Outside Asia, Madagascar has the longest history of rice production. Wetland rice production systems are well developed and rice terraces are frequently found along the roads between Antananarivo and Antsirabe. Rice cultivation is found in almost all districts of the country.
The main rice season in the high plateau region is from October to May. In Hosy, on the eastern coast of Madagascar, the irrigated rice crop season is from June to November, while on the western coast the rice crop is from April to October. The Vatomandry and Asara crops last from October to May, while the lowland and medium-flooded Atriary crop lasts from January to July.
Improved indica, japonica and tropical japonica varieties have recently been released for cultivation. However, rice yield has remained stagnant over the last 20 years due to the limited use of fertilizer.
Rice is the staple food of people in Madagascar. Per capita rice consumption in the year 2000 was 140 kg of brown rice. Many families eat rice three times a day, and most of it is homegrown. In some areas, Ranonapango - a drink made from toasted rice - is reserved for special occasions.