Ahead of wheat, corn and bananas Rice is the world's No.1 the most important food crop and dietary staple. For about 3 billion people, half of the world's population it is the chief source of food, and accounts for 20 percent of all the calories that mankind consumes. In Asia, 60 to 70 percent of calories consumed by more than 2 billion people rely on rice. If consumption rate continue by 2025 4.6 billion people will consume rice and to cope-up with the demand production must increase 20 percent.
Currently Japan is the 9th largest producer of rice in the world.
The rice seasons of Japan are:
· In Northern Japan - May–June to September–October.
· In central Japan - April–May to August–October.
· In southern Japan - April -May to August–September.
Out of 2.3 million farmers about 85% of them in Japan plant rice yearly. In almost all prefectures in the country improved varieties of japonica rice are grown. Koshihikari is the most widely planted variety. Intercropping with beans and peas altered in common.
History of rice in Japan:
Between the Final Jōmon and the Early Yayoi periods, Wet-field rice agriculture was introduced into Japan. For more than 3,000 years rice has been cultivated in Japan. From Korea and China this type of agriculture probably came to Japan. In Japanese history, society, and political economy, Rice occupies an emotional place. The rice farming is spread to the rest of Kyushu and to the other islands because of Japan's mild and humid climate is good for growing this crop.
Village leaders and other powerful people started building up large stores of rice to store rice since rice can be kept in storage. This storage of rice led to a gap between rich and poor.
Japan's leading producer of rice is Hokkaido. However since the rice grown there has a poor reputation, these days farmers are experimenting with new strains of rice. The new varieties for producing bland-tasting rice such as Yume Pirake changed the island's reputation. The predominant rice strain called Honohilari is grown in Kyushu. New strains such as Sagabiyori, known for retaining its flavor even in hot summer, and Genkitsukushi and Akihonami are being experimented by the farmers these days for more efficiency.
In Japan machines are mostly involved in the planting and harvesting is done. But in much of the world weeding, and maintaining the paddies and irrigation canals are still largely done by hand which are the main chores in agriculture. The plowing and preparing of the fields are done with the help of buffalo ploughing. To raise a crop on 2.5 acres of land around 1000 to 2000 man or women hours are required. The fact is that rice is so labor intensive which tends to keep a lot of the farming population on the land.
Since requiring lots of rain or irrigation water, Rice is also a water thirsty crop. The wet rice grown in most Asia is affected in many of the places, needs hot weather after a period of rain, conditions provided by the monsoons.
By adding no or little fertilizer rice farmers can often produce multiple crops a year often. Water provides a home for the nutrients and bacteria that enrich the soil. To increase its fertility of the soil often the remains of previous crops or the burned remains of previous crops are added to the soil.