Rice is the second highest worldwide production after maize (corn). Since maize is
mostly grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important
grain for human consumption. It provides more than one-fifth of the calories consumed
worldwide by humans. There are more than 40,000 varieties of rice that grow on every
continent except on Antarctica.
Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African
rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large
part of the world's human population, especially in Asia. It is the agricultural
commodity with the third-highest worldwide production (rice, 741.5 million tonnes in
2014), after sugarcane (1.9 billion tonnes) and maize (1.0 billion tonnes).