exact origin of rice will perhaps
never be known. However, it is
certain that domestication of
rice ranks as one of the most
important developments in history.
It has fed more people over a
longer period than has any other
evidence suggests the early
origin of cultivated rice in
the Asian arc. In several Asian
languages, the general terms
for rice and food, or for rice
and agriculture, are synonymous.
references are made to rice
in both Hindu and Buddhist scriptures.
In both the religions, rice
is used as a major offering
to the gods. This proves the
longevity of rice as a staple
item of the diet.
have found evidence that rice
was an important food in Mohenjo-Daro
as early as 2500 B.C. and in
the Yangtze Basin in the late
Neolithic period (Chang 1967a).
Rice and related farming implements
dating back at least 8,000 years
were found there and rice cultivation
seems to have spread down the
rivers over the following 2,000
shards bearing the imprint of
both grains and husks of rice
were discovered at the Korat
area of Thailand. This is the
earliest and most convincing
archeological evidence for domestication
of rice. These remains date
back to at least 4000 B.C.
not only pushes back the documented
origin of cultivated rice but,
when viewed in conjunction with
plant remains from 10,000 B.C.
discovered in Spirit Cave on
the Thailand-Myanmar border,
suggests that agriculture itself
may be older than was previously
from diverse 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. Thousands
of rice varieties are grown
in more than 100 countries.