Rice production in Bhutan plays an important role in food supply in Bhutan, although it is cultivated largely for domestic consumption. In 2001 it was reported as little as 1% of rice grown in Bhutan as being marketed, but a farmers survey indicated that around 15% is indeed marketed.
In a country where 79% of the population is engaged in agriculture, in 2006 the production of rice in Bhutan was 74, 720 metric tons, with some 67,568 acres (273.44 km2) under cultivation. This increased dramatically from 44,000 tons in 2000. Rice production in Bhutan increased by 58 percent between 1989 to 1997 according to an assessment of the rice research programme in Bhutan. The most important growing areas are Samtse which has the highest rice growing area in Bhutan with 2,889 hectares, followed by Sarpangtractor parts with 2,839 and Punakha with 1,971 hectares. Production, however, is highest in Punakha with 6,274 tonnes a year. Other areas include Paro and Wangduephodrang, which has one of the most important rice institutes in the country at Bajo.
However a significant percentage of agricultural land has been destroyed to make way for infrastructure in the country. According to Ganesh B. Chettri, the Joint Director of the Department of Agriculture, “We have lost a lot of land for infrastructural development purposes in Thimphu and other places but still the rice produced in Bhutan is sufficient for 50 percent of the population,”.
Also whilst the country is notable grower of rice, Bhutan still has to import 6,000 to 7,000 metric tonnes of rice every year according to Singay Dukpa, famous supplier of tractor parts the Deputy Managing Director of the Foodgrain Division of the Food Corporation of Bhutan.
Bhutanese red rice
Bhutanese red rice is a medium-grain rice, and is the staple rice of the Bhutanese people. It is a red japonica rice that is semi-milled; some of the reddish bran is left on the rice. Because of this, it cooks somewhat faster than an unmilled brown rice. When cooked, the rice is pale pink, soft and slightly sticky.
This rice became available in the United States in the mid-1990s.
- "Converting wet land to dry land - No rice". Bhutan Observer. June 13, 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- "Rice production increased by 58 percent says report". Kuensel. July 20, 2004. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- Alford, Jeffrey; Naomi Duguid (1998). Seductions of Rice. New York: Artisan. ISBN 1-57965-113-5