Grains of gold.

Position:Passing By - International Year of Rice

Two Asian photographers have won the International Year of Rice (IYR) Global Photography Contest launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Vu Nguyen, a professional photographer from Viet Nam, and Jin Tingzheng, an amateur from China, were selected from approximately 500 entries.

Almost 3,000 million people share the culture, traditions and untapped potentials of rice. In remote villages of southeast Asia, farmers still compare a grain of rice to a "grain of gold", while in modern Japan, people see rice as the very heart of their culture. Along the Senegal River in West Africa, villagers greet guests with specially prepared rice dishes.

Wherever it is grown, rice enters people's lives as a daily food, at religious festivals and wedding parties, and in paintings and songs. Even in nations "new to rice", its cultivation has changed landscapes and cuisine and provided farmers with new sources of income. Rice is a food, but more than a food, it is society, culture, politics, business, the beauty of the landscape, people in their communities. In short, rice is life.

As 2004 is the International Year of Rice (see UN Chronicle, Issue 4, 2003, page...

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