Thailand wins award for world’s best rice

The U.S. Rice Traders Association loves the taste of Thai rice. The Association bestowed its World’s Best Rice Award on “Hom Mali,” the Kingdom’s signature premium strain, also known as Jasmine Fragrant rice, for the second-consecutive year last week.

There are roughly 3,500 varieties of rice in Thailand ranging from local wild rice varieties to newly created ones. Hom Mali is widely regarded as the highest quality for its soft texture, delicate aroma and sumptuous taste.

Thailand has won the World’s Best Rice Award seven times. The Kingdom is always among the world’s largest exporters of the grain and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) uses Thailand’s standard grade B white rice as its benchmark for world rice prices.

Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit said that credit for the award should go to many sectors.

“This award is a shared accomplishment of farmers, agricultural associations, exporters and government agencies, especially the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and the Commerce Ministry,” said Jurin.

While the West loves wheat, rice is the staple food throughout Asia and integral to diets in several continents. The grain is entwined with the health, food security, livelihoods and the culture of many countries, and especially in Thailand.

Reverence for rice itself predates Buddhism’s arrival in Southeast Asia. Some Thais still honor Mae Posop, the “Rice Mother” or “Rice Goddess,” and a common saying is “rice is life.” For some, rice is still sacred and if spilled, they will carefully pick up each grain.

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