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Rice - the Staple of Life
Rice is the food of life for many parts of the world, especially in Asia. In fact, it is the grain most widely used for human consumption, feeding half this planet's population. High in nutritional value, rice is packed with protein, carbs, and multiple vitamins. But, it's not easy to grow and is best suited to countries with low labor costs and high rainfall, since it's extremely labor-intensive and requires loads of water. However, unlike other grains, rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain. Typically, the rice fields are flooded after the young seedlings have been planted to prevent weeds, insects and vermin from infiltrating the plants. This is a difficult process that requires intricate damming and channeling of the water. Otherwise, laborers must continually hand weed the fields. In many areas of Vietnam, one of the most common sights are workers, mainly women, hunched over with their cone-shaped hats planting and weeding in the blazing hot sun for hours on end.
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