Indonesia is one of the world's leading rice producers, with paddy production in 2003 of more than 50 million tonnes and a cultivated area of more than 11.5 million ha. Since 1980, Indonesia's national rice yield has been the highest in tropical Asia. Indonesians are also big consumers of rice, averaging more than 200 kg per head each year.
Rice is grown at varying altitudes, with about 75 per cent of plantings in irrigated areas and less than 10 percent on rainfed lowlands. Most rice production takes place on the island of Java under irrigation. Lowland varieties belong mainly to the indica sub-species and about 85% of them are high-yielding. About 7,000 rice varieties or lines that are suitable for uplands, lowlands or tidal swamps have been identified and conserved. The Bulu rice type (also known as named "tropical japonica") was first identified in upland areas of Indonesia.
The area planted to rice increased by 33% between 1969 and 1990. Since then, however, the conversion of many ricelands in Java to non-agricultural uses has contributed to a fall in total output. Sustainable rice production requires the development and deployment of new rice varieties and crop management technologies and approaches. During the last decade, Indonesia has developed a highly skilled cadre of researchers - more than 500 Indonesian researchers have trained at IRRI over the past 20 years.
Perhaps the best-known Indonesian rice dish is Nasi goreng, which means simply "fried rice". It is actually a breakfast dish, often made from the boiled rice left over from the previous night's meal.