MapsWho eats the most rice?by Andrew NelsonO n average, each person in the world consumes more than 50 kilograms of rice a year.1 But, this average hides themassive variability in consumptionpatterns around the world. The map(Fig. 1) shows an unusual view of theworld 2 in which each territory has beendistorted based on the proportion ofthe world’s rice that is consumed there.The coloring in the map represents theconsumption per capita, so the mapshows two key pieces of informationthat dictate rice consumption patterns. Asia has a large share of theworld’s population and has high ratesof consumption. China and Indiaalone account for more than 50% ofthe world’s rice consumption (Fig. 2).But, they are by no means the highestconsumers per capita (see Table).Higher rates are found in much ofSouth and Southeast Asia, West Africa,Madagascar, and Guyana. Severalof these countries have per capita Kg/capita/yrconsumption rates over 100 kilograms Fig. 1. Territory size represents the proportion of milled rice worldwide that is consumed in that territory. < 12 12–36 36–72 72–120 >120 Color shows the per capita consumption of milled rice. Inset map shows a more traditional representation.per year, and Brunei tops the table atmore than 20 kilograms per capita permonth, compared with rates in Europeof less than 0.5 kilogram per month. Rest of the world (1.1%) Although per capita consumption Top 20 per capita rice-consuming countries. Fig. 2. Proportion (%) of the Americas (4.9%) worlds milled rice consumedhas always been high in Asia, it has in each region. Africa (7.3%)more than doubled in the rest of the Brunei Darussalam 245 Sri Lanka 97world over the last 50 years.3 As we China (28.7%) Vietnam 166 Guinea 95approach a world population of 7billion, these geographic trends in rice Laos 163 Sierra Leone 92consumption reveal new challenges and Bangladesh 160 Guinea-Bissau 85opportunities for rice production around Rest of Asia (15.7%)the world. Myanmar 157 Guyana 81 Cambodia 152 Nepal 78 Philippines 129 Korea, DPR 77 Indonesia 125 China 77 Vietnam (4.0%) Thailand 103 Malaysia 771 Food supply quantity data, FAOSTAT, http://snipurl. com/fao_stat. Madagascar 102 Korea, Republic of 76 Bangladesh (6.5%)2 See www.worldmapper.org for more examples of cartograms in which territories are re-sized on each map Source: FAOSTAT - http://faostat.fao.org/site/609/DesktopDefault.aspx?PageID=609#ancor India (23.6%) according to the subject of interest. Indonesia (8.2%)3 FAOSTAT (2010).44 Rice Today October-December 2011 Rice Today October-December 2011 45
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