What is the most important plant in your country?

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I am neither a botanist nor have I been all around my country. So, I can’t accurately tell which is the most important plant in my country. But from what I have seen, heard, read and experienced I draw a conclusion that rice must be the most important plant in my country, Nepal. The reason for this is as follows:

The first reason is that rice is a staple diet of a majority of Nepalese. Rice is a compulsory ingredient in every Nepali meal. Hence it is not surprising to find the words rice and meal being used synonymously in Nepal.

The second reason is that rice is best cash generating crop for Nepalese farmers. How good a farmer is, is generally determined by the amount and quality of the rice he grows. After a tiring day’s work an ordinary farmer draws courage and inspiration for the next days work by just looking at his green paddy field. So, the importance of rice in a farmer’s life cannot be exaggerated.

Another reason for rice being the most important crop in Nepal is that is an essential article in many Nepalese festivals. For instance, roasted rice, rice flour, etc. is needed for making ‘mandaps’ (decorative patterns for worship) in Tihar festival. Rice flour is used to make traditional Nepalese cuisine like ‘sel roti’ (deep fried rice flour dough nuts), ‘chatamari’ (rice flour pancakes), ‘yomari’ (steamed rice pastries filled with sugar syrup and sesame seeds), etc. These traditional dishes are not only liked by most Nepalese, but they also require special skills and techniques on the cook’s part to be made properly. So rice also plays an important role in conserving the national heritage of the nation.

Due to these reasons, I feel that rice is the most important plant of my country.