Rice is a staple food for approximately half of the world’s population, with four-fifths of rice being produced by small-scale farmers in developing countries. Europeans and Americans consume approximately 1-2% of their food energy from rice. However, the vast majority (90%) of rice is both produced and consumed in Asia.
Women play an important and often ignored role in rice cultivation, contributing approximately 25-60% of required labour in South-East Asia and up to 60–80% of labour in South Asia. As women are often involved in the planting, weeding, harvesting, processing and seed saving of rice, it is essential that they support the development of solutions to the challenges highlighted in this guide. Our feature on sustainable rice standards start to take the role of gender into account, but there is still a long way to go before women globally have equal access to technology and resources.
The UK market
The Mars-owned Uncle Ben’s brand dominates the UK market and accounts for 36% of sales and 69% of the total ad-spend in 2013. Tilda is also a key player and own-label brands account for a further third of the market.