Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wet rice cultivation

WET RICE CULTIVATION
Rice is a very important food crop that is the staple diet of at least half of the world's population. Rice is mostly eaten in Asia, where 90 percent of the world's rice is grown. Outside Asia, the main rice-growing countries are Egypt, Italy, Spain, Brazil and the United States of America.

There are many varieties of rice. Most of the rice grown in Asia is wet rice. Wet rice cultivation is the growing of rice in flooded fields. Wet rice is known as padi in malay. The hot and wet climate in many parts of Asia makes it suitable for wet rice cultivation. This is because rice seeds require high temperatures to grow. Moreover, the high rainfall provides abundant water to flood the fields as padi needs a lot of water to grow.

There are several stages of wet rice cultivation:

The padi fields are first ploughed with the help of animals or tractors. The fields are then flooded with water channelled from rivers or obtained from direct rainfall. Meanwhile, padi seeds are scattered onto a smaller field called a nursery, where they sprout into seedlings.






After three to six months, the padi is ready for harvest. The fields are drained and the padi is harvested by hand using sickles. After three to four weeks, the seedlings are transplanted, that is, moved and planted into the flooded fields. The fields are regularly weeded and fertilisers are added.

CHARACTERISTICS OF WET RICE CULTIVATION:
Purpose:
-Traditionally, wet rice cultivation is a form of subsistence agriculture. Today, wet rice cultivation is also practiced as commercial agriculture. Some countries produce enough rice to sell overseas. An example of a major rice-exporting country is thailand.

Inputs:
-Land: Flat land with clayey soil is the most ideal for wet rice cultivation as this can help retain water. In hilly places in the philippines and Indonesia, steps are cut into the hill slopes to create terraces (flat land) for growing rice.
The size of the farm is generally small. In countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, the size of the plot is usually no more than 2 hectares (equivalent to the size of three football fields).

-Capital: Wet rice cultivation traditionally does not require large amounts of capital. In the past, little machinery was used as family members provided the labour. Sickles and wooden ploughs were mainly used. Also, the seeds for cultivation were saved from the previous harvest. Today, more inputs are used. Machinery such as tractors are used for ploughing, and combine harvesters for harvesting. Governments and research institutes spend more money on research to develop better seeds, pesticides and fertilisers. Canals are also built for irrigating the fields

-Labour: Wet rice cultivation requires much labour. The farmer's families or hired workers usually provide this labour. Farmers work hard to flood the fields by building low walls called bunds. Planting, weeding, and application of fertilisers are usually done by hand. Animals such ad water buffaloes may be used to help plough the land.

Produce:
-The output per unit are of the farm is generally high. Since the 1960s, newer varieties of wet rice have been developed. These varieties take a shorter time to mature and can produce more output per hectare. They are also more resistant to diseases and pests.

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