How does rice get to your plate?

by Kirana Soerono

More than 3.5 billion people depend on rice for sustenance, and 90 percent of the global rice consumption comes from Asia. In many Asian cultures, rice is synonymous to food—it is considered that if one has not eaten rice, then one has not eaten at all. In Japanese, for example, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are described as asa gohanhiru gohan, and ban gohan respectively. All three meals share the term gohan—which means rice. The grain is an irreplaceable part of every meal.

Therefore, for many countries, rice shortages and the subsequent price increase—such as one caused by the 2007–2008 food crisis—would draw a panicked response. The grain has immense political importance that a good or terrible rice security policy could make or break a politician’s career. An important part of a nation leader’s job is to ensure that enough rice gets to everyone’s plates.

So, how does rice get to your plate?

Hi, my name is Oryza.

Harvested rice

Anatomy of a rice grain

Getting rice to your plate.
Step 1: Plant the rice

A woman works in a rice paddy field

Step 2: Sell the rice
Step 3: Procure and distribute the rice

A flowchart of the rice production process

Disclaimer: Our stories have been researched and fact-checked to the best of our abilities. Should you spot mistakes, inaccuracies, or have queries about our sources, please drop us an e-mail at
In collaboration with
Kirana Soerono / Freelance Writer

Kirana is a digital native with a passion for creative content strategy. She has over four years of PR and marketing experience spanning from a multinational corporation, an agile digital startup, to a creative agency. In her spare time, she binge-watches cat videos on the Internet—just like everybody else.

Illustration / Joceline Kuswanto
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