairing it perfectly with many dishes. Over the years, Indonesia has increased rice production and they are now the fourth-largest producer of rice in the world.

3. Bangladesh
Scenery of flooded rice paddies in Bangladesh
Bangladesh produces about 36 million metric tons of rice per year.©Trail Sun/iStock via Getty Images

Because rice production in the country is an important part of the economy, Bangladesh has dedicated 75% of its land to rice farming. Over the past few decades, rice production has increased substantially. Usually, Bangladeshi farmers will harvest several crops when they are not cultivating rice so that they can take advantage of the farmland.

2. India
assorted indian dish
India produces 135 million metric tons of rice and is the biggest exporter of the staple crop.©margouillatphotos/iStock via Getty Images

The country has a long history with the staple crop and has increased production over time. It more than doubled from 1980 to 2020. Usually, the areas where rice farming is dominant either where it rains more like the western and eastern coastal areas, or the regions next to deltas. Unfortunately, in the recent fiscal year, rice production in India has dropped significantly, prompting the government to take action.

1. China
Top View of Longji Rice Terrace
China produces 146 million metric tons of rice, and about 65% of its population relies on it.©ftgipsy/iStock via Getty Images

Chinese farmers started domesticating rice 11,000 years ago in the Yunnan-Guizhou highlands and regions surrounding the Yangtze River. Since then, it has become an important staple food for Chinese people. The country produces about 30% of the world’s total rice production. Furthermore, about 74 million acres of land are dedicated just to rice farming. Because of the methane released into the air, Chinese farmers have tried out various techniques to reduce the amount of methane and reduce the amount of water when producing rice. QR Code

Published Date: March 12, 2024

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