Rice is the seed of two grass species of the family Oryza, one from Asia and one from Africa. Rice is one of the most widely consumed grains in the world and a substantial portion of the diet of many Asian countries, where it is grown extensively.
Rice has been cultivated for centuries, even though it is very labor-intensive and requires substantial water and warm, humid weather conditions to grow. The most common method of cultivating rice is to flood fields (often called paddies) with water after sowing seed to provide hydration and deter pests and weeds. Rice can be grown practically anywhere where weather conditions are appropriate, even on a steep hill or mountain with the use of water-controlling terraces. Worldwide, rice is the agricultural commodity with the third-highest worldwide production, with about 761.5 million tonnes (1,000 kilograms) produced in 2018.
Rice is produced in about 120 countries worldwide, but China (about 214 million tonnes) and India (about 173 million tonnes) together account for more than 50 percent of both rice production globally. Nine of the top 10 and 13 of the top 20 rice-producing countries in the world are in southeast Asia.
In the United States, rice production historically was centered on the lowland counties of South Carolina and Georgia. However, in the modern era, most American rice is produced in the Mississippi valley in the states of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.