AskDefine | Define cereals

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Noun

cereals
  1. Plural of cereal

Extensive Definition

Cereal crops or grains are mostly grasses cultivated for their edible grains or fruitseeds (i.e., botanically a type of fruit called a caryopsis). Cereal grains are grown in greater quantities and provide more energy worldwide than any other type of crop; they are therefore staple crops. They are also a rich source of carbohydrate. In some developing nations, grain in the form of rice or corn, constitutes practically the entire diet of poor people.. In developed nations, cereal consumption is both more moderate and varied but still substantial.
The word 'cereal' derives from 'Ceres', the name of the pre-Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture. Grains are traditionally called corn in the United Kingdom and Ireland, though that word became specified for maize in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

Production

The following table shows annual production of cereal grains, in 1961, 2005 and 2006, ranked by 2006 production. All but buckwheat and quinoa are true grasses (these two are pseudocereals).
Maize, wheat and rice, between them, accounted for 87% of all grain production, worldwide, and 43% of all food calories in 2003. world oil prices at nearly $100 a barrel, global population growth, climate change, loss of agricultural land to residential and industrial development,, growing consumer demand in China and India and feeding 635 million tons per year to livestock as fodder have pushed up the price of grain. Food riots have recently taken place in many countries across the world.
Water deficits, causing decrease in grain production, is one cause of grain independence. It already spurs heavy grain imports in numerous smaller countries, may soon do the same in larger countries, such as China or India. The water tables are falling in scores of countries (including Northern China, the US, and India) due to widespread overpumping using powerful diesel and electric pumps. Other countries affected include Pakistan, Iran, and Mexico. This will eventually lead to water scarcity and cutbacks in grain harvest. Even with the overpumping of its aquifers, China is developing a grain deficit. When this happens, it will almost certainly drive grain prices upward. Most of the 3 billion people projected to be added worldwide by mid-century will be born in countries already experiencing water shortages. One suggested solution is for population growth to be slowed quickly by investing heavily in female literacy and family planning services. Desalination is also considered a viable and effective solution to the problem of water shortages.
After China and India, there is a second tier of smaller countries with large water deficits — Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Mexico, and Pakistan. Four of these already import a large share of their grain. Only Pakistan remains self-sufficient. But with a population expanding by 4 million a year, it will also likely soon turn to the world market for grain.

Notes

External links

cereals in Afrikaans: Graan
cereals in Aragonese: Zerial
cereals in Catalan: Cereal
cereals in Danish: Korn
cereals in German: Getreide
cereals in Spanish: Cereal
cereals in Esperanto: Cerealo
cereals in Persian: غلات
cereals in French: Céréale
cereals in Indonesian: Serealia
cereals in Icelandic: Korn
cereals in Italian: Cereali
cereals in Hebrew: דגנים
cereals in Swahili (macrolanguage): nafaka
cereals in Latin: Frumentum
cereals in Lithuanian: Javai
cereals in Lojban: gurni
cereals in Macedonian: Жито
cereals in Malay (macrolanguage): Bijirin
cereals in Dutch: Graan
cereals in Japanese: 穀物
cereals in Norwegian: Korn
cereals in Polish: Zboża
cereals in Portuguese: Cereal
cereals in Quechua: Riwi
cereals in Russian: Хлебные зерновые культуры
cereals in Simple English: Grain
cereals in Slovak: Obilie
cereals in Slovenian: Žito
cereals in Serbian: Житарице
cereals in Finnish: Vilja
cereals in Swedish: Spannmål
cereals in Tamil: தானியங்கள்
cereals in Thai: ธัญพืช
cereals in Ukrainian: Крупа
cereals in Samogitian: Javā
cereals in Chinese: 粮食
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