Rice is found in different varieties, with each variety responding to certain species of weather and climate. In essence, rice has often been used by different civilizations to determine their degree of cultural influence over others. In the course of history, some communities have used Rice as a means of exchange by trading it with other material goods and services with other communities (Rost, 1997).For instance, the long-distance traders in West Africa and Central Africa relied on rice as a means of exchange during the Trans-Saharan trade. In terms of nutrition, rice is a carbohydrate that nourishes the energy requirement of humans at all ages. Its consumption varies in terms of accompaniments just as the cooking methods vary across communities and individuals. Modern agricultural systems have engaged in value addition practices meant to increase the nutritional value of rice. However, nutritionists have linked unbalanced consumption of rice to diseases such as pellagra and other diseases of malnutrition. Nevertheless, rice remains one of the most common and most important foods for the global population, times, cultures, and geographical spaces.The earliest consumption and cultivation of rice has been traced to the year 2500 B.C., (Chang, 2001). Historians have explored multiple sources of evidence, which show that rice was first cultivated and consumed in China. It was from China that this food commodity found its ways to places such as Sri Lanka and India (Rost, 1997). It remains imprecise as to the exact nature of influence and contacts that contributed to the spread of Rice from its original land to other geographical regions of the world.
Economical and Biological Importance of Rice