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The breadbasket of a country is a region which, because of the richness of the soil and/or advantageous climate, produces large quantities of wheat or other grain. Rice bowl is a similar term used to refer to Southeast Asia, and California's Salinas Valley is sometimes referred to as the world's salad bowl. Such regions may be the subject of fierce political disputes which may even escalate into full military conflicts.
- 1 Classical antiquity
- 2 Africa
- 3 Asia
- 4 Europe
- 5 North America
- 6 Oceania
- 7 South America
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
Sicily and Africa were considered the breadbaskets of the Roman Republic. Later on, Egypt was considered the breadbasket of the Roman Empire. Crimea was the source of a huge quantity of grain supplied to Greek city-states, especially Athens.
Since subsistence agriculture was the dominant economic system in most of Morocco's history, it's difficult to speak of a breadbasket region. All regions produced their own wheat and barley to feed themselves and their livestock. With the European commercial penetration in the second half of the 19th century, Morocco started to export wheat to Europe despite the objection of the ulama (religious establishment). The Chaouia and Doukkala plains became the most important suppliers of wheat for export. This is logical given their proximity to the coast. The ports of Casablanca and Feddala, today's Mohammedia, serviced the Chaouia Plain while the port of Mazagan serviced Doukkala.
After Morocco's independence, agriculture in Doukkala became geared toward irrigation so less area has been devoted to wheat, whereas Chaouia maintained its status as a major wheat-producing region thanks to its dark soil called tirs and relatively abundant rainfall (avg. 400 mm/year).
Rhodesia(Today named Zimbabwe) was allegedly known as the breadbasket of Africa, exporting wheat, tobacco, and corn to the wider world, especially to other African nations. Hovever today, Zimbabwe, Rhodesia's successor state, is a net importer of foodstuffs from the Western World.
The Punjab and Haryana regions are considered the breadbaskets of India. West Bengal is said to be the "rice bowl" of India. Even though its rice production is just enough to be self-sufficient for the province's large population, it is the largest producer of rice in India.
Sichuan has historically been known as the "province of abundance" due to its agricultural prowess. The regions on the banks of the Yellow River and Yangtze River southern Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces have also been known for their rich fertility.
Rice Bowl in Southeast AsiaEdit
Kedah is considered the rice bowl of Malaysia, accounting for about half of Malaysia's total production of rice. In 2008, the government of Kedah banned the conversion of paddy fields to housing and industrial lots to protect the rice industry.
The Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar used to be one of the most important sources of rice in the region until its production declined due to various reasons, including the country's unstable political situation.
In the 18th and early 19th centuries, Ireland was itself the breadbasket of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with Irish grain feeding Britain's industrial cities while Irish peasants subsisted on potatoes. This was to lead to the Great Famine of the 1840s.
Andalusia is considered the breadbasket of Spain. The primary cultivation is dryland farming of cereals, olive trees, vineyards and sunflowers. Using irrigation, a large amount of maize, strawberries, citrus and rice are also grown on the banks of the Guadalquivir river.
Scania is considered the breadbasket of Sweden. The yield per unit area is higher than in any other region in Sweden and the soil is among the most fertile in the world. The Scanian plains are an important resource for the rest of Sweden since 25–95% of the total production of various types of cereals come from the region.
In Canada, a major grain-growing area is called the Canadian prairies. Sometimes the province of Saskatchewan, also known for producing a huge supplement of potash, is further singled out from within this region as the main breadbasket of Canada. In the United States, an important region is the Corn Belt, where maize and soybeans are major crops, which generally extends from the Great Lakes south through Missouri. Further to the west in the United States and Canada, east of the Rocky Mountains, is the Wheat Belt, where the climate is too severe for maize or soybeans.
Additionally, the San Joaquin Valley in California has also been called the breadbasket of the world. The San Joaquin Valley produces the majority of the 12.8% of the United States' agricultural production (as measured by dollar value) that comes from California. Grapes—table, raisin, and, to a lesser extent, wine—are perhaps the valley's highest-profile product, but equally (if not more) important are cotton, nuts (especially almonds and pistachios), citrus, and vegetables. 70% of the world's and 100% of the U.S. supply of almonds comes from the valley. Oranges, peaches, garlic, tangerines, tomatoes, kiwis, hay, alfalfa and numerous other crops have been harvested with great success. According to the 2002 Census of Agriculture's ranking of market value of agricultural products sold, nine of the nation's top 10, and 12 of the top 20, producing counties are in California.
The Murray-Darling Basin is seen as Australia's breadbasket, being the source of 40% of the nation's agricultural income, a third of the wheat harvest, 95 percent of the rice crop and other products such as fruit, wine and cotton.
When New Zealand became a British colony, the fertile lands produced food that would be shipped back to England, causing New Zealand to become colloquially known (occasionally along with Australia) as Britain's breadbasket, subsequently leading to the Dunedin being the first ship to complete a truly successful transport of refrigerated meat. She was refitted with a refrigeration machine with which she took the first load of frozen meat from New Zealand to the United Kingdom.
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In the 19th century, access to the Californian and Australian markets made wheat export a very lucrative activity. In the mid-19th century, those countries experienced large gold rushes, which created a large demand for wheat. Chile was at the time the "only wheat producer of some importance in the Pacific".
Brazil is also seen as a breadbasket, as it is the world's largest supplier of coffee and contains vast tracts of arable land.
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