Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or Oryza glaberrima (African rice), a monocot, is normally grown as an annual plant, although in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon crop for up to 30 years.

Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labour costs and high rainfall, as it is labour-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. However, rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain area with the use of water-controlling terrace systems. 95 percent of the world’s rice crop is eaten by humans.

Nigeria is the largest producer of Rice in West Africa and also the highest importer of it while India is the greatest exporter. The states majorly producing rice in Nigeria are Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Benue, Taraba and Borno.

Source: Businessday.ng

Types of Rice

Rice differs in various ways such as size, Aroma, texture, color, length and shape. The most common feature known to people is the length and shape.

Length and Shape

Rice is often characterized as one of three varieties – long grain, medium grain, or short grain rice. These varieties refer to the length and shape of the grain. Simply speaking, long grain rice will have a longer cylindrical shape, whereas short grain rice will be shorter and wider.

  • Long Grain Rice – This rice has milled grains that are at least three to four times as long as they are wide. Due to its starch composition, it is separate, light and fluffy when cooked.
  • Medium Grain Rice – When compared to long grain rice, medium grain rice has a shorter, wider kernel. Since the cooked grains are more moist and tender than long grain rice, the rice has a greater tendency to stick together.
  • Short Grain Rice – Featuring grains that are less than twice as long as they are wide, this rice is short and best for sushi. It has a sticky texture when cooked.

In terms of texture, there are Sticky grains, parboiled grains;

Colors include: Polished rice, brown rice, forbidden rice, wild rice; Aroma includes: Basmati Rice, Jasmine Rice.

Health Benefits of Eating Rice

Source: organicfacts.com
  • Provides Energy
  • Prevents Obesity
  • Gluten-free
  • Controls Blood Pressure
  • Prevents Cancer
  • Skin Care
  • May Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Diuretic & Digestive Qualities
  • Boosts Cardiovascular Health
  • Relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome

However, the use of rice is not limited to the eating of the grains. Rice can be used in various ways, for various reasons and this is the essence of this article: to talk about this plant that has several uses and importance outside of cooking Jollof rice or making sushi with it. It is known for the plethora of benefits that it imparts, becoming the reason it is often used in pet food, as an ingredient in cosmetics such as facial cleansers and moisturizers, and in dietary supplements and pills.

Other uses of the rice plant

Rice contains the grains, hull, stalk which are processed into rice flour, starch, wine, and rice water.


Rice Flour

Rice flour is a form of flour made from finely milled rice. It is distinct from rice starch, which is usually produced by steeping rice in lye. Rice flour is a common substitute for wheat flour. It is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation.

This is also useful in facial masks because Rice contains a great deal of para amino benzoic acid, ferulic acid and allantoin. Para amino benzoic acid serves as a good sunscreen and increases the absorption of Vitamin C in the body. Ferulic acid is an anti-oxidant and allantoin is inflammatory in natures and repairs the skin.


Ricehulls (or ricehusks) are the hard protecting coverings of grains of rice. In addition to protecting rice during the growing season, rice hulls can be put to use as building material, toothpaste, fireworks, beer, fertilizer, insulation material or fuel, pillow stuffing, Particle boards and cardboard.  Rice hulls are part of the chaff of the rice.


Source: Foodmagazine.com

Food processing industries with a focus on clean label products utilize rice starch in their product.

Rice starch can be used in a large number of applications, including baby foods and organic infant meals, ready-to-eat meals, soups & sauces, cereals and cereal bars, confectionery coatings and organic food products. Rice starch is made from rice grains. This starch can be used on fabrics too.


Rice straw can be used as a growth medium (Rice straw broth) for researchers cultivating or Isolating Microorganisms such as Bacteria, growing mushrooms, making fertilizers, feeding livestock,


Rice water is the starchy water obtained by draining boiled rice or just socking rice grains in water for 12-24 hours and draining out the grains. Hundreds of years ago, women from Japan were known for their beautiful long hair, too. The interesting thing about it is that they had something in common with the women of the Red Yao tribe, they were also using rice water to wash their hair.

While it is something that occurred centuries ago, it is a tradition that has since been passed on to different generations. Many women from Africa, and all around the world especially “Naturalistas” (those who rock their natural hair or “Afro”), have claimed that this water supplies much protein to the hair, enables hair growth and should be used for rinsing at least once a week (Read more here).

As we have realized, Rice can be used in many recycled forms and as source of Income aside selling it at the market. We can become more involved in this value chain and make the most of it.

Let us read your comments and opinions in the comment section.

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