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East Indian girls preparing rice, Jamaica [date unknown] | by National Library of Jamaica
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East Indian girls preparing rice, Jamaica [date unknown]




East Indian girls preparing rice, Jamaica [date unknown]


Image from the National Library of Jamaica Photograph Collection (Baille Collection). Permission to reproduce this image must be obtained from the National Library of Jamaica.


Photograph of two East Indian girls preparing rice belonging to the Baille Collection. [Title on photograph is 'Indian girls preparing rice']. Indians formed the second largest racial group in Jamaica after Africans. Tortello notes that “The first ship carrying Indians landed in Old Harbor Bay in 1845. They came from Northern India, 200 men, 28 women under 30 years old and 33 children under 12 years old, 261 people in all… On arrival, the labourers were given one suit of clothing, agricultural tools and cooking utensils. Divided into groups of 20 and 40 they were then sent first by mule cart and later by overcrowded freight trains to plantations in Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, Clarendon and Westmoreland”


Further information - Rice


RICE (Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima)

Rice is a cereal which forms an important part of the diet of many people worldwide. Domesticated rice comprises two species of food crops in the ‘Poaceae’ (true grass) family, ‘oryza sativa’ and ‘oryza glaberrima’. These plants are native to tropical and subtropical southern Asia and southeastern Africa. The name wild rice is usually used for species of the different but related genus ‘zizania’ both wild and domesticated, although the term may be used for primitive or uncultivated varieties or Oryza.

Rice is grown as a monocarpic annual plant, although in tropical areas, it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon crop and survive for up to twenty years. Rice can grow to 1-1.8m tall, occasionally more, depending on the variety and soil fertility. The grass has long, slender leaves 50 – 100 cm long and 2 – 2.5cm broad. The small wind-pollinated flowers are produced in a branched arching to pendulous inflorescence 30 – 50 cm long. The edible seed is a grain 5 – 12 mm long and 2 – 3 mm thick.

Rice is a staple for a large part of the world’s human population, particularly in Latin America, the Caribbean, East, South and Southeast Asia, making it the second-most consumed cereal grain. A traditional food plant in Africa, rice has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land care. Rice provides more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans. In early 2008, some governments and retailers began rationing supplies of the grain due to fears of a global rice shortage.

Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labour costs and high rainfall as it is labour-intensive and requires a great deal of water for cultivation. The traditional method for cultivating rice includes flooding the fields after setting young seedlings. Rice can be grown anywhere even on a steep hill or mountain. Although its species are native to South Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures.



Senior, Olive, Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage. St. Andrew, Jamaica: Twin Guinep Publishers Ltd., 2003.

Tortello, Rebecca, Pieces of the Past: a Stroll Down Jamaica's Memory Lane. Kingston: Ian Randle, 2007


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Taken on June 19, 2008