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Thai Rice: From the Producers’ Heart to Consumers’ Hands

   Rice is a staple cereal that nurtures the lives of the Thai people and of more than half the world’s population. In economic terms, rice is a commodity ensuring prosperity and food security. In agriculture, rice is the second most cultivated cereal in the world, after wheat, and more than 90% of the world’s production is grown in Asia. In terms of civilisation, rice is fundamental to the culture of many Eastern countries, where the words “rice” and “food” are synonymous.
   From the high mountains of the North and the highlands of the Northeast to the central plains of the Chao Phraya River basin and the territories bordering the sea in the South, the diversity of ecosystems is the starting point of an evolution of tens of thousands of local rice varieties with different colours, shapes, flavours and value.
   Today, Thai rice farmers are still living on wisdoms accumulated since many generations before. Topped up with patience and determination in achieving the best rice yield that is environmentally-friendly.
   Additionally, the new trend of consumption, especially that of health improvement and non-toxic and environmentally friendly food, is another driving force from the emerging new group of consumers who want rice with special functions and high nutritional values. This demand, therefore, has prompted Thailand to maximise local production of quality rice such as organic and geographically indicated (GI) rice, in order to market then to consumers with high purchasing power and expand the variety of choices for being offered.