The journey of rice
The Journey of RiceWarm, comforting and delicious rice – is there anything better? But how often do we stop to think of the journey these grains have taken before they become a part of our meal? Let us take a look at this humble grain’s journey from paddy to plate…
Offering a diverse range of products to suit every taste bud, Spekko Rice is sourced from only the highest quality farms in Thailand, Uruguay and the Himalayas! As the majority of products are sourced from Thailand, one of the largest farmers of rice in the world, let’s take a look at how this grain is harvested in that area.
Rice is grown in all regions of Thailand with over 50% of their farmlands devoted to the trade. The journey of rice begins by first nurturing a seedling for 30 days in a nursery before transplanting it into the rice fields. From plantation to harvesting the process takes around 120 days to ensure the grain has fully matured and is ready for us to eat.
Once planted, fertilization starts to take place and results in the plant sprouting numerous grains that turn a golden brown colour and are referred to as a ‘paddy grain’. While the plants continue to grow, the fields are flooded with water to give the grains the moisture they need to fully develop. Thailand’s tropical climate is ideal for rice cultivation as the rainy season and tropical monsoons give these plants the large amount of water they need. Once they have matured, the water is drained off and then it’s harvest time!
Although some farms use machines to harvest, manual harvesting has long been favoured, particularly in Thailand, as it can allow for a finer threshing of the grain. Threshing is the harvesting process where farm workers use sickles to separate the grain from the stems of the plant. Once this is completed you are left with grains of rice.
However, the rice is not yet ready to be consumed! The grains first need to be dried as otherwise they will quickly spoil. Once dry, they are stored in a variety of ways. In Thailand, they are stored in rice barns which are built on stilts to ensure the grains remain dry if flooding occurs. From there, the rice undergoes milling which involves removing the husk (a covering that protects the grain), a process that is done by hand in Thailand through pounding the grains in a wooden bowl. Under the husk is a bran layer which is left on for brown rice or removed for white rice.
The rice is now a finished product ready to be dispatched to South Africa. Packed onto container ships, it is shipped from Bangkok where nine million tons of rice are exported to Africa annually. It then travels across the Indian ocean and arrives at its designated harbour in South Africa ready to be collected, packaged and put onto shelves ready for you to purchase and enjoy.
According to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), 90% of the world’s rice is cultivated in Asia and across the world there are over 160 million hectares of rice fields producing nearly 700 million tons of rice per year. Not surprisingly, around a fifth of the world’s population relies on rice cultivation for their livelihoods.
In South Africa, Pioneer Foods has a proud history of providing foods of the highest quality to our families since 1997. As part of this loved stable, Spekko Rice has ensured that we consistently enjoy superior rice sourced only from the most reliable suppliers.
So next time you sit down to a helping of your favourite Spekko rice, spare a thought for the long journey it has taken to get to you and the care taken to ensure you always receive top quality, delicious and Spekkotacular rice!