Providing an example to some specific cultural practices that exists within different communities in the world, we can immediately associate the kind of the meal each community consumes with their cultural practices. Cultivated rice can be referred as one of the distinguished developments in pre-historic and historic time. There has been a fierce debate for quite some time over the original producer of rice. In the recent days, there has been evidence that suggests Oryza Sativa rice was first adopted from a specific community around the middle area of the Pearl River in southern China. This breed of rice was first developed from crosses between Japonica rice and local wild rice. It is further argued that this breed was first cultivated in 650 B.C. in Yangtze Valley, China. After some few decades, it made its way to Northern India and Southeast Asia in 2000 B.C. (Civitello, 277).
There are different varieties of rice that are grown across the world; the level of consumption depends on the community and the history of the cultural practice of the community. In all Asian countries, rice is considered as their staple food. The only difference comes on the types of rice that they consume. In Korea, they consume Tapkok Glutinous Lowland rice while in Indonesian they consume meals consisting of boiled white rice. However, Thailand is known for their Jasmine rice. In this point of view, our focus will be on Basmatic kind of rice being consumed in India.
There have been several controversies and conflicts over the cultural heritage and intellectual ownership of rice as a staple food for a number of communities existing within planet earth. The heated debate and controversy over the intellectual ownership of the right to grow rice most of the time is failed to be addressed in full force. The outcome of this heated argument and debate has been since for long been a matter of global concern by most of the culprits behind the scene of this bone crashing conflict. The recent changes that the American corporation rice Tec patent the basmati rice in reliance to an argument that the country needed to turn the generic brand for the efficiency of its citizens. The cultural conflict and significance is largely addressed by most of the politicians who want to gain favor from the citizens. There is an existence of conflict even among the International patent law.
The controversy and conflicts between different suggestions of who should own the greatest share in the world market and different ideologies of economic level ownership of the sector is one of the major challenges facing the growing of rice in the world. A research conducted by the interested party showed that there is an existence of theft cases and some elements of colonialism within the different culture when viewed in cultural perception view..
The farming practices and the kind of food being produced by different communities can be termed as a source of cultural heritage and thus an element of pride to the community. This applies to all the other communities around the world. The culture and pride of growing a certain kind of crop is bound to the cultural practice of the community, just as the farmer is bound to his mother land. For centuries ago, basmatic rice has been adopted by the Indians and this has passed from one generation to another. This enabled the Indians to preserve their traditional cultural food (Basmatic rice). However, the most ironic fact about this is that Basmatic rice is being exported all over the world and it’s one of the most common exports for Indian.
In addition, this kind of rice is in fact the main source of day to day calorie consumption and grain exportation from (India, Kenneth and Kriemhild, 45). The main function of the bismatic rice is therefore corrupted by few individual for economic gain rather than the cultural characteristic it poses. The main function of bismatic rice is to be used when performing religious ceremonies and also in other important occasions like wedding.
There arose a number of communities all over the world claiming that bismatic rice belong to them. The consequences of this were the eruption of international legal battle between the involved communities. This prompted the need for a serious discussion on the intellectual ownership of this important food stuff. The outcome of this was an economic ramification on the same matter in discussion. The aftermath of this discussion was that Rice Tec was the original inventor of this important commodity. This company claimed that it had cross bred the basmati strain with semi-dwarf strain to produce a more durable and suitable rice for any kind of climate all over the world.
The pride India and Indian farmers used to show as the original community to consume this important commodity, was about to be lost in the hands of this unruly company. The natural monopolistic competition within the Indians was about to be lost as this commodity meant everything to their community. The Indian government responded by actively and strongly opposing the decision made by the court over the illegal claims subjected by the Tec rice company over the legal ownership of basmatic rice.
The growth of Oryza sativa japonica rice has been practiced for so many years in southern China by the local communities. In Chinese cultural practices, rice may be consumed in form of noodles. In addition to this, China exports major portion of its rice in form of rice cakes to almost every corner of the world. The production of rice in China has led to its recognition as one of the largest rice growing nations. The level of competition in the world market between China and other nations such as Thailand and India is tough and almost China emerges the best in production of the same. The production of rice being one of the major sources of income in China, it has led to crowning as the leading commercial producer of rice in the world. Therefore the growth of rice in China functions as the main source of income and daily local consumption. In the recent years, there has been rise in conflicts. The Philippines board of Grain Corporation raised the claims over the legal ownership of Oryza sativa japonica rice; the government of China in return raised an alarm to reject the said allegations. A formal legal procedure was followed and the ownership was returned to the Chinese. These controversies laid against China almost led to the breakdown in the level of production per year.
There rose controversial statements from Vietnamese stakeholders claiming to be the original community to grow jasmine rice. In our prior knowledge of the Thailand community, rice was considered as their staple food apart from other communities such as the Indians and the Chinese. The exportation of rice is the second largest exports in Thailand and therefore it is considered as one of the most prominent crop in the said nation. The production of rice further provides local income to many people in the rural areas thus raising their standard of living. In addition, it provides seasonal employment to most people living in urban areas that their level of income is low. Lastly, it further provides a field for saving and collateral activities against which low waged farmers can borrow to purchase their farm inputs for better production.. The fact was that this type of rice was developed by the Thailand community in early centuries. The result led to a heated argument between the two nations. The Thailand community laid evidences to support their claims over the right to grow this kind of rice. The ruling of Colombo high court claimed the right back to Thailand. The monopolistic competition of Thailand on this important crop was thus retained. (Ghose, R L. M, and Nath, 72)
Japan is also another country in focus for the production of rice in the world. In cultural practices among the Japanese, rice was considered as so special and was only consumed during special occasions. These occasions included shrine and Buddhist ceremonies. It was also consumed during weddings and funerals. In the recent time, rice in Japan is mostly used in making bread and noodles. They both have a long history of their tradition in dietary traditions. Round Glutinous rice cakes were prepared for the coming of New Year offerings by the community. There have not been controversies in the growth of rice in Japan.
Genetic modified rice brings forth some advantages over the ordinary rice. For instance, genetic modified rice containing transgenic modification traits that resist common herbicides passes this important trait to the weedy rice thus reducing the exposure of the same even in absence of the weed-control herbicides. Furthermore, genetic modified rice has an increased level of yield over the ordinary rice. The strain of rice developed by the IRRI is found to be resistant to drought and any form of climate changes. This clearly defines an added advantage over the ordinary rice. The genetic modified rice can have extra added nutritional value like vitamins and minerals. This helps to reduce cases of malnutrition and mineral salts deficiency cases. The common example of this common type of genetic modified rice is the golden can withstand all the stated conditions and its nutrition value is much higher when compared to the ordinary rice. (Ruse, Michael, and David 128)
In a concluding remark, when the focus is turn away from the legal aspect that governs the right over the growth of certain cultural crops, the economic view and debate over this cultural implication will automatically lead to international cultural struggle for power over the rights of ownership.
Bond, Craig A, Colin A. Carter, and Yeganeh H. Farzin. Economic and Environmental Impacts of Adoption of Genetically Modified Rice in California. Berkeley: University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2005. Print.
Ghose, R L. M, and Nath Prem. Rice in India. New Delhi: Indian Council of Agricultural Research, 1960. Print.
Kiple, Kenneth F, and Kriemhild C., The Cambridge World History of Food. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Print.
Ruse, Michael, and David Castle. Genetically Modified Foods: Debating Biotechnology. Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books, 2002. Print.