A century and a half ago, people across Asia ate unpolished rice in great quantities. Colonists brought rice mills to Asian countries a century ago. The natives continued to prefer the taste of the brown rice. The switch to white rice may have taken longer if not for the traders and the elite in these societies. Polished rice stores longer and is designed to dock yards and storage. Traders naturally wanted more polished rice from the farmers. Elite culture aligned better with western and colonial tastes and coined the term "dirty" for brown rice. It became associated as the staple of the commoners. Middle class parents wanted, at least, their children to join the ranks of the "sophisticated and modern". Consumption of white rice spread, denying citizens, especially the young of vital nutrients. It became the norm within a generation or two.
Getting the populations to switch back to brown rice is likely to have widespread ramifications for trade-dependent development models. For example, by the calculations of the New Economy working group, one of the world’s top rice importer, Philippines can eliminate rice imports if its citizens made the switch.
|Images of Yakshas at the gateway of an ancient town|