In Cambodia, rice replaces Russian bread: as without bread in Russia, there is no meal is complete without an impressive batch of freshly brewed, crisp rice. Cambodia is one of the leading places in the world rice consumption per capita, what clearly demonstrates the literal translation of the Khmer word “yum buy (Hope buy)”, which literally means “eat rice”, but, in fact, translated as simply ” have “or” to eat. “
The economic value of rice
Rice is very important for the food security of Asian countries. About 3 billion people -. Almost half the world’s population – in need of rice as one of the basic food for every day. According to statistics from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI – The International Rice Research Institute), in Asia, more than 30% of total calories received by the population with food, falls on the share of rice. For comparison, the least eaten in North America (less than 5% of the total products) in the world rice. For Africa, the figure is 7%, for South America – 12%. According to IRRI estimates, Cambodia leads the list of Asian countries on rice consumption per capita. Experts suggest a figure of 75% or higher, whereas, for example, in neighboring Thailand – 45%; Vietnam and Laos – 65% of calories derived from rice.
Since the 60-xx and xx to 90-years of the last century, there was a systematic increase rice yields, but 90-xx population growth has become more intense, and exceeded the existing rice production figures by several orders of magnitude. According to analysts, if the year 2025 the number of rice fields will not be increased, the real needs of humanity in this product have been provided in full. However, it will be difficult for reasons of climate change, complicating access to water and soil erosion, to achieve the desired results. According to a study conducted by the International Water Management Institute, established the possibility of water shortage for the third part of Asia in 2020, which may also have a negative impact on the supply of rice and its accessibility to the public.
In Cambodia, as in other rice-producing countries, only 5-6% of the grain produced is exported, while the rest of the products are entirely spent on the needs of domestic consumption. Of course, the Cambodians are still far from the Japanese, who purchase an additional 8% of the volume of the rice grown in the state, from foreign suppliers. Nevertheless, the well-being of the general population in Cambodia depends on the yield of rice in the country, as imported products are available for sale at inflated prices, and is inaccessible to the majority of Cambodians, because of their relatively low standard of living. For the same reasons, “bad” during the rainy season with little precipitation, raids pests, fungal diseases of rice or any other local disorders can cause a sharp deterioration in the food situation in the country.
The cultural significance of rice
In addition to the food value of rice also plays a vital role in the cultural life of Cambodia, speaking the basis of food for religious offerings and spiritual purification. According to local residents, many followers of Buddhism regularly practice one-day fasting on water, but more often simply excluded from the diet any food except rice.
Every year – in April – is celebrated Khmer New Year, it has less to do with chronology, as is common in the Slavic countries, as a celebration of the harvest. The main product, grown in the territory of Cambodia is rice, so rice is dedicated to the biggest festival of the year. Khmer New Year celebration lasts for three days and three nights. As in Russia, the locals cook a lot of food, especially sweet rice cakes, baked with various fillings.
In the fall of Cambodia celebrated another popular holiday – Prachum Ben. On this day, people come to the temple with food alms to the monks, receiving a response blessings and forgiveness of sins and all negative last year. The main product of this holiday – a sweet boiled or steamed rice, wrapped in banana leaves.