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Rice accounts for 80 percent of the average dietary intake for 3.65 billion people.

In Southeast Asia, where the most widely grown types were first domesticated, its reign is undisputed. It’s the primary food, fundamental to millions of livelihoods and deeply rooted in every culture. At the same time, rice is also a global crop.

In Latin America it features in nearly all cuisines and is grown wherever environments are suitable. Farmers in parts of Africa also cultivate rice with Asian ancestry, while elsewhere wholly African types, domesticated separately here, are favored. In recent times breeders have brought the two families together to create better varieties for African farms.

The images here will show some of the multitude of different ways and environments in which rice is grown. Though it’s an ancient art, rice farming is always an exercise in innovation, and our photographers will meet some of its masterminds.

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