The lives of billions of people in the least developed and developing countries depend on daily rice consumption. While in Asia rice has been the most essential staple food for approximately 8000 years already, more recently its consumption has become highly popular all around the world. Its importance is not going to diminish as it is estimated that due to population growth and higher calorie intake the demand for milled rice will rise by 25 percent from nearly 400 million tonnes in 2010 to more than 500 million tonnes in 2035, according to the Global Rice Science Partnership.

While rice cultivation is often associated with Asia, various types of rice grow in more than 80 countries around the globe. Most of these are smallholder farmers in the least developed and developing countries, who often receive only a very low share of the revenues that the global rice trade generates. Fairtrade has developed a Standard for rice and other cereals to enable these farmers to achieve a better deal for them and their families.

What Fairtrade Means for Rice Producers

In the case of rice, Fairtrade certifies exclusively small producer organizations. By supporting democratic organizations of small farmers, Fairtrade encourages a stronger, more unified voice for farmers in trade relations.

The Fairtrade Minimum Price, which aims to cover the average costs of sustainable production, acts as a safety net against an unpredictable market. A Fairtrade Premium above the selling price is invested in community business and development projects. Read more

General Rice Facts

  • Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice). Of these species, different variations can be grown either as deepwater of upland rice.
  • Almost 90 percent of rice is produced and consumed in Asia. However, it is also has become an important staple food in the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and the Pacific.
  • India and China are the biggest rice producing and consuming countries. At the same time, China is the largest importer and India is the largest exporter of rice.
  • The other major exporting countries are Thailand, Vietnam, the United States, and Pakistan.
  • Across countries, many different measurements exist to weigh rice: for instance, bushel, maund and seer in Bangladesh; picul in Cambodia, and seok in South Korea.

Where to Buy

Fairtrade rice is available in many markets. If you can’t find it, talk to you local grocer or get in touch with your local Fairtrade organization by checking out Fairtrade Near You or select one of the countries in blue on the map below.

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