Two species of rice are considered important as food species for humans: Oryza sativa, grown worldwide; and Oryza glaberrima, grown in parts of West Africa. Both of these belong to a bigger group of plants (the genus Oryza) that includes about 20 other species.

The origins of rice have long been debated. The plant is of such antiquity that the exact time and place of its first development will perhaps never be known. It is certain however that domestication of rice ranks as one of the most important developments in history. Rice has fed more people over a longer period than has any other crop.

Rice plant remains from 10,000 B.C. were discovered in Spirit Cave on the Thailand-Burma border. In China, extensive archeological evidence points to the middle Yangtze and upper Huai rivers as the two earliest places Oryza sativa was cultivated in the country. Rice and related farming implements dating back at least 8,000 years were found there and rice cultivation seems to have spread down these rivers over the following 2,000 years. 

From early, perhaps separate beginnings in different parts of Asia, the process of diffusion has carried rice in all directions and today it is cultivated on every continent except Antarctica. Within the last 2,000 years, dispersal and cultivation of rice varieties in new habitats have further accelerated the diversification process. Today thousands of rice varieties are grown in more than 100 countries.

Rice is rich in nutrients and contains a number of vitamins and minerals. It is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates—the best source of energy. Rice is the most important food crop of the developing world and the staple food of more than half of the world's population, many of whom are also extremely vulnerable to high rice prices. Worldwide, more than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for more than 20% of their daily calories.

Rice consumption can be very high, exceeding 100kg per capita annually in many Asian countries. For about 520 million people in Asia, rice provides more than 50% of the caloric supply. In sub-Saharan Africa, urban dwellers who only a few decades ago rarely ate rice now consume it daily. Per capita consumption has doubled since 1970 to 27kg. In South America, average per capita consumption of rice is 45kg, in the Caribbean it has already risen to over 70kg.

Rice in Burma (Myanmar)

Rice is a major agricultural crop in Burma (Myanmar), grown in more than half of its arable land. In 2011 production was approximately 32.80 million metric tons (FAOSTAT), of which about 1 million was exported. Rice is often grown in rotation with legumes and other crops, and considerable potential exists for diversification of rice-based cropping systems.

The major rice-producing regions are in the delta, including Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady), Bago (Pegu), Rangoon (Yangon), and Mon State. These four areas make up more than half of the monsoon crop. Myanmar's major rice ecosystems include rain-fed lowland rice, deep-water submerged rice, irrigated lowland rice, and rain-fed upland rice.

Burmese (Myanmar) rice - White long grain rice (Emata) and Paw San rice (Pearl Paw San) - have been exported to South East Asia, Europe and Africa for many years. The average size of Emata is 5.80mm to 6.50mm and we supply a variety of qualities. Paw San rice was awarded “The World’s Best Rice” in 2011 at the world rice conference. Pearl Paw San (Premium and Super Premium quality) is famous for its aroma, flavour and elongation characteristics.